You are currently viewing SemiWiki as a guest which gives you limited access to the site. To view blog comments and experience other SemiWiki features you must be a registered member. Registration is fast, simple, and absolutely free so please, join our community today!

  • PDA will exhibit at the 54th DAC

    Platform Design Automation, Inc will exhibit at the 54th Design Automation Conference(DAC) on June 18-21 in Austin Convention Center, Texas, USA, in Booth #1929. What to Expect:
    Article: Is The Fabless Semiconductor Ecosystem at Risk?-platform-design-automation-2017.jpg

    Who is PDA:
    Platform Design Automation, Inc. (PDA)is process-design integration company headquartered in Beijing (China), with branch offices in Shanghai and Hsinchu (Taiwan). PDA provides EDA tools, Test & Characterization solutions, and a comprehensive set of services, to ensure design quality and IC product yield and reliability, in any advanced manufacturing process technology. PDA’s unique Test Solutions and EDA Tools, based on years of experience with device characterization & modeling, and PDK & cell library development, enable best-in-class design infrastructure. These solutions address process characterization, device modeling, PDK and IP development, and product validation. PDA Test Instruments leverage proprietary Machine Learning algorithms, and our EDA tools encompass the latest modeling technologies. PDA is an established infrastructure provider in Asia, with a number of premier design houses and foundry clients.

    What is Process-Design Integration Infrastructure:
    Generically speaking semiconductor industry comprises many specialized entities, unique skill mixes and focused engineering disciplines, but in broadest terms these can be segregated into manufacturing-process-centric and chip-design-centric activities. Manufacturing process centric entities encompass foundries, equipment manufacturers, material and chemical providers, etc.. and are focused on developing transistor devices and deploying integrated process flows. The Chip Design Centric entities include the fabless (or fabbed or fab-lite) design houses, the IP providers, EDA vendors, etc… and are focused on developing and deploying IC products, based on the selected process technologies. The bridge between these two “universes” is Process-Design Integration Infrastructure.

    At the dawn of our industry, this consisted chiefly of “Design Rules” that prescribed the feature sizes and spaces allowed in a given process technology. SPICE models that describe the electrical behavior of specific transistors in a given process, have been added to this infrastructure in the 1970’s and 1980’s, and by 1990’s were typically based on open-standard device models (BSim, Gummel-Poon, etc..). The advent of importance of wire delays necessitated the addition of LPE models that enabled extraction of R’s and C’s from a layout implemented in a given technology. And of course, the ever growing complexity of IC designs necessitated development of automated rule checks (DRC), connectivity checks (LVS, ERC), etc.. so that the Process-Design Integration Infrastructure has evolved to extremely complex modern Process-Design Kits (PDK) that include all the information necessary to enable designing in a given process technology. Today’s semiconductor world and general practices would be entirely unthinkably impossible without the PDKs and the associated models that describe transistor characteristics and process capabilities. Even though nowadays foundries readily provide their clients with a seemingly easy set of packaged PDK files and SPICE models, ready to plug and play in most common EDA tools, the development and validation of PDKs/Models is a significant effort that involves specialized engineering skills and practices.

    In broad terms the key activities associated with the development of the Process-Design Integration Infrastructure involve

    Characterization – design, test and measurements conducted on test chips that include specific discrete test structures, such as individual transistors, or resistors/capacitors, etc.. necessary to obtain the data that describes all sorts of attributes of a given technology that is being developed.

    Model Extraction – fitting the appropriate models to the characterization data, involving suitable tuning of the 100’s of ‘knobs’ defined by the standard formats of various models that are necessary to describe a given characteristic of a given device as implemented in a given process technology.

    PDK Validation – QA practices necessary to ensure model sanity and behavior across entire process and design space, and integration in various target EDA tools, such as SPICE simulators, DRC checkers, etc…
    With modern process technologies and the associated design tools, these activities are all very labor intensive and require very specialized skill mix. The number of people on the planet that are competent in these arenas can probably be accounted for in 3 digits!

    Why PDA:
    PDA is an open, commercial company that has demonstrated and differentiated competence in all three of these arenas. It provides test equipment tools, including probers, measurement instruments and software tools to enable comprehensive characterization, including highly specialized measurements such as noise characterization, with best cost-performance tradeoff available today. PDA achieves this by leveraging its proprietary machine learning algorithms to accelerate test without compromising accuracy. PDA also provides model extraction tools with embedded QA procedures to enable development of optimized device models that can be used in all commercial SPICE simulators. And PDA provides tools that enable easy and quick validation and QA of PDK’s to ensure that the quality and integration of the entire kit. In addition, PDA team can also provide services to assist clients in developing test chips, basic IP blocks or even to accelerate the use of its offerings. PDA products and services are based on many years of experience in the related arenas with proven track record with a number of foundries and design houses.

    Come and see at DAC2017 in Austin in booth #1929