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OpenPDK group misses pure-play foundry members

Posted: 14 May 2010 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:process design kit? open PDK? foundry? EDA?

The Silicon Integration Initiative (Si2) disclosed the founding members of the new OpenPDK Coalition including AnaGlobe Technology, Cadence Design Systems, IBM, Intel, Mentor Graphics, NXP, Pulsic, SpringSoft, STMicroelectronics and Synopsys.

At least for now, missing from the membership are Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd and other pure-play silicon foundries.

As report, there is now a path towards an "open" PDK or process design kit, which is said to enable and speed up new analog and mixed-signal designs in the foundries.

Recently, the Interoperable PDK Libraries (IPL) Alliance released its "open standard" for interoperable process design kits (iPDKs). The standard, dubbed IPL1.0, is supposed to reduce cycle times and costs. As part of the standard, IPL is rolling out an IPL1.0 reference kit, which consists of an iPDK developer's guide, a sample 90nm reference iPDK, a reference design and a user guide.

Based on the OpenAccess database, the technology from the IPL Alliance will continue to evolve over the various process nodesat least until 28nm. Then, Si2 recently said that it is working with the IPL Alliance to extend "open PDKs" starting at the 22nm node.

This effort is called the OpenPDK Coalition. The goal of the OpenPDK Coalition is to define a set of open standards to allow a PDK to be portable across competing foundries and EDA tools. Today's analog-oriented PDKs are proprietary and incompatible. And the foundries are forced to support separate and proprietary custom-oriented PDKs from Cadence, Mentor, Synopsys and others. Therefore, the industry is looking for a standard PDK format.

Strangely, TSMC and other pure-play foundries are not part of the founding group. TSMC is a major backer of the IPL. "We hope TSMC will soon follow" and join the OpenPDK Coalition, according to a spokesman for Si2.

Perhaps the foundries are waiting for the new specifications of the group. Meanwhile, the OpenPDK Coalition has also issued a comprehensive request for technology which covers: foundry provided elements, design kit creation elements, EDA tool interfaces, and utilities.

"The RFT solicits contributions covering the above areas from all stakeholders to create robust and open standards for PDK structures and supporting collateral to promote adoption based on proven ideas, specifications and functions," according to the group.

"The OpenPDK project draws on many industry resources to create the broadest possible PDK interoperability solution, enabling greater efficiency and cost savings for both developers and users," said Steve Schulz, president and CEO of Si2, in a statement. "OpenPDK's 'write once, use many' architecture provides for automatic generation of both fully open and popular in-use formats that can be mixed to satisfy market requirements for PDK delivery."

- Mark LaPedus
EE Times





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