Si2 Releases New Version of OpenAccess Design Database

Silicon Integration Initiative, an electronic design automation software research and development joint venture, has released Data Model 6, the newest version of OpenAccess, the world’s most widely used standard API and reference database for integrated circuit design.

DM6 is the first major OpenAccess revision since 2014. The OpenAccess database provides EDA software tools with immediate design flow interoperability, saving time and money for semiconductor designers and manufacturers. Innovative DM6 features will improve performance in both new and legacy applications.

Marshall Tiner, Si2 director of Production Standards, said DM6 can help the industry keep pace with design requirements for emerging artificial intelligence and machine learning applications. “As with all OpenAccess releases, DM6 is a production-quality, proven, stable design platform. It’s uniquely positioned to meet the new complexity and performance challenges facing IC designers.”

A key feature of DM6 is oaPartitions, which enables OpenAccess applications to access critical components of enormous designs as easily as opening much smaller designs, saving compute resources and allowing developers to start doing meaningful work faster. “The real power of DM6 comes from the new partitioning capability. By subdividing a complex design, OpenAccess provides simultaneous access to multiple partitions from separate processes. Applications can use oaPartitions to exploit the full compute power available on the user’s platform,” Tiner said.

With properly written applications taking advantage of the new data model, oaPartitions can customize how and what data will be loaded into memory from the database. Multiple simultaneous, unique applications can each be assigned their own partition, opening up a wide range of opportunities to accelerate the design flow on ever-growing, complex designs.

“The industry is looking for enablers for utilizing vast cloud-based hardware with multiple processors. oaPartitions provides just that,” Tiner said.

John Ellis, Si2 president and CEO, underscored the benefits of OpenAccess. “Use of OpenAccess API, source code, and scripting capability accelerates EDA vendor’s time to market, and provides users with tool-to-tool interoperability for optimal design flows. Without OA compatibility, time-consuming translations in and out of a vendor or user internally developed software tools are usually required, wasting some of the productivity gains a tool provides. Any software tool used for real-world, physical design that is not utilizing OA is at a serious disadvantage. The high-performance, partitioning capability of OA DM6 underscores the competitive advantage and power of OpenAccess.”

The OpenAccess Coalition is the governing body that manages the OpenAccess infrastructure. Cadence  Design Systems, Inc. contributed the OpenAccess API to Si2 in 2002 and serves as the co-architect of the Si2 Change Team that manages modifications to the API and data model. Cadence also provides Si2 and its OpenAccess Coalition members with rights to use their production-quality, reference implementation of the latest API and data model. DM6 is now available to all coalition members.

For more information about OpenAccess and Data Model 6, contact Marshall Tiner at mtiner@si2.org.

 

About Si2

Founded in 1988, Si2 is a leading research and development joint venture that provides standard interoperability solutions for integrated circuit design tools. All Si2 activities are carried out under the auspices of the National Cooperative Research and Production Act of 1993, the fundamental law that defines R&D joint ventures and offers them a large measure of protection against federal antitrust laws. Si2’s international membership includes semiconductor foundries, fabless manufacturers and EDA companies.

 

Take the OpenAccess Voice of Customer Survey

Help us find ways to improve Si2 OpenAccess, the world’s most widely used, open reference database for IC design, with a supporting standard API.  This three-minute survey provide insights members of the OpenAccess Coalition will use to bolster design-tool interoperability in the coming years.

What is Open about Si2 OpenAccess?

Marshall 200sq

 

 

 

 

By Marshall Tiner
Director of Production Standards
Si2

What is open about Si2 OpenAccess?

It seems these days everything is “open,” and the terms get confusing. Here is a short history of a few key areas to help clarify things. The label “open source” is credited to the free software movement of 1998. In February of that year, the Open Source Initiative (OSI) was founded and the Open Source Definition adopted. OSI tried to trademark the term “open source,” in an effort to control its usage.

So, what does open source mean?

The term refers to a licensing methodology whereby the source code is made publicly available. Depending on the license terms, others may then download, modify, and publish their version (fork) back to the community. The Apache Software Foundation’s license has become a standard within the open source world.

Silicon Integration Initiative (Si2) was born out of the 1988 CAD Framework Initiative (CFI), with a goal of enabling design tool interoperability. Cadence developed the OpenAccess API to standardize the design database, which resulted in interoperability between design databases from different tool suppliers. With the contribution of the OpenAccess API, the OpenAccess Coalition was formed within Si2. To the design tool user this meant a huge productivity increase when using tools from different suppliers.

Before the OpenAccess Coalition, designs, measurements, and results were passed back and forth between tools via time-consuming, error-prone, file transfers. OpenAccess in effect “opened” the design database so all coalition members could develop tools that shared the database. This removed the cost of the file transfer and allowed two tools to act upon the same data. While file transfer seems like a small thing, it can represent significant cost-of-engineering time on a large design. In addition, it enables the user to check-fix-check errors one at a time instead of several at a time, reducing long file transfer time. Ultimately it benefitted the entire industry enabling “best of “design flows, which are very common today.

So is OpenAccess open source software?

