In parallel with how we work together to advance AI chip design, we also partner with IBM on its mission-critical hybrid cloud strategy. Synopsys is helping IBM prove how effective the hybrid cloud can be for computationally intensive tasks, specifically for complex chip design. We have been working with IBM to run our Proteus tool in hybrid cloud mode and have achieved impressive results.
Proteus is a key tool that chip design companies (including IBM) use to perform optical proximity correction (OPC), a next-generation approach to ensure the manufacturability of very complex chips. As semiconductor geometries continue to shrink — particularly in AI chips, which are now being targeted for 5nm and smaller manufacturing nodes — OPC must execute billions of calculations to address the limitations of traditional photolithography.
IBM and Synopsys have worked together to show how. By using the IBM high-performance computing (HPC) capabilities, we can linearly scale to meet the demands of the most complex and largest chips. Because Proteus runs using a distributed computing architecture, it fits nicely with a hybrid cloud model. There is a head node that manages and tracks the workload and data while dispatching the individual compute jobs to worker nodes. Each worker node receives the data for a small part of the mask, processes the workload, and returns the finished data back to the head node.
Our work has demonstrated that we can handle designs containing up to 11,000 cores with our OPC solution running on IBM’s cloud offering, and do so with performance that is as good if not better than on-premise execution of the designs.
This not only will help IBM researchers and designers as they work on their own AI chips, but will position IBM as a valuable partner for any chip company working at this level of complexity. Enabling EDA workloads in this way creates flexibility in engineering execution during compute demand peaks by providing the ability for key workloads to run in hybrid cloud mode.
We congratulate IBM and our other partners at the AI Hardware Design Center on the progress achieved in the first two years of this program. It’s an ambitious roadmap, and we’re excited that we can play an important role in moving AI technology forward. The words of Mukesh Khare, who runs the AI Hardware Center, at the launch of the program still ring true:
“… we need to build a new class of AI hardware accelerators that increase compute power without the demand for more energy. Additionally, developing new AI chip architectures will enable companies to dynamically run large AI workloads in the hybrid cloud. Synopsys’ unmatched breadth of experience and technical offering is an extremely valuable asset in this effort.”