1:1 with Sassine Ghazi

Michael Jackson

Spotlight on Fusion Compiler, Design Compiler NXT, and the Fusion Design Platform

We sat down with Sassine Ghazi, co-general manager of the Design Group at Synopsys, to learn more about the recently announced Fusion Compiler, Design Compiler NXT, and Fusion Design Platform, and how the design community is embracing Synopsys’ innovative digital design environment.

Q: Congratulations on the recent announcements. What has driven these innovations?

Sassine Ghazi:

Well, strong semiconductor market drivers like autonomous driving, 5G wireless, and the adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) are pushing for larger, faster, and more energy-efficient SoCs. These next-generation, market-shaping products are demanding new innovations in EDA tools and flows, and require superior design productivity and quality-of-results.

Synopsys’ digital design tools have maintained market leadership for decades by enabling our customers to achieve the highest productivity while optimizing for best power, performance, area, and yield. As process nodes continue to advance, the device physics, yield, power, and timing performance are becoming increasingly closely related. This has moved us to think about IC design holistically, by blurring the boundaries and traditional handoffs between the various design stages and tools to enable a more optimized and integrated flow.

Q: How is the new Fusion Design Platform different, and what benefits does it bring to users?

Sassine Ghazi:

The Fusion Design Platform is the industry’s first AI-enhanced, cloud-ready design platform with Fusion Technology that delivers unprecedented full-flow quality-of-results and time-to-results. It is built from Synopsys’ market-leading, massively-parallel digital design tools, and augmented with innovative capabilities to tackle the escalating challenges in cloud computing, automotive, mobile, and IoT market segments.

The Fusion Design Platform redefines conventional EDA tool boundaries and transforms the design flow by sharing algorithms between several products and technologies to eliminate iterations while delivering the industry's best full-flow power, performance, and area. The fusion of best-in-class synthesis and place-and-route optimization with industry golden-signoff and design-for-test tools enables the most predictable full-flow convergence with the fewest iterations.

The Fusion Design Platform also leverages machine learning to enable additional quality-of-results and time-to-results gains by speeding up computation-intensive analyses, predicting outcomes to improve decision-making, and leveraging past learning to drive better results. In addition, a streamlined cloud-ready design environment is enabled on major public cloud providers, as well as Synopsys-hosted infrastructures.

Using the Fusion Design Platform, SoC design teams can now achieve new levels of productivity, and accelerate the next wave of semiconductor design innovation.

Q: Can you provide a quick description of Design Compiler NXT and Fusion Compiler?

Sassine Ghazi:

Design Compiler NXT builds on our Design Compiler franchise to enable synthesis below the 5-nanometer process node. Design Compiler NXT delivers faster runtimes, best-in-class correlation to IC Compiler II, and raises the quality-of-results bar even higher than what Design Compiler has already set for the industry.

I think Fusion Compiler is the new frontier for synthesis and place-and-route. It is a unique, single product that offers a bidirectional margin-less design flow to achieve the highest power, performance, and area. It is the first vertically integrated RTL-to-GDSII solution with shared engines on a common data model that delivers a fully-correlated and convergent flow.

Q: What does Design Compiler NXT provide? Is it compatible with Design Compiler Graphical?

Sassine Ghazi:

As you know, the Design Compiler product family has been the industry leader for more than 30 years, and has delivered the greatest synthesis innovations in areas such as test, power, data-path, and physical synthesis. Design Compiler NXT is the result of a multi-year investment to develop a next-generation synthesis tool.

It builds on our leadership position with innovations that include fast and impactful optimization engines, cloud-ready distributed synthesis, more accurate RC estimation, and new capabilities to support 5-nanometer-and-below process nodes. These technologies enable 2X faster runtime, 5 percent better quality-of-results, and improved correlation with IC Compiler II.

And yes, it is 100 percent compatible with Design Compiler Graphical scripts and UI, and delivers significant new capabilities with a seamless, no-bridge-crossing upgrade from existing design flows.

Q: The announcement claims that Fusion Compiler enables a new era of digital design. Can you elaborate on that?

Sassine Ghazi:

Fusion Compiler is the industry’s only RTL-to-GDSII product that is architected with a single, scalable data-model, best-in-class optimization engines shared across synthesis and place-and-route, and an analysis backbone based on the industry’s golden signoff tools. We have fused together best-in-class synthesis and signoff technologies with our leading place-and-route technology. This single cockpit approach offers unmatched quality-of-results and faster throughput to address the challenges presented by the industry's most advanced designs.

Technologies previously used only in place-and-route can now be applied during synthesis, and vice versa, scaling new heights in timing, power, and area optimization. In addition, having a predictable flow from synthesis to signoff further reduces design iterations, ensuring that teams can meet their aggressive product delivery schedules.

After the first successful tapeouts, early adopters are now engaged in broadly deploying Fusion Compiler on their most advanced designs. Fusion Compiler offers them a single, unified RTL-to-GDSII optimization framework delivering a predictable flow with up to 20 percent better quality-of-results and 2X faster throughput.

Q: How have customers, and the industry in general, responded to the new products?

Sassine Ghazi:

I am really thrilled by the overall industry reaction, and the positive response from semiconductor companies. In fact, our market-leading customers and early adopters have already taped out some very challenging designs with our new offerings, realizing significant timing and power improvements. It is gratifying to see the compelling results achieved by these design teams, who are now experiencing fewer design iterations, eliminating ECO loops, and improving their quality-of-results and schedule goals.

In addition, we recently won two 2018 World Electronics Achievement (WEA) product-of-the-year awards for Fusion Technology in the EDA/IP category and Synopsys' Artificial Intelligence Solution in the Software/Tool category. These awards are testaments to the proven success of these game-changing innovations, and our continued collaboration with SoC innovators and market leaders.

Thank you, Sassine. Any closing remarks?

Sassine Ghazi:

Well, I’d like to emphasize that I am really excited to bring to fruition our multi-year technology investment, and offer the innovative Fusion Design Platform, Design Compiler NXT, and Fusion Compiler solutions to help IC designers achieve new levels of productivity and end-product differentiation. I believe Synopsys is truly ushering the industry into a new era of semiconductor design transformation.