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Tera survey claims RTL handoff interest

Posted: 06 Jul 2004 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:rtl? tera systems? asic?

A survey of over 400 engineers, many of whom attended an RTL handoff symposium at the Design Automation Conference (DAC), reveals a considerable interest in the topic, according to Tera Systems. The survey showed that many of these engineers are working on large, fast designs, and that one-third of them are already working at 90nm.

RTL handoff is a new approach in which designers produce a verified RTL netlist, and let the ASIC vendor do the synthesis and physical design. Tera Systems' ' TeraForm product is a design planning solution that supports RTL handoff. In February 2004, Tera and IBM announced what the companies called the first production-ready RTL handoff flow.

Since survey respondents were Tera customers or attendees at Tera's DAC symposium, it's not surprising that 29 percent said they had an upcoming need for RTL handoff, and 37 percent said they'd like to learn more about it. What's revealing about the survey is what it shows about designers who are interested in RTL handoff.

First, the survey showed that many of the respondents come from large companies. Interest was highest at Intel, Samsung, Broadcom, LSI Logic, Hewlett-Packard, LG Electronics, IBM, Texas Instruments, Philips, Sony, and Cisco.

Forty-seven percent of survey respondents are working on designs between 200- and 400MHz, and 15 percent said designs are over 400MHz. Thirty-four percent cited a typical design size of 2 to 5 million gates, while 24 percent said designs are over 5 million gates. Fifty-eight percent of respondents said their next design start is less than 3 months away.

The survey showed that 34 percent of respondents are working at 90nm, 40 percent at 130nm, and the rest at larger geometries. TSMC is by far the most common silicon provider, chosen by 47 percent of respondents. IBM was chosen by 15 percent.

Asked about operating system usage, 51 percent said they use Linux and 38 percent chose Solaris.

"We believe that due to the number of people sampled, along with the fact that they are highly qualified IC and system designers, that the data is highly relevant and accurate," said Alain Labat, Tera Systems CEO. "The move to RTL is real."

- Richard Goering

EE Times

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