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BindKey overhauls rules-driven layout tool

Posted: 15 Apr 2003 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:bindkey technologies? rapidesignclean? ic layout tool? design rule checking? virtuoso?

Promising to bring relief to full-custom IC designers, BindKey Technologies is announcing a rewrite of RapiDesignClean, a tool that helps layout designers avoid design rule checking (DRC) violations. The new version promises easier setup, faster speeds, and the addition of 90nm design rules.

BindKey announced the initial release of RapiDesignClean in January 2001. Then an independent EDA startup, BindKey was purchased last year by DuPont Photomasks. Now BindKey has around 100 licenses in use, and has recently created its own sales force, said Tom Daspit, BindKey director of marketing.

RapiDesignClean works with Cadence Design System's Virtuoso layout editor. It has three modes. One, called "hint," tells designers where they can move selected objects without causing a DRC violation. Another, called "enforce," snaps objects back in place to avoid violations of spacing rules. A third mode, just added in the new release, is called "notify." It informs designers that a violation has occurred, but doesn't move objects.

A major selling point of RapiDesignClean is its ability to run with minimal speed impact. Earlier versions, written in Skill, could only handle about 40 or 50 design rules without taking more than half a second. The new version, written in C++, can handle closer to 1,000 design rules in that period of time, Daspit said. He added that the transition from Skill to C++ will allow BindKey to support products other than Virtuoso in the future.

Daspit noted that the previous version took design rules from the Virtuoso technology file, which is limited, or through manual entry, which might take four or five weeks. The new version allows much faster setup times because it can read foundry Calibre rule decks, Daspit said.

Also new are the addition of what Daspit termed violations of 90nm design rules, covering such areas as slotting, notching, metal density, area, corner-to-corner spacing, angles, and antennas.

"The big reason for RapiDesignClean is that as rules have grown, you get a rule book like the phone book," said Daspit. "Designers can't memorize them anymore."

The new version of RapiDesignClean is available now starting at $15,000.

- Richard Goering

EE Times

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