We may not notice it, but encryption is used frequently in our daily lives: when we send e-mail, purchase something on-line or use ATM to withdraw money, etc. With numerous encryption algorithms (ciphers) and various methods of implementing them, there are many potential issues that have to be addressed by both hardware and software designers. Encryption is also one of the most convenient method of secure IP (Intellectual Property) delivery, as described in recent Verilog, VHDL, and SystemVerilog standards. Well implemented encryption should be secure, reliable, but transparent to the IP end user. Unfortunately some discrepancies do exist in encryption clauses of all three language standards and small differences in the way different tools implement them can create confusion.
To address those issues, Aldec and other vendors have joined IEEE effort to create proposed encryption interoperability standard: P1735. The first level of recommendations was released by the P1735 working group and internal interoperability testing is in progress. End users should be able to notice smoother IP encryption handling in the coming releases of EDA tools - especially the ability to use one encrypted source in multiple tools.
Related Application Note: Interoperable Encryption of HDL Intellectual Property