ST Announces 20x Savings Using OpenPDK At DAC

Open standards can be created once and then automatically translated into multiple EDA vendors’ tools.


Last month’s Design Automation Conference in San Francisco proved to be highly successful for Si2. This year, for example, Si2 organized 28 member-led presentations, issued 10 press releases, and hosted 5 special events. Today I will focus on one of those events, a special press conference featuring Philippe Magarshack, executive vice president for design enablement services at STMicroelectronics.

The press event opened with a brief overview by Jim Culp, Chair of the OpenPDK Coalition and PDK development leader at IBM. Jim explained the technology as a set of open standards allowing an OpenPDK to be created once and then automatically translated into specific EDA vendor tools and specific foundry formats. Jim summarized all the complexities of data required in modern PDKs, and how OpenPDK supports them across multiple EDA and foundry vendors with a common PDK XML-based source. Jim outlined the Open Process Specification (OPS) and OpenPcell (OPC) standards, and how they utilize OpenDFM, an existing Si2 standard embedded within OPS.

Philippe Magarshack then took the stage to announce OpenPDK’s production value and foundry benchmark results at ST. The benefits include a self-consistent electronic Design Rule Manual (DRM) to generate PDKs automatically; an ability to manage multiple foundry partnerships and technology alliances; and a “write once, use many” approach that saves development time and improves quality.

Using an OpenPDK-based 45nm device library definition along with ST’s OpenLibGen tool, ST delivered impressive benchmarks. For their first-time library generation (including validation), ST reduced development time from 4 person-weeks down to 1.5, for a 62% resource savings. For every subsequent library update, the PDK was completed in just 2 hours (versus 1 person-week using traditional methods), for a 20x recurring resource savings!

ST stated that it has already deployed a wide range of OpenPDKs now in production use, including a 20nm/14nm FDSOI OpenPDK, Silicon Photonics OpenPDK, and 3D-IC Flow OpenPDK (with CMOS sensors). This quarter, ST will deliver a 28nm FDSOI OpenPDK, as well as a 130nm RF/mmW/HV/Imager OpenPDK before the end of the year. The 28nm FDSOI OpenPDK will be used by Samsung as part of its recently announced strategic partnership on FDSOI.

For physical verification, Philippe announced that ST is actively adopting OpenDFM v2.0, which supports full coverage of ST’s DRM rule family down to 20nm. OpenDFM already is used in their 28nm and upcoming 14nm OpenPDKs, as well as their upcoming release of ST’s Silicon Photonics PDK. ST’s OPS to automated DRC QA regression benchmarked a 20x performance benefit with a full OPS and EDA vendor solution by using OpenDFM.

Philippe then announced that ST fully supports OpenPcells, the newest working group in the OpenPDK Coalition, and that ST expects OpenPcells to deliver much improved productivity, higher quality, and a strong integration with the data contained in OPS.
Philippe’s presentation concluded that it is now a “must-have” for EDA vendors to adopt OPS to enable deployment across the industry with ST foundry partners. Furthermore, ST will ramp up its involvement with the Open3D TAB (which supports 3DIC PDKs and design flows) and the Silicon Photonics TAB (which supports SP-based PDKs and design flows).
The statements and benchmark data from ST above are impressive, and are also backed by IBM’s own statements. To view the full press event in its entirety, please visit Si2’s website (, where you can view streaming videos of the talks as well as download the ST and IBM slide sets.

Finally, I’d like to add that a new version of the OPS standard (v1.2), which adds OpenPcell support, is now in the 60-day review period prior to an anticipated public release in August.

Please contact Si2 for more information on how your company can reap the same kind of productivity and quality benefits ST has proven with OpenPDK!

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