June 10, 2008 — Synopsys hosted an IC Compiler luncheon on Monday, June 9, at the 45th Design Automation Conference (DAC). The event drew a capacity crowd as guest speakers from Intel, STMicroelectronics, Texas Instruments, Toshiba and ARM shared their experiences from a variety of high-end designs utilizing the latest technology advances in IC Compiler: Concurrent Hierarchical Design, MinChip technology, DFM and the newly announced Zroute.
Rich Goldman, vice president of Corporate Marketing and Strategic Market Development of Synopsys, Inc. caught up with John Chilton, moderator for the event, and Saleem Haider, senior director of marketing for IC Compiler, to get their views on the impact of what the customers had to say.
Rich Goldman: John, how does an event like this fit into overall landscape at DAC?
John Chilton: DAC continues to evolve as a show. Some of our competition is conspicuously missing from the show, yet there is very healthy representation from a broad range of companies. We are showcasing the latest technology advances in our demo suites and drawing strong customer interest. As in years past, the IC Compiler luncheon event has been a big hit. It's great stuff — real users talking about real-life success with our technology. This is DAC at its best.
Rich Goldman: How so? Can you elaborate?
John Chilton: Well, real-life accounts of successful application of advanced technologies are always hugely compelling to customers who want to extrapolate from these experiences to their own situations. In a relatively short span of time at this event, we had five customers deliver some very key messages. STMicroelectronics is seeing huge improvement in die size, 23 – 27%, using MinChip technology. Toshiba has taped out 30 important designs with IC Compiler, more than anybody else. Intel, the largest microprocessor company with the largest volumes, is using IC Compiler to drive DFM. This all adds up to a great event at the trade show.
Rich Goldman: ARM, Intel, STMicroelectronics, Toshiba & Texas Instruments — this is truly a powerhouse round-up of customers. So, what’s the secret to lining up such heavy hitters to share their experiences?
John Chilton:This really speaks to the strength of our technology and Synopsys delivering differentiated value. For example, the Texas Instruments ASIC team, which has deep knowledge of Synopsys as well as competing solutions, reported that the new Zroute technology in IC Compiler was demonstrably "better in every way" across the broad range of designs they threw at the tool. ARM utilized concurrent hierarchical design for multi-core implementation, driving better performance as well as better throughput. STMicroelectronics achieved huge reduction in die-size with MinChip with a runtime of only 4 to 6 hours... I don’t see anyone else delivering this.
Rich Goldman:Saleem, naturally Intel's talk about using IC Compiler to drive improved manufacturability is a powerful endorsement for IC Compiler. How representative is Intel's experience with respect to other IC Compiler customers?
Saleem Haider:There is no doubt that at 45-nm DFM is a pervasive concern. What was really interesting in Intel’s presentation was the clear statement that a) DFM is not about an add-on point tool — it really needs to be addressed throughout the flow, and b) that DFM is not about post-design tweaks — it really needs to be tackled by IC designers, during IC design. At Synopsys, we have long adhered to this view. We have strong support in IC Compiler, which was the basis for Intel's presentation, and we have further improved support with concurrent DFM in the new Zroute technology. The presentation from Texas Instruments included details on the improvements they saw with Zroute.
Rich Goldman:So, how representative is Texas Instruments's Zroute experience vis-à-vis other customers?
Saleem Haider:Steve Croniser from Texas Instruments really gave us an incredible testimonial by saying that across all their tests, Zroute showed to be better in every way — runtime, wire-length, total via-cuts, single via-cuts, worse-negative-slack, as well as total-negative-slack. In addition to Texas Instruments, Zroute is currently in the hands of only a few other customers. They are all seeing excellent results. At this time, I am very optimistic that the technology benefits will scale nicely when we roll out Zroute for general availability in a few months.