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Synopsys to adopt Oasis IC layout data format in 2005

Posted: 09 Jul 2004 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:eda tool? gdsii ic layout format? physical synthesis tools?

Claiming a leg up in EDA tools targeting design for manufacturing (DFM), Synopsys Inc. said it would stick with the venerable GDSII IC layout format until the first half of 2005 rather than adopt the more compact Oasis layout format created in 2003.

Synopsys' current physical layout tools produce data in the GDSII format, and resolution enhancement and mask data manipulation and verification tools work from GDSII and return data to GDSII.

In contrast, Synopsys' rival Mentor Graphics Corp. already has tools in its Calibre suite that can work with either the GDSII or Oasis formats.

Observers said that until physical synthesis tools start producing IC layout files in the Oasis format as a matter of course, engineers would continue to view GDSII as the standard. Mentor announced a free downloadable GDSII-to-Oasis layout translator June 16 in an attempt to kick-start use of the layout format upgrade.

"We are moving towards Oasis. We expect to introduce Oasis [-capable tools] in the first half of 2005," Sandeep Khanna, VP of marketing for DFM at Synopsys told Silicon Strategies. "It will take some time to upgrade the tools. It can't happen over night," he said.

The GDSII chip layout format has been used as the standard for the physical description of ICs for more than 20 years. But concerns that GDSII would fail to cope with the exploding data requirements surfaced in late 2002. This prompted the development of the more compact Oasis format in 2003. Oasis was written to include additional information and be 10 to 50 times more compact than GDSII.

The specification for Oasis became available in September 2003 having been developed by the data path task force of the Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International industry organization.

"There are two different problems here. Oasis will reduce file sizes, but it does not reduce the increasing number of data processing steps needed," Khanna said.

It nevertheless appears there would be little to stop Synopsys from shipping its tools with Mentor's free conversion utility as an interim solution.

- Peter Clarke

Silicon Strategies

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