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Cadence asks EDA vendors to build bridges between databases

Posted: 21 May 2002 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Cadence Design Systems? electronic design automation? IC? EDA? application programming interface?

Cadence Design Systems Inc. issued an open letter to electronic design automation companies Thursday (May 16) asking them all to support the creation of an "interoperable infrastructure" between their databases. The letter was signed by Lavi Lev, executive vice president of Cadence's IC business.

Cadence is an active participant in the OpenAccess Coalition, which is developing a standard applications programming interface (API) based on Cadence's Genesis database, also called the OpenAccess database. Lev's letter doesn't specifically ask vendors to join OpenAccess, but it issues the "challenge that every database follow the same path of having an open API, free availability of source code, and community-managed change."

"If we all open our databases, the industry will reduce unnecessary costs to the customer and allow the EDA and electronics industries' combined energies to focus on addressing the complexity of chip designs," the letter states. "This will provide significant benefits for both the EDA and electronics industries."

Despite its appeal, Cadence does not plan to publish APIs and source code for its legacy databases, such as Design Framework II, Lev said. "OpenAccess is the database that Cadence will be using in the future," he said.

The letter brought about a cautious initial response from Synopsys Inc. which will inherit Avanti Corp.'s Milkyway database when the Synopsys-Avanti merger closes, currently expected for June 4. "The letter indicates that Cadence is proposing some new ideas regarding database interoperability," said Rich Goldman, vice president of strategic market development at Synopsys. "Synopsys will be contacting Lavi Lev to understand in more detail any new thoughts Cadence may have."

Synopsys has been critical of Cadence's plan to retain some veto power over the OpenAccess database until July 2004. Lev said that was done to "ensure a level of stability of the initial version of the spec," and that Cadence will revisit the timing "if the standard gains traction faster."

Potential problems

Rajeev Madhavan, chief executive officer of Magma Design Automation Inc. noted a couple potential problems with Cadence's request. First, the data formats needed to populate an open database?such as timing constraints and floor plan files?are not themselves open today. Second, Madhavan predicted that a "static database" approach will have performance problems as designs get larger.

Monterey Design Systems Inc. responded favorably to the letter. "Our interoperability with tools from other vendors and the power of our open APIs has been demonstrated in the field," said Dave Reed, vice president of marketing and solutions delivery for Monterey. "We are eager to see the OpenAccess initiative gain market acceptance."

Gartner Dataquest's EDA analyst Gary Smith said he was confused by Lev's letter. "Is he talking about an open API or an open database?" Smith asked. "If it's an API, it will no doubt happen."

? Richard Goering

EE Times

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