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Cadence allies with Credence to link design, test

Posted: 14 May 2002 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Credence Systems? Cadence Design Systems? simulation vector? design automation? automated design equipment?

Looking to forge a closer link between chip design and manufacturing test, Cadence Design Systems Inc. and Credence Systems Corp. have formed an alliance to better integrate the companies' software. The agreement will also lead to the creation of new products, possibly giving Cadence a much-needed presence in the design-for-test marketplace.

Credence, a supplier of automated test equipment (ATE) for the semiconductor industry, has moved closer to the design world with the purchase last year of Fluence Technology Inc. and Integrated Measurement Systems Inc. (IMS). Much of the Cadence alliance work will be done with IMS, a former Cadence subsidiary, which has software that converts simulation vectors into ATE vectors.

Aside from a test synthesis capability of the synthesis tools acquired with its 1998 purchase of Ambit Design Systems Inc., Cadence is notably lacking in design-for-test software for automatic test pattern generation (ATPG) and scan design. According to the most recent Gartner Dataquest market figures, Mentor Graphics Corp., Synopsys Inc., and Logic Vision Inc. dominate the design-for-test software market.

"The big trend we're seeing is that test is moving more into design, and this is a first step in terms of Cadence addressing that," said Rahul Razdan, corporate vice president and general manager of Cadence's functional verification group.

Keith Barnes, president and executive vice president of IMS at Credence, said the alliance is driven by a desire to successfully bring customers all the way through design, tapeout and manufacturing test. "We want to make sure chip architectures are done well and are testable," he said.

Barnes said the alliance will start with Cadence reselling improved versions of two IMS products ?Test Development Series and Digital Virtual Test. The first of these takes simulation vectors and converts them into a format that ATE systems from Credence and other vendors can understand. The second lets users run test vectors on a simulated tester, weeding out those that don't work before actually firing up million-dollar testers.

Razdan said the two companies will put together a "test validation environment" that can take simulation vectors from Cadence's NC-Sim product line, convert them to ATE vectors, and allow users to simulate those vectors in a virtual test environment. Some, but not all, of the required capabilities exist today, he noted.

Sales hook

More significantly, by putting IMS tools into the Cadence sales channel, the two companies are hoping to sell these tools to design groups. "What is not common is for design teams to use these tools," Razdan said.

In the future, the alliance will lead to the creation of new tools, Barnes said. He wouldn't provide details, but said the two companies are working on ATPG and scan technology. Another challenge, he noted, is bringing fab information into the design and test flow. "There will be a series of products we'll unveil over time," he said.

Initial announcements from the alliance are expected around the time of next month's Design Automation Conference.

? Richard Goering

EE Times

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