The answer is no. The difference is who the software is open to. OpenAccess is licensed much like open source software, though not open to the general public. The license requires Si2 membership which helps provide the resources required to keep the standard viable for use. There is a significant resource investment associated with OpenAccess. OpenAccess Coalition members have access to the source code and some of the derivative products (called Extensions) to use and even modify if necessary. Much like the Open Software Foundation works for the general public, Si2 and the OpenAccess Coalition provide a means of collaborative development for design product interaction/interoperability. The really great part is that the members realize a 1/N cost advantage developing the standard together rather than each doing it alone.

Is Si2 OpenAccess “open?”

Yes, OpenAccess is open to the OpenAccess Coalition membership, which consists of many electronic design automation tool development companies, and semiconductor companies, that’s pretty open.

Membership cost is based upon the company revenue to allow an easy entry point into the EDA business. A small company can quickly become compatible with the larger suppliers and “plug right into the design flow”. There is no better way to take a new EDA company into the market. Come join the OpenAccess Coalition and align the future with your company’s needs.

Prashant Varshney of Mentor Graphics Elected to Si2 OpenAccess Board

Prashant Varshney is Mentor Graphics’ newly elected representative on the Si2 OpenAccess Coalition board of directors and OpenAccess Change Team.

Prashant is the group director of Product Marketing at Mentor, where he oversees marketing efforts for the new design platform for developing mixed-signal IoT SoCs, senors, MEMS, silicon photonics and industrial IoT applications. Previously at Mentor he led product management, development and deployment for various ASIC design products in the physical design, formal verification and static timing analysis space, such as Olympus, Nitro, Optimus and FormalPro.

Prashant holds an MSEE from Stanford University.

The Si2 OpenAccess Coalition board oversees operational decisions for OpenAccess, the world’s most widely used, open reference database for IC design with a supporting standard API. The change team manages API modifications and database implementation.

Members Invited to Si2 OpenAccess Annual Meeting

The Si2 OpenAccess Coalition will hold its annual meeting on Friday, October 27, 9:00 a.m. – 10:45 a.m. (PST). Meeting locations are:

  • Synopsys, Mountain View, California
  • Si2, Austin, Texas
  • IBM, Poughkeepsie, New York

Members can also attend via WebEx.

For details and registration visit:  http://www.si2.org/oa-annual-meeting/

Si2 University Partner Network Helps Launch EDA Career

It didn’t take long for Sushmitha Moturi to successfully leverage her volunteer experience in the Si2 University Partner Network. After earning a graduate in electrical engineering at the University of Florida, Sushmitha joined Qualcomm as an embedded software stability engineer. She credits the next network and its industry mentors for helping launch her EDA career.

“Volunteering with Si2 was a great experience and certainly helped me in my job search,” Sushmitha said. “My focus with Si2 was testing the OpenAccess Track Pattern Extension. That helped me hone my programming and debugging skills, which are essential in my job at Qualcomm.  I also learned a lot from my Si2 mentors, who were professionals in the field.”

Si2 is the industry’s most experienced, federally registered, research and development joint venture for the collaborative development of standard, interoperable, EDA software. The Si2 University Partner Network connects qualified engineering student-partners to their future employers in a program that offers real-world, electronic design automation job experience. Partners strengthen their resumes and broaden their network with prospective  employers, while employers identify and work with prospective employees.

The network is currently accepted applications for new partners.  For complete information visit http://www.si2.org/si2-eda-university-partner-network/

David Lin Joins Si2 University Partner Network

Sheng-En David Lin, a Phd candidate in Electrical Engineering at Washington State University, has been accepted into the Si2 University Partner Network. His work for Si2 will help validate portions of a new Power Modeling standard which is being contributed to the IEEE P2416 Working Group.  This standard is aimed at system level IP blocks and will serve power data to IEEE 1801 power state models.

David’s research interests include modeling for VLSI circuits and systems and algorithms for VLSI CAD automation, with current focus on physical design methodologies of multi-tier gate-level monolithic 3-D ICs.

The Si2 University Partner Network connects qualified engineering student-partners to their future employers in a program that offers real-world, electronic design automation job experience. Partners strengthen their resumes and broaden their network with prospective employers, while employers identify and work with prospective employees. For more information click here.

MediaTek Joins Si2 OpenAccess Coalition

Si2 welcomes MediaTek Inc. as the newest member of the OpenAccess Coalition. The OpenAccess Database is the world’s most widely used, open reference database for IC design, with a supporting standard API.  It was developed to create authentic interoperability between EDA companies and semiconductor designers and manufacturers. Its adoption has improved design flow efficiency across the industry.

MediaTek (TWSE: 2454) is a global fabless semiconductor company that enables 1.5 billion connected devices a year. They are a market leader in developing innovative systems-on-chip (SoC) for mobile device, home entertainment, connectivity and IoT products.

Quick and Easy Scripting Solutions: Interrogate Design

Quick and Easy Scripting Solutions for your IC Design Problems

Interrogate Design: This demonstration is based on a problem where someone used the wrong library book, and it was discovered late in the design process. With our scripting interface, it’s very easy to exchange two library books.

See the video here.