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Archive for April, 2017

Cadence Builds a Winged Horse for Verification

Monday, April 17th, 2017

Gabe Moretti, Senior Editor

Cadence reached back into Greek mythology to name its new Verification engine for digital designs: Pegasus.  The hope is, of course, that the new product will prove itself more than a popular myth, but that the product will soar to new heights in efficiency.

The company describes Pegasus as: “a massively parallel, cloud-ready physical verification signoff solution that enables engineers to deliver advanced-node ICs to market faster. The new solution is part of the full-flow Cadence® digital design and signoff suite and provides up to 10X faster design rule check (DRC) performance on hundreds of CPUs while also reducing turnaround time from days to hours versus the previous-generation Cadence solution.”

The major benefits offered by Pegasus, according to Dr. Anirudh Devgan, executive vice president and general manager of the Digital & Signoff Group and the System & Verification Group at Cadence are:

  • Massively parallel architecture: The solution incorporates a massively parallel architecture that provides unprecedented speed and capacity, enabling designers to easily run on hundreds of CPUs to speed up tapeout times.
  • Reduced full-chip physical verification runtimes: The solution’s gigascale processing offers near-linear scalability that has been demonstrated on up to 960 CPUs, allowing customers to dramatically reduce DRC signoff runtimes.
  • Low transition cost: Using existing foundry-certified rule decks, customers achieve 100 percent accurate results with a minimal learning curve.
  • Flexible cloud-ready platform: The solution offers native cloud support that provides an elastic and flexible compute environment for customers facing aggressive time-to-market deadlines.
  • Efficient use of CPU resources: The solution’s data flow architecture enables customers to optimize CPU usage, regardless of machine configurations and physical location, providing maximum flexibility to run on a wide range of hardware, achieving the fastest DRC signoff.
  • Native compatibility with Cadence digital and custom design flows: The Pegasus Verification System integrates seamlessly with the Virtuoso custom design platform, delivering instantaneous DRC signoff checks to guide designers to a correct-by-construction flow that improves layout productivity. An integration with the Innovus Implementation System enables customers to run the Pegasus Verification System during multiple stages of the flow for a wide range of checks—signoff DRC and multi-patterning decomposition, color-balancing to improve yield, timing-aware metal fill to reduce timing closure iterations, incremental DRC and metal fill during engineering change orders (ECOs) that improve turnaround time, and full-chip DRC.

Anirudh concluded that: “The Pegasus Verification System’s innovative architecture and native cloud-ready processing provides an elastic and flexible computing environment, which can enable our customers to complete full-chip signoff DRC on advanced-node designs in a matter of hours, speeding time to market.”

Industrial IoT, a Silicon Valley Opportunity

Tuesday, April 11th, 2017

Gabe Moretti, Senior Editor

I read a white paper written by Brian Derrick, VP of Corporate Marketing at Mentor titled Industrial IoT (IIOT) – Where Is Silicon Valley?  It is an interesting discussion about the IIoT market pointing out that most of the leading companies in the market are not located in Silicon Valley.  In fact Brian only lists Applied Material as having a measurable market share in IIoT (1.4% in 2015), HP and Avago as sensors providers.  Amazon and Google are listed as Cloud Service Providers, Cisco, ProSoft, and Cal Amp as Intelligent Gateway Providers and Sierra Wireless as Machine to Machine Communication Hardware supplier.

It does not make sense to list EDA companies in the valley that supply the tools used by many of the IIoT vendors to design their products.  Unfortunately, it is the service nature of EDA that allows analysts to overlook the significant contribution of our industry to the electronics market place.

There is actually a company in Silicon Valley that in my opinion offers a good example of what IIoT is: eSilicon.  The company started as a traditional IP provider but in the last three years it developed itself into a turn-key supplier supporting a customer from design to manufacturing of IC with integrated analysis tools, and order, billing and WIP reports, all integrated in a system it calls STAR.

A customer can submit a design that uses a eSilicon IP, analyze physical characteristics of the design, choose a foundry, receive a quote, place an order, evaluate first silicon, and go into production all in the STAR system.  This combines design, analysis, ordering, billing, and manufacturing operations, significantly increasing reliability through integration.  The development chain that usually requires dealing with many corporate contributors and often more than one accounting system, has been simplified through integration not just of engineering software tools, but accounting tools as well.

I think that we will regret the use of the term “Internet” when describing communication capabilities between and among “Things”.  Internet is not just hardware, it is a protocol.  A significant amount of communication in the IoT architecture takes place using Bluetooth and WiFi hardware and software, not internet.  In fact, I venture that soon we might find that the internet protocol s the wrong protocol to use.  We need networks that can be switched from public to private, and in fact an entire hierarchy of connectivity that offer better security, faster communication, and flexibility of protocol utilization.

I find that the distinction between real time and batch processing is disappearing because people are too used to real time.  But real time connectivity is open to more security breaches than batch processing.  On the manor, for example, a machine can perform thousands of operations without being connected to the internet all the time.  Status reports, production statistics information, for example, can be collected at specific times and only at those times does the machine need to be connected to the internet.  For the machine to continuously say that all is normal to a central control unit is redundant.  All we should care is if something is not normal.

The bottom line is that there are many opportunities for Silicon Valley corporations to become a participant to IIoT, and, of course, start-ups, a specialty of the Valley, can find a niche in the market.