Posted: July 27, 2009

ARM, Chartered, IBM, Samsung, and Synopsys Collaborate to Deliver Vertically Optimized Solution for 32/28nm Mobile SoC Designs

(Nanowerk News) In a move that addresses fundamental challenges in creating advanced systems-on-chips (SoCs), ARM, Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing Ltd., IBM, Samsung Electronics, Co., Ltd., and Synopsys, Inc. today announced at the Design Automation Conference (DAC) an agreement to develop a comprehensive technology enablement solution for the design and manufacture of mobile Internet-optimized devices. The objective of this collaboration is to leverage innovations in material science, mobile multimedia implementation and SoC design to lower risk and improve time-to-market for advanced mobile products.
This complete design chain collaboration of technology leaders intends to integrate the following components:
  • ARM® high-performance, low-power processor architecture for mobile applications, and optimized suite of physical intellectual property (physical IP)
  • 32/28-nanometer (nm) low-power/low-leakage, high-k metal-gate (HKMG) synchronized foundry services through the Common Platform manufacturing alliance of IBM, Chartered and Samsung
  • Synopsys Lynx Design System, including Galaxy(TM) Implementation Platform for SoC implementation, as well as DesignWare® connectivity IP
  • As semiconductor technology approaches fundamental physical limits and design complexity reaches unprecedented levels, a deeper type of technical alignment is essential. Going beyond an existing track record of successful cooperation at previous nodes, this agreement among ARM, the Common Platform companies, and Synopsys represents a new level of collaboration necessary to address the cost and technical challenges associated with advanced SoC design and manufacturing. This initiative aligns strategy, technology roadmaps and customer deliveries.
    "The Common Platform alliance's expanded engagement approach with ARM, and now Synopsys, means working more closely together with earlier access to each other's technology innovations, integrating and optimizing our capabilities for clients," said Michael J. Cadigan, general manager, IBM Microelectronics Division, on behalf of the Common Platform alliance companies. "The benefits are clear and differentiated: lower risk, lower cost and faster time-to-market."
    Combination of Strengths
    Each company brings unique technology and expertise that, when combined through joint collaboration, creates an optimized solution not available from other sources.
    ARM brings a robust portfolio of logic, memory and interface IP, as well as its widely adopted Cortex(TM) processor family that is used in a broad array of mobile applications. ARM Physical IP optimized for the Common Platform 32/28nm process delivers valuable low-power and system cost benefits. The intention of this agreement is to ensure the IP is fully optimized with the Synopsys design flow.
    "The complexity of advanced manufacturing process technology requires a tight connection between the physical IP, processor cores and EDA methodology," said Warren East, CEO, ARM. "Early collaboration between these leading companies will significantly improve the performance, power and area achievable by our partners and deliver increased value to the end products."
    Synopsys brings a suite of tool components from its Galaxy Implementation Platform, Lynx Design System and DesignWare connectivity IP providing the foundation of the solutions design flow. By tuning the automated front-to-back flow to run on Common Platform technology with ARM processor and physical IP, the flow is aimed at delivering a streamlined implementation path that can reduce the total cost of developing an optimized SoC, while helping speed time-to-market and reduce risk.
    "This unique ARM-Synopsys-Common Platform collaboration can alleviate costs and risks by harnessing the leading players in silicon technology, IP, tools and flow enablement to integrate and optimize the path from software to silicon," said Aart de Geus, chairman and CEO of Synopsys. "Through this alignment, we plan to deliver early 32/28 nanometer tool and IP enablement, plus a complete, vertically optimized design solution based on the Synopsys Lynx Design System to provide customers the lowest cost of design and fastest time-to-market for next-generation mobile SoC designs."
    The Common Platform 32/28nm process uses an innovative high-k metal-gate (HKMG) approach to address the limitations of polysilicon technology. It leverages the research and development efforts of the IBM joint technology development alliance to offer a high-performance, low-power manufacturing platform. The process offering is available with synchronized foundry services from all three Common Platform companies, ensuring customer freedom of choice and maximum sourcing flexibility.
    The collaborative effort began a year ago. Initial 32nm low-power tool and IP enablement has been released and a steady stream of early customer deliverables is targeted in the coming months. Supporting physical and processor IP, connectivity IP, process design kits and tools will be available from their respective suppliers. Demonstrations of the technology based on initial test chips will be shown at the 2009 DAC in the ARM-Common Platform-Synopsys "Innovation Optimized" exhibit (booth #1114).
    About the Common Platform
    IBM, Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing and Samsung Electronics have forged a unique manufacturing collaboration, featuring 28nm, 32nm, 45nm, 65nm and 90nm process technologies. By combining the expertise and research resources of all three companies and leveraging advances such as high-k metal gate technology, 193nm immersion lithography and ultralow-k dielectrics, the Common Platform(TM) technology collaboration is able to accelerate the availability of leading-edge technology to foundry customers. The Common Platform model is supported by a comprehensive design-enablement ecosystem, enabling foundry customers to easily source their chip designs to multiple 300mm foundries with minimal design work and with unprecedented flexibility and choice.
    Source: IBM (press release)
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