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Need for next-gen EDA tools grows, says report

Posted: 26 Oct 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Frost & Sullivan? EDA tools? K.C. Krishnadas?

The entire electronics industry depends on efficiency and innovation of EDA tools, which is becoming even more important with the continuing rise in reduction in ICs from micro-to nanoscale dimensions, according to a new report by Frost & Sullivan.

"As the semiconductor industry confronts the sub-100 nanometer process node, there is a need to develop more advanced EDA tools, which would facilitate the design of powerful, cost-effective and more complex chips," the report said. "Moore's Law has proved to be remarkably resilient over the past 40 years. Increasing the performance efficiency of the transistor only with device miniaturization is a huge issue."

"Today's and next generation's chip sets are likely to have several different types of components embedded into a single chip," said Sivakumar Muthuramalingam, technical industry insights analyst at Frost & Sullivan. "Integrating many components onto a single chip enables numerous functions. Hence, such an increased integration requires innovations in electronic design automation technologies for designing chipsets, which enables better functionality in devices."

A big challenge for emerging EDA technologies arises from customers being timid when it comes to supporting technologies out of smaller companies as they essentially get tools for free from the large companies under a corporate-wide contract. This results in stifling innovative product development and along with IP issues, present a big hindrance to the EDA tools industry.

"Value-added applications across fields such as defense, healthcare and automotive drive the need for novel EDA technologies involved in designing next-generation consumer electronic devices. Consumers play a strong role as a driving force for the IC markets as the digital consumer products are now the main players," the report said.

Next-generation EDA tools need to meet the need for IC customization at low cost and increased complexity when it comes to new consumer electronic products, the report said. The IP market is badly broken and deserves special attention and IP providers find it hard to meet quality and time-to-market expectations set by the customers who are unaware of or are not in a position to evaluate the value of IP.

According to the report, one way of getting over the challenge of corporate wide contracts and IP issues is increased cooperation among the EDA players, especially when no single EDA firm can provide solutions for the entire design flow. This has already seen a number of partnerships and collaborations in the EDA industry in order to develop more advanced tools.

"The need for a tighter link between manufacturing and EDA has propelled the EDA industry toward tools aimed at ensuring the most efficient and effective means of manufacturing. Every stage of the manufacturing process is covered to develop the most producible design at the least possible cost," the report concluded.

- K.C. Krishnadas
EE Times

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