Maximizing Efficiency And Productivity: The Benefits Of Shift Left Verification For IP Designers

Earlier design-stage error detection and correction improves the efficiency of the IP design process.


Intellectual property (IP) designers play a crucial role by creating reusable components that form the building blocks of larger integrated circuit (IC) designs. These components, whether developed in-house or acquired from specialized IP design companies, are essential for providing core functionality such as memory and standard libraries. However, designing and verifying IP is a complex and demanding task that requires specialized knowledge and experience. How is shift left verification, powered by the Siemens EDA Calibre nmPlatform, revolutionizing the IP design landscape? By offering a host of benefits to IP designers that enable faster time to market and improved design quality.

Understanding IP design types and the traditional IP design flow

IP designs can be classified into three categories: hard, soft, or custom. Hard IP comprises cores and standard cells, typically custom-designed and certified by foundries. Soft IP is composed of code that will be compiled from predefined cells when integrated into a larger design. Soft IP must be rigorously validated to ensure it will comply with foundry standards when compiled. Custom IP is tailored for specific designs and may involve manual layout creation and verification. Each type presents its own set of verification challenges.

Historically, IP designers follow a linear design flow, running signoff verification in each stage to find and correct errors. This approach, while effective, is increasingly challenged by the growing size and complexity of modern IC designs. Because signoff verification includes all rules and all checks, it will find transitory issues that are simply not relevant to incomplete designs in early stages. However, because designers have no means of sorting out only valid design-stage errors, the traditional flow involves multiple verification and debug iterations, which can be time-consuming and resource-intensive, leading to potential delays in product development.

Benefits of shift left verification for IP designers

Enter shift left verification, a game-changing approach that introduces improved efficiency and productivity into the IP design process through earlier design-stage error detection and correction. Calibre Shift Left solutions offer a suite of tools and functionalities built on Calibre rule decks and high-performance processing engines that empower IP designers to shift selected physical verification and design optimization tasks earlier in their workflow.

Shifting Calibre signoff-quality physical verification into the design stage offers a multitude of benefits to IP designers:

  • Provides targeted verification capabilities through the Calibre nmDRC Recon and nmLVS Recon Automated selection of relevant rules and checks allow designers to focus only on fixing critical and systemic errors in the early design stages, reducing runtimes and debugging time, thereby enhancing overall efficiency and expediting design closure. On-demand DRC verification offered by Calibre RealTime Digital and Calibre RealTime Custom tools provides immediate feedback for DRC violations within design or implementation tools, allowing designers to swiftly analyze and correct errors using Calibre signoff-quality fixes, ultimately reducing overall verification time.
  • IP designers have access to the same advanced verification functionalities, qualified rule decks, and processing engines used in Calibre signoff verification, ensuring accurate issue identification and correction with signoff-quality fixes during early design stages. This approach instills Calibre confidence in verification results, and ensures fixes remain Calibre-correct throughout the design flow.
  • Simplifies integration and runtime invocation with the Calibre Interactive interface, facilitating the integration of Calibre Shift Left tools into design and implementation environments. This user-friendly interface streamlines the physical verification flow, reduces the learning curve for design engineers, and ensures results consistency.
  • The Calibre RVE results viewer offers integrated error debugging within major design environments, simplifying error identification and correction for designers. Automated error categorization and filtering combined with intelligent fix guidance further enhance debugging productivity.
  • Automated waiver management is made more efficient with the Calibre Auto-Waivers Standardizing and automating the error waiver process benefits not only IP providers, but also IC and SoC designers and foundries by reducing processing time, enhancing overall productivity.
  • The Calibre Pattern Matching tool provides fast, accurate symmetry verification in IP design, ensuring Calibre-correct fixes from design stage through signoff verification.
  • The Calibre PERC reliability platform helps IP designers identify and eliminate reliability impacts and layout susceptibilities during early design stages, reducing the time and resources needed for issue detection while improving design reliability and performance.
  • Automated design layout optimization is facilitated through the Calibre DesignEnhancer tool, offering automated DFM optimizations during early design stages. These selective optimizations improve manufacturability, performance, and reliability. In addition, advanced fill functionality is provided by the Calibre YieldEnhancer tool, offering specialized layout optimizations such as SmartFill and programmable edge modification (PEM) capabilities, which enhance design robustness and reduce the impact of engineering change orders (ECOs).
  • The Calibre Multi-Patterning tool allows IP designers to embed coloring flexibility in IP layouts, leading to reduced time delays and redesigns when the IP are placed in larger designs.
  • As part of the Calibre nmPlatform toolsuite, Calibre Shift Left solutions provide fast runtimes and improved resource efficiency, allowing IP designers to accomplish more within shorter timeframes while streamlining the verification process.

Shift left verification for IP design styles

Using Calibre Shift Left solutions also provides benefits for each specific IP design type:

  1. Hard IP: Hard IP is often updated for each new process nodes. Hard IP designers benefit from early identification and verification of modified components, minimizing retesting while ensuring IP reliability and performance are maintained. Automated error fixing and waiver capabilities streamline the process.
  2. Soft IP: Soft IP designers can validate SRAM IP integrity early in the design process, addressing any potential alignment and compilation issues before the design is complete.
  3. Custom IP: Custom IP designers can use the Calibre RealTime Custom tool for quick in-line Calibre signoff-quality quality verification. Access to qualified Calibre rule decks and full verification functionality simplifies symmetry validation, error detection, and short circuit identification, significantly reducing design effort.

Adopting a shift left strategy enhances IP design productivity and design quality by enabling the early identification and correction of errors, reducing the need for multiple iterations and leading to more efficient workflows and quicker time-to-market.


In the competitive world of IP design, efficiency and accuracy are paramount. As part of the Calibre nmPlatform toolsuite, Calibre Shift Left solutions offer IP designers a plethora of benefits, from enhanced productivity and design quality to faster runtimes and Calibre-confident verification. By adopting a shift left verification strategy using Calibre Shift Left solutions, IP designers can minimize the risk of encountering late-stage errors, reduce design closure time, and ultimately achieve a faster time to market for their products while ensuring the highest level of IP design quality and performance. For IP designers, shifting left is not just a strategy; it’s an opportunity.

For more details on how Siemens shift left solutions can benefit IP designers, read our technical paper: A game-changer for IP designers: design-stage verification.

Leave a Reply

(Note: This name will be displayed publicly)