OpenAccess-based PyCell Studio and PCell Xtreme provide new level of productivity and efficiency for today's analog and custom chip designers
Ciranova's mission is to develop the first open, interoperable method for custom chip designers to create new and/or migrate legacy analog IP. While IP interoperability and migration have progressed rapidly in the digital domain, analog design has lagged behind from a productivity standpoint due in part to the lack of a universal PCell mechanism. This has made interoperability between multiple vendors' tools and re-targeting IP to new process nodes difficult, and slowed overall development cycles. Ciranova is leveraging the promise of the industry-standard OpenAccess database from the Silicon Integration Initiative (Si2) and the object oriented power of the Python programming language to make PCell interoperability a reality.
"Interoperability offers designers access to best-in-class tools at every stage of the design process," said Dr. Hau-Yung Chen, president of Silicon Canvas. "Ciranova's PCell solution enables design teams to preserve their existing PCell investment as well as offering a next generation PCell creation capability that promotes interoperability."
Developed from the start to be compliant with the OpenAccess API, Ciranova's tools are compatible with any OpenAccess flow. The company has production-tested its products with many EDA tools including tools from Applied Wave Research, Silicon Canvas and Silicon Navigator. (See accompanying announcements) "Our goal is to help analog design catch up with the state of the art in digital design, and the number one challenge in this space is interoperability," said Ed Petrus, chief operating officer and vice president of engineering at Ciranova. "PCells are extremely widespread in analog design, but to date all PCells have been locked to a single vendor. With the advent of a viable OpenAccess database on which the entire industry can base their tools, our vision of enabling truly interoperable analog IP can be achieved. PCells are the mechanism to do that. We made PyCell Studio available for free so that the industry would have a robust, correct-by-construction layout generation technology on which to build next generation ICs. And we have created PCell Xtreme to allow designers to immediately leverage their proprietary PCell infrastructure with their choice of OpenAccess tools from many vendors." The Next-Generation PCell Development Environment: PyCell Studio
PyCell Studio is a suite of tools that allows a designer to generate interoperable OpenAccess PCells, called PyCells, and instantiate them in any OpenAccess environment, including Cadence's Virtuoso layout editor. PyCell Studio offers several highly productive industry-first features. The powerful layout generation API designed for generating sub-100nm integrated circuit layouts is accessed through Python, a modern, open-source, object-oriented programming language. These APIs coupled with the built-in Geometry Engine enable design-rule-correct-by-construction PCell creation. The Geometry Engine comprehends the complexity of today's advanced processes, alleviating developers from having to continuously manage the inter-relationship of complex design rules, including conditional and recommended rules. An integrated graphical layout viewer and modern IDE support interactive authoring and debug, including cross-probing between a layout object and the PyCell code which created it. Together, these capabilities deliver a stand-alone solution for PCell creation, which does not require any additional software.
"We are using PyCell Studio to develop new PDKs for Analog Office," said Tom Quan, vice president of marketing at Applied Wave Research, Inc. "PyCell Studio frees our development team to focus resources on improving the overall design capabilities of Analog Office design suite and enables us to offer our customers higher quality PDKs in a shorter timeframe."
Ciranova released PyCell Studio as a free downloadable product in January 2006, and hundreds of designers in 26 countries have downloaded it to start developing interoperable OpenAccess PCells and layout generators. The company is committed to maintaining PyCell Studio as a free tool, and its business model is based on generating revenues from providing premium commercial support for PyCell Studio, as well as from sales of other products including PCell Xtreme.
PCell Xtreme Extends Proprietary PCells Into Other OpenAccess Tools Ciranova developed PCell Xtreme to enable designers to continue to use their legacy single-vendor infrastructure as they migrate to OpenAccess. PCell Xtreme's patent-pending technology allows OpenAccess tools from multiple vendors - such as layout tools, design rule checkers and analysis tools - to open databases containing SKILL PCells. Because PCell Xtreme caches the PCell layout directly into an OpenAccess database, that layout is always exactly the same when viewed or used by other tools. This 'persistent PCell' approach means not only that PCells can be opened directly by other Open Access tools, but also that the cached database opens 10 times or more faster because the PCells do not need to be evaluated. PCell Xtreme enables users with a legacy single-vendor infrastructure to migrate quickly into multiple OpenAccess tools with minimal effort and risk.
"Persistent PCells have been a top request from members of the OpenAccess Coalition for several years," said Steve Schulz, president & CEO of Si2. "Ciranova has eliminated a major hurdle for companies who want to take full advantage of interoperability using OpenAccess, which has been our goal at Si2 from the very start."
PyCell Studio is available for free download to registered users. It can be used to develop, validate and deploy any number of PyCell libraries, without restriction. The PyCell Studio distributions include everything required to create and release PyCells, including Python, OpenAccess, documentation, tutorials, utilities and sample PyCell code. PyCell Studio is currently supported on 32-bit and 64-bit Linux, Solaris 8 and Solaris 10.
PCell Xtreme will be released during Q4, 2006. Pricing starts at US$4,000 per seat for an annual time based license. Discounted enterprise licensing is also available.
Ciranova is an Electronic Design Automation (EDA) startup company, focused on building an open, interoperable, language-based cell generator technology for custom, analog and mixed signal (AMS) integrated circuit design. Ciranova's technology, which is the only layout generator development environment built from the ground up on the industry standard OpenAccess database from Si2, will bring the integration, productivity and migration benefits of modern language-based design to custom and AMS designers. The company's first product, PyCell Studio, is available as a free download from its web site, www.ciranova.com. The company is headquartered in Santa Clara, California.
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