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Hardware intellectual property (IP) is delivered at three levels of abstraction: hard, firm, and soft. In order to further enhance performance, efficiency, and flexibility of IP design, we have developed a new approach for designing hardware and software IP called MetaCores. The new design approach starts at the algorithm level and leverages on the algorithm's intrinsic optimization degrees of freedom. The approach has four main components: (i) problem formulation and identification of optimization degrees of freedom, (ii) objective functions and constraints, (iii) cost evaluation engine, and (iv) multiresolution design space search. From the algorithmic viewpoint, the main contribution is the introduction of multiresolution search in algorithm optimization and synthesis process. We have applied the approach to the development of Viterbi and IIR MetaCores. Experimental results demonstrate the effectiveness of the new approach.