Rapid Timing Constraints Signoff With Automated Constraint Management

Signoff of a system on chip (SoC) or IP design has multiple aspects, but often timing closure is the most challenging. Early use of a static timing analysis (STA) tool is clearly important, and such a tool must be tied closely into the logic synthesis process to make it more likely that the generated gate-level netlist will meet the desired timing. Power, performance, and area (PPA) goals can o... » read more

Why Using Commercial Chiplets Is So Difficult

Experts at the Table: Semiconductor Engineering sat down to discuss use cases and challenges for commercial chiplets with Saif Alam, vice president of engineering at Movellus; Tony Mastroianni, advanced packaging solutions director at Siemens Digital Industries Software; Mark Kuemerle, vice president of technology at Marvell; and Craig Bishop, CTO at Deca Technologies. What follows are excerpts... » read more

Using Virtual Metal Fill To Predict The Impact Of High Level Nets

A recent blog post discussed the use of virtual metal fill (VMF) to predict the effects of real metal fill when performing RC extraction on a chip layout. This enables static timing analysis (STA) closely correlated with final post-fill results without incurring the time to perform the actual metal fill insertion during the layout-STA loop. VMF is fast enough to be run in every iteration of thi... » read more

Demand For Timing Innovation Grows

The semiconductor industry has begun exploring a range of timing options as demand for increased performance and more features exceeds the ability to design chips using the same techniques and technology that have been relied on for decades. Like many elements in computing, timing is a hierarchy or stack. It includes everything from partitioning AI computations into multiple parts and assemb... » read more

Mitigating Voltage Droop

Voltage droop, also known as IR drop, is a phenomenon that occurs when the current in the power delivery network abruptly changes due to workload fluctuations. This can lead to supply voltage drops across system-on-chips (SoCs) which can cause severe performance degradation, limit their energy efficiency, and in extreme cases can cause catastrophic timing failures. To avoid these issues, conven... » read more

Using Virtual Metal Fill To Solve Real Design Problems

People learning about semiconductor manufacturing might well be confused by the concept of metal fill. It seems perfectly intuitive that laying out a complex chip will result in some regions with fewer transistors and metal interconnect than others. It makes sense that there will be areas that are mostly empty. So why spend money on more complicated masks and on extra metal just to fill those e... » read more

Conquer Placement And Clock Tree Challenges In HPC Designs

High-performance computing (HPC) applications require IC designs with maximum performance. However, as process technology advances, achieving high performance has become increasingly challenging. Designers need digital implementation tools and methodologies that can solve the thorny issues in HPC designs, including placement and clock tree challenges. Placement and clock tree synthesis are c... » read more

Challenges In Writing SDC Constraints

Writing design constraints is becoming more difficult as chips become more heterogeneous, and as they are expected to function longer in the field. Timing and power can change over time, and constraints need to be adjusted to that changing context. Synopsys’ Ajay Daga, group director for R&D at Synopsys, talks about the challenges in pushing constraints down to different hierarchical portions... » read more

True 3D-IC Problems

Placing logic on logic may sound like a small step, but several problems must be overcome to make it a reality. True 3D involves wafers stacked on top of each other in a highly integrated manner. This is very different from 2.5D integration, where logic is placed side-by-side, connected by an interposer. And there are some intermediate solutions today where significant memory is stacked on l... » read more

Low-Power IC Design Without Compromise

In the process of creating ICs, the digital implementation stage is focused on meeting the performance, power, and area (PPA) targets defined for the design. Traditionally, when talking about PPA metrics, “performance” has been the primary focus, with power and area recovered where possible, after meeting timing. But as designs have moved to smaller, more advanced process nodes, and as s... » read more

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