December 11, 2006
Model Based Approach to DFM – Clear Shape Technologies
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Jack Horgan - Contributing Editor


by Jack Horgan - Contributing Editor
Posted anew every four weeks or so, the EDA WEEKLY delivers to its readers information concerning the latest happenings in the EDA industry, covering vendors, products, finances and new developments. Frequently, feature articles on selected public or private EDA companies are presented. Brought to you by EDACafe.com. If we miss a story or subject that you feel deserves to be included, or you just want to suggest a future topic, please contact us! Questions? Feedback? Click here. Thank you!


So you are saying that prospects have already committed dollars to multiyear contract to address what was and may still remain a problem and therefore don't have money left.

They have money left.  I want to speak a little bit about the fact that DFM is a little unique on the design side.  Not only committed but when the companies a re competing not on technology that would solve some of the future problems but that are competing on the structure and the transactions of these arrangements.  However what we have seen recently which is why we are doing as well as we are is companies are starting to create separate buckets or budgets for DFM.  They recognize that these are problems and that these solutions are not available within their current structure.  I was speaking more of the macro environment where the EDA companies in my opinion are not getting their value for the complex solutions they provide even for current problems.  It just makes it a little challenging.

Like I said for DFM people recognize this is not replacing an existing tool.  It
is actually in most instances making their existing tools work better.  They are starting to create separate budgets for these kinds of tools.

Do you have a vision of where Clear Shape is going in terms of product direction over the next few years?

Yeah, we do.  We obviously have a plan but at this point we are not talking about that.  Clearly we are developing technology that is the two products I have talked about.  Of course we are leveraging what we have done.

Ca I make one point I the design side?  We have found over the last 12 to 18 months and it is also relevant to your question on the foundry that designers increasing on the electrical side are forced to tackle variation issues across the board.  They have to add more margin on extraction, on the library, on SPICE models and of course when they are doing timing closure.  Fundamentally what OutPerforms allows them to do is silicon accurate design and then to review these margins.  That leads directly to getting the maximum out of your technology.   Margins were traditionally a way of addressing random variation.  A lot of lithography issues I talked about are what are called
systematic variations that are patterns dependent.  If you try to use the previous methods like margining and other things more suited for random variations, you end up giving up too much performance and area.

I'm out of questions.

Who do you think of DFM?

I come from an environment where from 50,000 feet the earlier you can detect and avoid a problem the better off you are.  Waiting until the design is done and hoping that changes in manufacturing will improve things is not intellectually satisfying.

I think that is probably a better summary of what we are doing than I gave.

Proliferating more and more rules addresses but does not solve the problem.  It just creates more and more margins.  It works but leaves a lot on the table.

I think that is right on.  In fact a tool like InShape would stymie the need to continue to create these rules.  You can always create patterns.  The model ultimately has a different number of rules.  I think people are seeing that potential.  Moving from a rule based methodology
to a model based approach is what we recognized needed to be done.  But it had to be done in a manner that would be fast enough not only to be used on the design side but to be integrated into routing and things like that even placement.

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-- Jack Horgan, EDACafe.com Contributing Editor.


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