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We Need Your Insights on How to Improve the IC Design Ecosystem

Silicon Integration Initiative (Si2) has launched a comprehensive, international survey to identify and address ways to streamline and improve the IC design ecosystem.

Survey results will be announced in a DAC 2018 white paper, whose contents will present an industry consensus on specific ways the industry can manage the rising costs of more complex designs and smaller geometries.

You can access the survey and share your insights here. It will take about 20 minutes to complete.

Si2 extends its thanks to the Electronic System Design Alliance for its support of this survey.

Thanks for sharing your expertise!

Complete the survey today! Amazon gift cards will be sent to the first 50 respondents.

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.

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), […]

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

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.

Tom Whipple Reelected Chair of Si2 Chip-Package Co-Design Group

Tom Whipple, solutions architect at Zuken, has been reelected chair of the Si2 Chip-Package Co-Design Technical Advisory Board. The TAB’s primary goal is to identify problems in chip-package-board design flows, and flows and data exchange solutions to solve them.

At Zuken, Tom is responsible for defining, promoting and supporting chip-package-board co-design solutions using Zuken CR-8000 design tools.

 

 

Si2 contributes advanced IC power modeling technology to IEEE.

Si2 Contributes Advanced IC Power
Modeling Technology to IEEE

Technology will improve SoC design for power efficiency

AUSTIN, Texas–Silicon Integration Initiative, Inc. (Si2), a leading integrated circuit research and development joint venture, has contributed new power modeling technology to the IEEE P2416 System Level Power Model Working Group. The transfer is aimed at creating a standardized means for modeling systems-on-chip (SoC) designed for lower power consumption.

Jerry Frenkil, Si2 director of OpenStandards, said that the Si2 Low Power Working Group developed the new technology to fill several holes in the flow for estimating and controlling SoC power consumption. “This new modeling technology provides accurate and efficient, early estimation of both static and dynamic power, including critical temperature dependencies, using a consistent model throughout the design flow. There’s currently no standard way to represent power data for use at the system level, especially across a range of process, voltage and temperature points in a single model.”

IEEE P2416 is an essential component of IEEE’s coordinated effort to improve system-level design. This effort also includes the IEEE 1801 standard, which expresses design intent.  Its latest update, IEEE 1801-2015, includes support for power-state modeling.  “P2416 provides power data representations to complement 1801 power-state modeling.  Together, 1801 and 2416 will form a complete power model for hardware IP at any level of abstraction” Frenkil added.

Organizations that contributed to the model development are:  ANSYS, Cadence, Intel, IBM, Entasys, and North Carolina State University.

Nagu Dhanwada, senior technical staff member at IBM, chairs both the IEEE P2416 and Si2 Power Modeling Working Groups. According to Dhanwada, “This is a major contribution to the P2416 effort. As the first technology contribution to the P2416 Working Group, it’s expected to form a solid foundation for the resulting standard.”

“This new modeling technology is the first significant advance in power modeling in quite a long time” said Paul Traynar, technical fellow at ANSYS and a contributor to the Si2 effort.  “It will enable SoC designers to get consistent power estimates across design abstractions and especially early in the system design process.”

Julien Sebot, CPU architect at Intel and a member of the IEEE P2416 Working Group, added, “The Si2 contribution addresses the top priorities identified by the P2416 Working Group. The ability to create accurate, early estimates and to reuse and refine those estimates during the design process is essential in creating energy efficient systems-on-chip.  Si2’s contribution is a major step toward addressing that need.”

The IEEE-P2416 Working Group has already started reviewing the Si2 contribution.  In parallel, Si2 will further develop, for its members, the technology with expanded model semantics, proof-of-concept demonstrations, and reference design implementations.

This model and its use will be described as part of a DAC 2017 tutorial, “How Power Modeling Standards Power Your Designs,” Monday, June 19, 3:30-5:00 p.m., Room 18AB, Austin Convention Center.

For more information about this project, contact Jerry Frenkil at Jfrenkil@si2.org.  For information about the Si2 Low Power Working Group and other OpenStandards programs, visit http://www.si2.org/openstandards/.

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.

 

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.