James Masters of Intel to Lead Si2 Extensions Steering Group

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.

Si2 Names Dr. Rhett Davis Technical and Education Advisor

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.

About Si2

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

Dr. Leigh Anne Clevenger Joins Si2 Technical Team

Machine Learning Expert Will Bolster Collaborative R&D Programs

Dr. Leigh Anne Clevenger, a professional software engineer with over 15 years’ experience at IBM and GlobalFoundries, has joined Si2 as a principal software design engineer.

With domain knowledge ranging from circuit simulation to data science, Dr. Clevenger will initially focus her expertise on accelerating the Si2 OpenStandards Coalition standardization efforts in machine learning and system-level power modeling.

Dr. Clevenger, who earned her doctorate in Software Engineering and Machine Learning at Pace University, has extensive experience in semiconductor design automation and semiconductor processing technology.  She is a published expert in detailed circuit simulator systems, including IBM PowerSPICE, Cadence Spectre/APS/XPS/Ultrasim, and Synopsys HSPICE.  At GlobalFoundries she was a software development engineer for automotive and gaming computer chips.

“Dr. Clevenger is known for driving business success through establishing collaboration and dialogue between all sectors of the electronic design automation and semiconductor communities,” said John Ellis, Si2 president and CEO.  “Her expertise in machine learning will be especially valuable to Si2 members who increasingly utilize that science to gain insights from data to improve the quality and efficiency of production and decision software systems.”

Dr. Clevenger has published and presented research on data science, including big data analytics, machine learning algorithms, and wearable computing.  She has filed over 30 patents in the areas of health care and fitness based on Internet of Things sensors, improving engagement with virtual and augmented reality and semiconductor innovations. For her doctorate, she developed a machine learning system for active screening of cardiac patients.


IBM, GLOBALFOUNDRIES Enhance Si2 Unified Power Model Standard

Si2 has announced  that IBM and GLOBALFOUNDRIES have contributed patented technology to support the Si2 Unified Power Model standard, the industry’s first significant power model enhancement in many years.

Early stage estimation of System on Chip power consumption is fundamental to ensuring new SoC designs meet or exceed power specifications when fabricated. For a credible estimate, the power models must comprehend the target implementation technology and circuitry, along with voltage and temperature conditions. At the same time, power estimation results are needed quickly in to perform rapid “what if” scenarios.

UPM’s multi-level power modeling capability provides the necessary level of modeling detail required at various stages of design. Abstract high-level equations to gate-level characterization tables can be accommodated through the same, standard interface. Beyond this, the UPM interface, upon acceptance and approval by the IEEE’s P2416 working group, will be a direct plug-in to the widely-used IEEE 1801 stub created for power models.

Simplified Power Modeling

The IBM and GF contributions enhance UPM by providing a new and unique approach to power modeling. Rather than storing pre-characterized, process-voltage-temperature specific data, UPM models store power proxies that represent different contributors to overall power consumption, such as sub-threshold leakage, gate leakage, and dynamic power. Appropriately entitled “power contributors,” this approach vastly simplifies and reduces the power modeling effort, and allows the power model to be voltage and temperature independent, enabling a single power model to be used at a multitude of voltages and temperatures.

SoC designers using UPM with contributor-based modeling will ultimately be equipped with thermally-aware, system-level power estimation. In addition, the late-binding of specific PVT conditions at simulation run-time will provide accurate, early estimates of leakage power, which increases exponentially with increasing temperature. The donated technology covers key aspects of contributor-based power modeling including model abstraction, generation, compression and evaluation.

Contributor-based modeling will be fully integrated into UPM, which forms the basis for P2416, the planned IEEE standard for developing and maintaining interoperable, IC design power models.  P2416 is scheduled for balloting in early 2019.

Industry Contributions

Jerry Frenkil, director of Si2 OpenStandards, said the IBM and GF contributions bolster UPM and provide P2416 with proven and ready-to-use modeling methods.  “These power proxies enable voltage and temperature-independent modeling which greatly reduce the model generation and support effort,” Frenkil explained. “They also enable late binding of voltage and temperature conditions at simulation run-time, a major benefit for both IP developers and SoC designers.”

“IBM is pleased to donate this advanced modeling technology to Si2’s UPM development to facilitate interchange of IP power data,” said Dr. Leon Stok, vice president of EDA at IBM.  “We have used contributor modeling internally on several generations of IBM micro-processors to great effect. We look forward to seeing UPM contributor models being provided by IP block developers so that entire systems, consisting of both internal and external IP, can be modeled efficiently using a common modeling standard.  Additionally, the combination of power contributors and multi-level modeling structures promises major cost and resource improvements in creating and supporting IP power models.”

“UPM directly addresses a major industry need—accurate and efficient system-level power models,” said Richard Trihy, senior director of design enablement at GF.  “Since IP providers need only produce a single model for a multitude of PVT points, these models enable significant productivity gains in model generation. Our clients will also get a good early estimate of their systems’ total power, including leakage, which can operate at high temperatures.”

Ready for P2416 Balloting

“These contributions from IBM and GF come at a fortuitous time,” said Dr. Nagu Dhanwada of IBM, chair of the IEEE P2416 Working Group and the Si2 UPM development project.  “The P2416 Working Group is rapidly gathering momentum towards IEEE standardization.  We anticipate going to ballot early next year.”

For more information about this project, contact Jerry Frenkil at jfrenkil@si2.org.  For information about the Low Power Working Group and other OpenStandards programs, visit http://www.si2.org/openstandards/.

Si2 Launches Effort to Standardize New IC Design Language

Silicon Integration Initiative Inc. (Si2), a research and development joint venture providing standard interoperability solutions for IC design tools, has launched a working group to standardize a new, formal declarative language that greatly simplifies finding and correcting design flaws in complex, leading-edge chip designs early in a design flow. Named OPAL (Open Pattern Analysis for Layout), […]