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 just such a means of interoperability. 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 it is open to. OpenAccess is licensed much like open source software, though not open to the general public. The license benefits OpenAccess Coalition members that provide the resources required to keep the standard viable for use by the Coalition. 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 while developing the standard.

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.

OpenAccess Membership Documents

OpenAccess Membership Required Documents

First: For access to current OpenAccess and oaScript (and other extensions) source code, the member must join the OpenAccess Coalition.

OpenAccess  Membership agreement:   OAC_Generic_Membership_Agreement.pdf  

oac_generic_membership_agreement

Second:   Use of OpenAccess requires the OpenAccess–Internal Use and Distribution License V 4.0 Oct. 1, 2004. 

openaccessinternaluseanddistributionlic_v4_041001

Third:   Use of Si2 OpenAccess Scripting Interface requires the ESG (Extensions Steering Group) OpenAccess ESG License v2.0 (January 31, 2013)

si2_esg_license_v2_0_01-31-2013

 

 

Paul Stabler New Chairman of Si2 OpenAccess Board

paulstablerPaul Stabler, senior engineering manager in the IBM EDA organization, has been elected chairman of Si2 OpenAccess Coalition for 2017. He replaces Rudy Albachten of Intel, who assumes an advisory role as vice chairman.

The OAC board oversees operational decisions for OpenAccess, the world’s most widely used, open-reference database with its own supporting standard API.

A 35-year IBM veteran, Stabler currently manages clocking, design for manufacturing, and integration tools and methodology. He has been an OAC volunteer for five years.

Nicolas Williams of Mentor Graphics Joins Si2 Standards-Setting Group

nicolasNicolas Williams of Mentor Graphics has been elected to the Si2 Extensions Steering Group. The ESG determines which Si2 OpenAccess Coalition extensions become OAC working groups and move forward for possible industry standardization. At Mentor, Nicolas is responsible for specifying and leading product direction of Tanner tools for analog, RF and MEMS devices.  He also leads PDK conversions efforts for Tanner tools and works closely with customers to develop application specific EDA solutions.

Si2 is a research and development joint venture that provides collaborative research and development leading to accelerated interoperability solutions and standards for integrated circuit design.

 

Si2 University Partner Network Adds New Member

Jeshairaj Thakaria is the newest member of the Si2 University Partner Network. The network connects qualified engineering student-partners to their future employers in a program that offers real-world, electronic design automation job experience.

A graduate student at the University of Florida Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, Jeshairaj is majoring in digital and mixed signal IC design. His work for Si2 focuses on redeveloping the oaDebug tool set, which gives developers insight into the Si2 OpenAccess database during the development process. oaDebug and oaDiff are the primary products used to develop OpenAccess applications.

For more information on the Si2 University Partner Network visit http://www.si2.org/si2-eda-university-partner-network/

Matt Wheaton Joins Si2 for OpenAccess Support

Matthew Wheaton, a software engineering professional whose experience includes more than 12 years at IBM, has joined Si2 as a senior programmer. His first responsibility is to take the lead on system builds and membership support of the Si2 OpenAccess database and scripting extensions, including oaScript.

While at IBM, Wheaton specialized in build, test, and delivery of EDA tools before moving into Front End tool development and management of the primitives library.

He has already built and configured a number of Linux hosts to compile oaScript and oaxPop, which were used to deliver the latest oaScript update (v.3.3).

A native of New England, Wheaton has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Computer Science from Western Connecticut State University.