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Cadence buys mask prep company in DFM push

Posted: 09 May 2003 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:cadence design? design for manufacturing? dfm? K2 technologies? mask?

Cadence Design Systems Inc. is jumping firmly into the emerging design for manufacturing (DFM) market following an announcement that it has acquired K2 Technologies Inc., a privately held mask and wafer data preparation software company, for an undisclosed amount.

Aki Fujimura, GM of Cadence's recently created DFM Division, said the purchase of K2 represents Cadence's first significant step into the DFM tool space. K2 brings to Cadence 18 employees and two tools: MaskCompose and QuickView. The MaskCompose tool, said Fujimura, is a combined mask preparation layout and partitioning technology that also does wafer layout, while the QuickView tool is a viewer that that allows mask makers to look at different formats with multiple views simultaneously.

Up until now, Cadence has been mainly focused on adding manufacturing technologies under the hood to further enhance its design tools. Fujimura said Cadence plans to do some of the same with the K2 technology, but will also will also continue K2's business model and sell the tools to mask makers.

"DFM is the next frontier, and Cadence is seriously investing both internally and looking at potential acquisitions to increase our presence in this area," said Fujimura. "It really reflects one of the first steps into Cadence's entry into the DFM area. We think it is going to be one of the biggest topics for IC design over the next 5 years."

Cadence's archrival Synopsys doesn't think much of the acquisition, however. Atul Sharan, VP of marketing for Synopsys' silicon engineering group, said that Cadence is now "three years behind Synopsys in the DFM space" and is buying companies that "don't really have a significant presence in the manufacturing world" in attempt to catch up.

Fujimura would not say what further steps Cadence plans to take in the DFM space, but said that this first step is "creating a conduit of information between designs and manufacturing."

"Being able to see the effect of wafer layout at an early planning stage will be beneficial thing for designers," said Fujimura. "But we also believe that design aware manufacturing will also be important. We want to create a conduit between design and manufacturing."

Fujimura said that the company plans to incorporate the K2 technology with the OpenAccess database so design and manufacturing can share multiple views of a design.

- Michael Santarini

EE Times

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