AUSTIN, Texas — James Masters of Intel has been elected chairman of the Silicon Integration Initiative Extensions Steering Group, a team of industry volunteers that creates productivity enhancements to OpenAccess, the world’s most widely used standard API and reference database for integrated circuit design. Si2 is a leading research and development joint venture that provides standard interoperability solutions for integrated circuit design tools.
The ESG was launched in 2011 to increase the ease and pace of adding OpenAccess functionality, through extensions to the database, without affecting the consistency and stability of the core API standard and its associated reference implementation.
Marshall Tiner, Si2 director of Production Standards, said the ESG is responsible for reviewing and approving new features and capabilities for the API which are not part of the regular development process. “This has allowed for more flexible development in the OpenAccess environment to meet ever-changing market requirements,” Tiner said.
“James has played a major role in the ESG since its creation. His work with Si2 is an example of his decade-long advocacy for standards to streamline the design flow and maximize productivity and reuse,” Tiner added. “That includes guidance developing the ESG’s major subgroups, oaScript and oaxPop. oaScript provides scripting-language access into the database for Python, tcl, Ruby, and perl, allowing rapid development of user-created tools. oaxPop is the polygon operators extension that makes use of oaScript to provide a Python-based, rapid polygon analysis package for users.”
A 23-year Intel veteran, Masters currently manages an Intel team that enables custom layout capabilities of process nodes, including development of process design kit content. He works with EDA suppliers to improve the overall custom layout of the EDA ecosystem.
AUSTIN, Texas — Rhett Davis, professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at North Carolina State University, has been named Technical and Educational Advisor for Silicon Integration Initiative. Si2 is a leading research and development joint venture that provides standard interoperability solutions for integrated circuit design tools.
“This new position expands Davis’ reach and impact on the semiconductor industry,” said John Ellis, Si2 president and CEO. “His experience with the Si2 OpenAccess database and in artificial intelligence and machine learning will be brought to bear on expanding the ecosystem surrounding our newly upgraded version of OA. The new OA release will greater support high-performance, partitioned, multithreaded AI EDA applications. Dr. Davis’ expertise will assist Si2 and its members in bridging the gap between visionary research and real-world, high-performance, AI applications.”
In this expanded advisory role Davis, who has a doctorate in electrical engineering from the University of California at Berkeley, will continue consulting for Si2 in the areas of system-level power modeling and compact modeling. He has been instrumental in prototyping early-stage implementation of the newly created Unified Power Model now being standardized by Si2 within IEEE. In the Si2 Compact Model Coalition, Davis has helped the Open Model Interface Working Group rearchitect the TSMC-contributed interface, which allows users to modify model parameters during circuit simulation.
Davis will also support the five university members of the OpenAccess Coalition: North Carolina State, University of Florida, State University of New York, Stanford University and Einhoven University of Technology (Netherlands.) University members have direct use of the OpenAccess database, which streamlines the path to developing design production tools.
Dr. Davis joined North Carolina State University in 2002 as an assistant professor and became professor in 2008. He received the National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development award in 2007 and the Si2 Distinguished Service Award in 2012 development of standards for electronic design automation, and the FreePDK open-source, predictive process design kit.
He has been an IEEE member since 1993 and became a senior member in 2011. He has published over 50 scholarly journal and conference articles
Dr. Davis’ research is centered on developing methodologies, CAD tools, and circuits for systems-on-chip in emerging technologies. His interests include 3DIC design and low-power and high-performance circuit design for digital signal-processing and embedded systems.
Founded in 1988, Si2 is a leading research and development joint venture that provides standard interoperability solutions for integrated circuit design tools. Its activities include support of OpenAccess, the world’s most widely used standard API and reference database for integrated circuit design. All Si2 activities are carried out under the auspices of the 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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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.
By Marshall Tiner
Director of Production Standards
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 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.
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/
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/