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TSMC: Design issues call for industry partnership

Posted: 04 Sep 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:EDA&T ESC? Taiwan TSMC? design service?

A collaborative system is TSMC's response to the issues of increasing design complexities and costs. This was pointed out by Kuo Wu, deputy director of product and design service at TSMC's marketing division.

In his keynote during last month's Embedded System Conference-Taiwan (ESC-Taiwan) and EDA & Test-Taiwan (EDA&T-Taiwan) shows, Wu emphasized that the new challenges have called for a shift in the design paradigm. "It is very often that the designers will use the 'worst case' situation to carry out a design because they are not sure about the results of their designs due to increasing complexities. So, we can see lots of 'over design' happening in the industry, which is a waste of resources."

In order to solve this problem, Wu said it is pertinent for vendors from different market segments to cooperate more closely to provide more accurate design data to designers. Thus, TSMC these days is promoting the AAA (Active Accuracy Assurance) initiative, stepping up the partnership among EDA, IP and design services vendors in a bid to help customers their chip design based on better accuracy.

"Design cost is one of the most important factors in today's fiercely competing market," explained Wu. "If they [designers] can't have accurate models, they will have to do the 'over designs.' Thus, accuracy has become a key issue in design optimization."

Team effort
Several factors can limit a design, according to Wu. Among these are design architectures and experiences, EDA tool efficiencies and modeling methodology. Thus, the aim of the AAA initiative is to improve the accuracies of model, EDA and IP through cooperation within the design chain.

With the AAA initiative, TSMC can share its wealth of manufacturing data with EDA vendors and other design chain partners, who can then develop their own methodology that complies with accuracy assurance standards. IP and library partners can also use the data to enhance their IP performance, shorten their IP development cycle and deliver higher quality products. Design service partners, likewise, can derive from the same principle to ensure their service output comply with the standards that eventually delivers consistent quality benefit to the customers.

"We can now provide designers with accurate foundry data and models, including SPICE/DFM models and simulators," noted Wu. "Even if our model is accurate but the EDA tool is not, everything is still in vain, so we need to constantly qualify and maintain the fidelity of data accuracy."

Wu also emphasized the importance of IP quality. "In order to make sure of the IP consistency, we are now working with IP vendors to qualify IP through implementing sub-circuit or device circuit. We got to make sure that the sensitive circuit of IP could survive through process migration and improvement."

In closing his address, Wu acknowledged the fact that partnerships and alliances are popular topics in the industry. He stressed, however, that "cooperation is not just a slogan, and there should be methods to drive such cooperation. AAA is the practical collaboration model that we work with IP and EDA vendors. Providing the best accuracy and stable quality of services is our goal."

- Karen Kou
EE Times-Taiwan

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