DAC & DFM – Once More, with Feeling

Prasad SubramanianMagma and Mentor Graphics.

Prashant ManiarMentor Graphics, PDF Solutions, Synopsys, Clear Shape, and of course, Stratosphere Solutions.

Srini Raghvendra – We (Synopsys) are an important part of the DFM ecosystem for several IDMs, foundries, and fabless companies.

Sudhakar Jilla – Mentor, Synopsys, Clear Shape.

Tom Wong Takumi Technology – products are deployed into manufacturing at major semiconductor companies. Blaze DFM – coined the phrase electrical DFM. Clear Shape – publicized the phrase “contour-based” simulation. Being a big name is about customers actually paying for the tools and actually using them in production. It is not about getting designed into a flow for MarCom promotion.

Yervant Zorian & Ken Potts – Mentor Graphics (OPC), Clear Shape (layout/backend optimization), PDF Solutions (test chips), and Virage Logic (physical IP optimized for DFM).


10) Will the large vendors in EDA let small vendors in DFM thrive, or will they just buy them?

Atul Sharan – I will be curious to see the large EDA vendors answer your question.

Chenmin Hu – DFM goes far beyond EDA applications. Quite a few DFM start-ups have founders with manufacturing and equipment backgrounds. We expect to see more acquisitions, not only by the large EDA vendors, but also major equipment companies when the market picks up. There are still possibilities for small venders in DFM to thrive.

Dave Holt – The answer is not an "or" answer. It's an "AND" answer. The large vendors will let them thrive by letting the shakeout happen, and then they will buy the winners/survivors.

Dave Reed – Recently, some DFM companies have been acquired, or have tried to position themselves to be acquired, by large EDA vendors. Others have been bought by equipment manufacturers. Here at Blaze, we believe that there is a desperate need for a pure-play DFM company – one that understands both design and manufacturing and how to leverage that multi-disciplinary expertise to drive design requirements into manufacturing and bring manufacturing awareness into design.

Gary Smith – There is room for one large independent DFM vendor. The rest will come from the Big 4.

Joe Sawicki – Mentor develops more of its own technology and invests more in DFM R&D than its major EDA competitors, and we have a much larger R&D effort than DFM start-ups.

John Lee – The small vendors will either be acquired (look at who's not on the list in Question #9), or disappear.

Kamal Aggarwal – One cannot predict the future, but EDA history tells us that the industry is acquisition intensive and there is high likelihood of successful vendors getting acquired by large vendors.

Mitch Heins – Large EDA vendors will continue their tactics in the areas they perceive to be core competencies, and will react by buying DFM start-ups to the extent they prove a lynchpin technology with revenue from major accounts for which they compete for market share.

Prasad Subramanian – I believe they will buy them, for the same reason as in #8. DFM needs to be an integral part of the design flow and not an afterthought.
Prashant Maniar – This totally depends on what the small and large vendor is focused on. If the small vendor is building incremental innovation, then they will not survive. If the small vendor is focused on disruptive technologies (that fit well into the design flow …) and can build a sizeable market footprint, then they will thrive.

Rob Aitken – Because of the data delivery issues, the question is not entirely up to the large EDA vendors. The fabs also have a say.

Sudhakar Jilla – Big company strategies might be dictated by business and technical reasons rather than a technical issue. If they don't have something that the customers need, they will either develop it or buy it ready-made.

Tom Wong – Today, the market is fragmented. Neither the big nor the small guys have the entire DFM solution. They have to work together to move the industry forward. I think they will co-exist for sometime. Takumi has layout optimization for yield enhancement, automatic hot-spot repair for full chip and library layouts. Mentor has LFD, a detection tool for CAA and litho, but no correction capability. Clear Shape has InShape, another full chip litho hot-spot analysis tool; but no correction capability. Blaze DFM has electrical DFM tool, but relies on OPC tool to perform the layout changes. Both big and small players are trying to come up with products that address various segments of the DFM market. Ultimately, it is a question of having a viable product that solves a real customer problem and has a place in customers' DFM flows. This establishes the value of such a product. If that happens to come from a small EDA vendor, that vendor is a clear target for acquisition. This has been the EDA eco-system for the last 20 years. There are clearly a few small EDA players with promising DFM products, and it is just a matter of time before they will be seen as "success" from both revenue and market position points of view.

Yervant Zorian & Ken Potts – They will likely let the EDA DFM tools provider thrive until the market matures and then consolidation and M&A activity will occur.


11) How large is the DFM market? A quantitative answer, please, not a qualitative one.

Atul Sharan – Joe Sawicki of Mentor predicted the total DFM market would be a $1.5 billion market in the next few years. We are with him on this one and even if he is 50% right, it constitutes a huge opportunity!

Chenmin Hu – It depends how you define the DFM market. The total market most likely is around $300-400 million. That’s $200 million from the manufacturing side and $100-200 million from the design side.

Dave Reed – For the semiconductor industry, parametric yield loss can conservatively be measured at $10 billion per year. By whatever amount DFM solutions can reduce that loss, that is the size of the electrical DFM market.

Gary Smith – We are just finalizing out survey, but it should come in between $150 million and $180 million.

Joe Sawicki – From the EDAC database:


DRC: $223.5 million 
Extraction: $90.6 million
Subtotal: $314.1 million

RET: $137.4 million 
Mask Data Prep: $36.8 million
Subtotal: $174.2 million 

Kamal Aggarwal – Our estimate, based upon secondary sources, is that the post-layout DFM market including RET and MDP tools is close to $200 million. We don’t have estimates for the pre-tapeout DFM tools market.

Michael Buehler-Garcia – Sorry, but the DFM market is too fractured, and as per the questions above, needs to link other flows to provide a single TAM number for DFM.

Mitch Heins – Old DFM market estimated between $300-500 million. New DFM market has the potential to reach a billion dollars (subject to new business models) if you reach both up and down the design and manufacturing chain.

Prasad Subramanian – I’m guessing it is less than $100 million.

Prashant Maniar – $250 million to $400 million, depending on what you lump into it.

Sudhakar Jilla – $200 million to $500 million, based on how you slice and dice it.


12) Why is everybody from the EDA vendors, to the press, to the tools users, fabs, fabless, and IDM guys so hot and bothered by DFM?

Atul Sharan – Because the PROBLEMS are REAL and the laws of PHYSICS are REAL. Variation due to lithography is real.

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