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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.

Empyrean Software, Qorvo Join Si2 Compact Model Coalition

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Empyrean Software, Qorvo Join Si2 Compact Model Coalition

 

For Immediate Release

 

AUSTIN, Texas—Empyrean Software and Qorvo have joined the Silicon Integration Initiative (Si2) Compact Model Coalition (CMC), a collaborative group that funds the standardization of cost-saving SPICE models for integrated circuit designs.

They join 30 other companies that increasingly rely on the use of industry-standard SPICE models (Simulation Program with Integration Circuit Emphasis) to simulate the performance of new and enhanced chip designs prior to manufacturing. As a research and development joint venture focused on IC design tool operability standards, Si2 provides a legally protected environment for its members to share resources for funding SPICE model standardization.

“SPICE device models are equations that express transistor function. These fundamental building blocks provide IC designers with the ability to simulate and validate design function and performance before entering the capital-intensive phase of manufacturing,“ said John Ellis, Si2 president and CEO. “To reduce R&D costs and increase simulation accuracy, the semiconductor industry has turned to the CMC to pool resources and fund the standardization of best-of breed models.

“Once the standard models are proven and accepted by CMC, they are incorporated into design tools providing cross-correlation between simulators and widely used by the semiconductor industry. The standard models have been developed, and are refined and maintained, under direction and funding by the CMC, by leading universities and national labs,” Ellis explained.

Steve Yang, CEO of Empyrean Software, said “As designs move to advanced processes, the simulation models provided by CMC are vitally important for our tools to provide accurate results and validate designs before they are manufactured.  As the largest China EDA software supplier, Empyrean’s EDA tools cover complete custom AMS design flow: schematic entry, layout editing, circuit simulation, DRC/LVS, and RC extraction.”

For more information about the CMC visit http://www.si2.org/cmc/.

 

About the Silicon Integration Initiative (Si2)

Si2 is a leading research and development joint venture that provides standard interoperability solutions for IC design tools. Its primary products include OpenAccess, the world’s most widely used, open reference database for IC design, with a supporting standard APA. 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.

 

Media Contact:

Terry Berke
512-917-1358
tberke@si2.org

Geoffrey Coram Named New CMC Technical Advisor

Geoffrey J. Coram of Analog Devices is the new volunteer technical advisor for the Si2 Compact Model Coalition.  In this newly created position he advises the coalition on Verilog-A implementation for its standard compact models.

Over the past decade, the preferred language for development and implementation of compact models has shifted from C to Verilog-A. Recognizing the importance of the new language, the CMC officers created this position to assist model developers and help encourage best practices.

A senior member of the IEEE, Geoffrey has been an active CMC participant since 2002 and currently leads the CMC subcommittees on Verilog-A recommended practices and the MOS varactor model. In 2004, he led the efforts of the Accellera Verilog-AMS subcommittee to add compact modeling extensions to that modeling language in Language Reference Manual version 2.2.

Geoffrey joined the internal CAD development and circuit simulation group at Analog Devices after earning a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2000. His undergraduate degree is from Rice University.