Steve SchulzIn case you missed it, GLOBALFOUNDRIES last week announced at Si2Con that they are contributing the full set of DRC+ data structures to Si2, to be integrated into Si2’s OpenDFM standard, which is developed and maintained by the DFM Coalition (DFMC). You can read the press release here: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20111020005541/en/Si2-Announces-Donation-DRC-GLOBALFOUNDRIES.

I actually have little need to explain the technical or business benefits of DRC+ pattern-matching technology. Fellow (professional) blogger Richard Goering has already done a truly fine job of that (see: http://www.cadence.com/Community/blogs/ii/archive/2011/10/23/globalfoundries-drc-donation-new-era-for-dfm-standards.aspx). Instead, I’ll add my own perspectives on what this donation means in DFM Verification to chip designers and EDA / foundry partners.

First of all, DRC+ utilizes innovative (and award-winning) pattern-matching technology, it can run highly accurate design checks by orders of hundreds to thousands of times faster than typical model-based simulation, which saves valuable company time and resources near chip tapeout. Second, it can improve designs by going beyond “pass/fail” to identify yield-detracting patterns and recommending more robust ones. Third, EDA tools can flag patterns for automatic yield improvement, making it useful for chip design teams before tapeout. Of course, the classes of problematic patterns must be identified first – and Cadence supported the development of DRC+ with a pattern classification tool to do just that.

What is so important about this announcement for the industry at large? To begin with, GLOBALFOUNDRIES’ generous decision to contribute this new, leading-edge innovation to the DFMC means that the entire industry ecosystem can benefit from DRC+ as an open industry standard. Not only will it now be an open standard, but it will be deeply integrated into the larger OpenDFM standard. All of the benefits of OpenDFM and all the benefits of DRC+ will come together, which is how the industry wants to see it.

DRC+ and OpenDFM are dynamic, living technologies, just as our design methodologies and process technologies are dynamic — constantly evolving with time and experience. So it is critical that the standard be managed as a truely collaborative effort, where no one company’s interest can stall or override the interest of other companies. It is also important that there be sufficient resources to evolve the standard rapidly according to industry’s changing needs (OpenDFM just had two releases in less than 1 year).

These new technologies are not sufficient as standards specifications alone: what makes them valuable is customer adoption support. This is the “real” stuff you need – such as XSD/XML DRC+ patterns, OpenDFM parser, design test cases, sample libraries, training / tutorials, etc. The DFMC is well-equipped to handle those needs, and do so in a strictly non-discriminatory fashion.

Overall, the ultimate value of the DRC+ donation by GLOBALFOUNDRIES means that the entire industry will enhance it’s capability by virtue of working together. That is the true essence of the title of this blog (“Collaborative Advantage”), and also Si2’s tagline: “Innovation Through Collaboration”. Please consider participating along with these other leaders of industry, to help make it even better.

DRC+ is a technology that happens only once or twice in a decade. It compresses days into hours and hours into minutes to improve yield without sacrificing accuracy. At Si2, we are proud to guide its development and provide its benefits to the semiconductor industry.