Monterey Design Systems Adds New Functionality Creating Unparallelled Top-Down Hierarchical Solution

SUNNYVALE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Oct. 8, 2001--Monterey Design Systems® today announced version 2.2 of IC Wizard, the hierarchical design planner that drives Monterey's System-Driven Physical Design(TM) solution. With this release, Monterey is the first to provide the full spectrum of capabilities needed to restructure and optimize physical hierarchy. Monterey is also the first to provide a hierarchical global router and port placer that take advantage of visibility through all levels of hierarchy.

"IC Wizard offers the most comprehensive set of hierarchy management functionality today bar none," said Mike Barone, product marketing director at Monterey. "With release 2.2 we are giving our customers hierarchical capabilities that have not been available commercially until now. Previous releases of the product have already been production proven by several leading semiconductor companies. STMicroelectronics was the first to tape out a chip using IC Wizard in September 2000."

Hierarchical Design is More than Just Placing Ports

"When you examine the EDA landscape, you see a number of companies trying to solve yesterday's gate-level problems. This is because many attempts at building a hierarchical solution have started at the gate-level and worked up from there. This approach limits those tools to low-level capabilities such as partitioning gate-level netlists and placing ports," Barone continued. "To design complex chips containing tens of millions of gates requires the ability to operate at higher levels of physical abstraction working with functional blocks rather than individual gates."

A hierarchical physical design flow must start early in the design cycle, pre-RTL, and continue in lock step with the logic design and physical design all the way through final tape out. This top-down hierarchical flow starts with the initial partitioning of the design into sub-systems. Chip-level constraints must be partitioned and allocated to the individual sub-systems. Each sub-system may then be compartmentalized and off-loaded to separate processes for logic synthesis, logic optimization, physical prototyping, and final implementation. During this process, the chip designers must develop a physical hierarchical structure that will meet all constraints and not exceed the capabilities of the physical design tools. When complete, the sub-systems are re-assembled at the top level to complete the design. The hierarchical design planner is responsible for the initial partitioning into sub-systems, the allocation of the constraints to the sub-systems, the management and optimization of the hierarchical structure, and the communication between processes throughout the entire flow.

New Features in IC Wizard Version 2.2

New functionality added to IC Wizard 2.2 includes:

  • Hierarchical global routing and port placement -- A global router that has limited visibility of the hierarchical structure will not be able to find the best routes between components embedded within hierarchical structures. IC Wizard's global router has full visibility through multiple levels of hierarchy. This results in an optimal route and also allows it to find the best position and layer assignments for the ports.
  • Re-structuring -- When dealing with high-performance designs, the user may wish to physically re-locate a logic module from one part of the hierarchy to a completely separate part. Older generation hierarchy managers might allow the user to move a logic module up or down the structure, but they would not allow you to re-locate it to a completely different branch of the tree. IC Wizard gives the user full flexibility to re-configure the hierarchical tree structure for optimal physical implementation. IC Wizard also allows the user to automatically bubble-up all hard blocks, or only selected hard blocks to the top-level.
  • Constraint management -- The design planner must allocate chip-level constraints to individual blocks that may be used to drive the design and implementation of each of the blocks. IC Wizard automatically adjusts the block placement when necessary and supports constraint allocation and re-allocation of timing slack as well. It also allows for adjustments to constraints to accommodate changes made to the physical hierarchy by operations such as those listed above.

Version 2.2 was built on IC Wizard's original powerful foundation of proven functionality, which includes capabilities such as:

  • Automatic block placement and shaping -- Physical hierarchical design requires the ability to place and shape blocks. IC Wizard offers the only production proven block placer available today.
  • Multiple levels of hierarchy -- SOC designs today contain two or more levels of physical hierarchy. IC Wizard supports an unlimited number of levels of physical hierarchy.
  • Traversal -- In order to manage hierarchy, the user must be able to quickly and easily traverse the entire hierarchical structure. IC Wizard uses the "file manager" metaphor to allow users to easily expand and collapse hierarchical structures, then open and view as many structures simultaneously as needed.
  • Clustering -- In most hierarchical designs, it is desirable to cluster together logical modules into larger physical partitions because physical layout tools generally have higher capacities than synthesis tools. IC Wizard allows the user to select and cluster multiple objects together, adding levels of physical hierarchy as needed.
  • Flattening -- Once a design has been clustered into physical partitions and synthesized down to the gate-level, the user will generally flatten all hierarchy within a physical partition. IC Wizard allows the user to automatically flatten down to specified levels, or all the way to the bottom of the tree.

Pricing and Availability

IC Wizard 2.2 is available immediately on all supported platforms. Pricing begins at $124,000 per year (U.S. list price).

About Monterey Design Systems

Monterey Design Systems is the only System-Driven Physical Design solution provider, giving customers the fastest and most advanced System to GDSII approach for deep sub-micron SoC design. The company combines superior technology in design planning, physical prototyping and automated physical implementation to provide a revolutionary physical design flow that begins at the system level and produces a manufacturing ready layout. Leading semiconductor companies have adopted Monterey's innovative products to dramatically increase their design productivity. Pioneering new business models that align financial rewards to its customers' success have attracted customers to the company's patented products. Monterey Design Systems is privately held and backed by leading venture and industrial investors. The company partners with leading EDA companies such as Cadence (NYSE: CDN) to ensure interoperability in ASIC and COT design flows. Monterey Design Systems is located at 894 Ross Drive, Sunnyvale, CA. 94089-1443, tel: 408/747-7370, fax: 408/747-7377,

Note to Editors: Monterey and Monterey Design Systems are registered trademarks and System-Driven Physical Design is a trademark of Monterey Design Systems. All other trademarks and registered trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

     Monterey Design Systems, Sunnyvale
     Cedric Iwashina, 408/548-4910
Email Contact
     Lee Public Relations
     Barbara Marker, 650/363-0142
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