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Posted: March 8, 2010

Imec and Altos Collaborate on Chip Design and Prototyping Service

(Nanowerk News) Imec and Altos Design Automation, Inc. today announce that they have entered into an agreement to set up a library re-characterization service based on Altos ultra-fast characterization tools. With this collaboration, imec will extend its ASIC (application-specific integrated circuit) prototyping and volume fabrication service with library re-characterization which is essential when designing in 65nm and 40nm nodes.
Imec and Altos will collaborate to offer re-characterization of standard foundry or library vendor libraries including core and IO cells at different process, temperatures and/or voltages. The library re-characterization is based on Altos’ Liberatetm cell characterization product. Validation of the re-characterization will be performed using Altos’ Liberate LV library validation system.
When designing in 65nm and 40nm nodes, re-characterization of standard cell libraries is becoming increasingly necessary in order to get the delay, timing constraints, switching power, leakage and noise for all the corners needed for accurate design signoff. Standard design libraries offered by foundries or library vendors are characterized for certain conditions but the de-rating factors do not apply to all temperatures and voltages. To guarantee first time right designs, library re-characterization becomes essential for 65nm and 40nm technologies.
“The demands of advanced process nodes are driving the requirement to have cells characterized at more temperatures and voltage levels than ever before;” said Jim McCanny, CEO at Altos. “This is because accurate modeling of instance specific voltage and temperature variations cannot be achieved with only one temperature and voltage choice per process corner. In addition the prevalent use of low power design methods means that designers can no longer afford to over-design to extreme corner conditions but need to target library corners that are more relevant to their design application”
Imec has offered an ASIC prototyping, fabrication, testing and packaging service for more than 20 years. The imec ASIC service provides on the one hand European fables companies access to TSMC technologies through imec’s emerging business program. On the other hand, European universities and R&D centers can prototype or fabricate their ASICs at reduced cost via the Europractice IC service supported by the European Commission. “As many of our customers are moving to 65nm and 40nm, there is a strong need for a library characterization service;” said Carl Das, Director imec ASIC services. “This collaboration with Altos will enable us to use Liberate and Liberate LV to rapidly qualify library views for electrical signoff of timing, noise and power which is an important asset for our customers.”
About imec
Imec performs world-leading research in nanoelectronics. Imec leverages its scientific knowledge with the innovative power of its global partnerships in ICT, healthcare and energy. Imec delivers industry-relevant technology solutions. In a unique high-tech environment, its international top talent is committed to providing the building blocks for a better life in a sustainable society.
Imec is headquartered in Leuven, Belgium, and has offices in Belgium, the Netherlands, Taiwan, US, China and Japan. Its staff of more than 1,750 people includes over 650 industrial residents and guest researchers. In 2008, imec's revenue (P&L) was 270 million euro.
Imec is a registered trademark for the activities of IMEC International (a legal entity set up under Belgian law as a "stichting van openbaar nut”), imec Belgium (IMEC vzw supported by the Flemish Government), imec the Netherlands (Stichting IMEC Nederland, part of Holst Centre which is supported by the Dutch Government) and imec Taiwan (IMEC Taiwan Co.).
About Altos
Altos Design Automation provides ultra-fast, fully-automated characterization and validation technology of library views for timing, signal integrity, leakage and power. Altos advanced modeling solutions are used by both corner-based and statistical-based design implementation flows to reduce time to market and improve yield. Altos’ Liberatetm and Liberate LV products are used by leading foundry and IP providers to reduce the cost, improve the quality and greatly enhance the productivity of IP view creation. Privately held, Altos was founded in 2005 in Santa Clara, CA. Its corporate headquarters is at 4020 Moorpark Ave., Suite 100, San Jose, CA 95117. Telephone: (408) 980-8056.
Source: imec (press release)
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