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 EDACafe Editorial
Roberto Frazzoli
Roberto Frazzoli
Roberto Frazzoli is a contributing editor to EDACafe. His interests as a technology journalist focus on the semiconductor ecosystem in all its aspects. Roberto started covering electronics in 1987. His weekly contribution to EDACafe started in early 2019.

Altair acquires Metrics; new Siemens solutions for simulation and 3D ICs; Silicon Catalyst Ventures; Nokia to acquire Infinera

July 4th, 2024 by Roberto Frazzoli

Google’s fifth generation Tensor G5 chip, to be installed in the next-generation smartphone Pixel 10 series, will reportedly be produced through TSMC’s 3-nanometer foundry process. If confirmed, this move will mark a shift from Google’s fourth generation Tensor G4 chip, whose productions has been entrusted to Samsung Foundry. Let’s now move to this week’s news roundup, which includes a couple of notable acquisitions.

Altair acquires Metrics, cloud-based EDA company led by Joe Costello

Metrics, a Canadian EDA company whose executive chairman is EDA veteran Joe Costello, has been acquired by Altair. Metrics has an innovative “simulation as a service” (SaaS) business model for semiconductor electronic functional simulation and design verification. According to the two companies, the Metrics digital simulator DSim, when combined with Altair’s Silicon Debug Tools, will deliver an advanced simulation environment with superior simulation and debug capabilities. The Altair-Metrics solution can run as a desktop app, on customers’ own servers, or in the cloud. Additionally, it can run very large regressions with the customer paying only for what they use. The solution supports System Verilog and VHDL RTL for digital circuits targeting ASICs and FPGAs. According to the companies, simulations can be run concurrently and at scale, removing massive amounts of time and costs from the traditional design cycle. DSim will be available through Altair One, Altair’s cloud gateway, where it will also be available for desktop download. “Customers now have a choice in design verification,” stated Altair’s CEO James R. Scapa in a press release.

New Siemens simulation suite

Siemens Digital Industries Software has introduced Solido Sim software, an integrated suite of AI-accelerated simulators. Built on the foundation of Siemens’ Analog FastSPICE (AFS) platform, Solido Sim incorporates three new simulators: Solido SPICE software, Solido FastSPICE software and Solido LibSPICE software, as well as Siemens’ AFS platform, ELDO software and Symphony software. Powering all three of these new solvers is Solido Sim AI – the latest version of Siemens’ AI-accelerated simulation technology.

Siemens’ multiphysics cockpit for 3D IC design, verification and manufacturing

Siemens Digital Industries Software has announced Innovator3D IC, new software for the planning and heterogeneous integration of ASICs and chiplets using advanced packaging 2.5D & 3D technologies and substrates. Siemens’ Innovator3D IC provides a consolidated cockpit for constructing a digital twin — featuring a unified data model for design planning, prototyping and predictive analysis — of the complete semiconductor package assembly. This cockpit drives implementation, multi-physics analysis, mechanical design, test, signoff, and release to manufacturing.

Entegris to get CHIPS Act funding

Entegris and the U.S. Department of Commerce have signed a non-binding Preliminary Memorandum of Terms for up to $75 million in proposed direct funding to Entegris under the CHIPS and Science Act. This funding would support the development of a state-of-the-art facility in Colorado Springs. Upon completion, the facility will increase production capabilities for Front-Opening-Unified Pods (FOUPs), carriers that transport and protect silicon wafers during the semiconductor manufacturing process, as well as advanced liquid filtration and purification products.

Silicon Catalyst launches a venture capital branch

Startup incubator Silicon Catalyst has launched Silicon Catalyst Ventures (SCV), a newly formed Delaware Series LLC that is deploying US$10M to US$20M this year for its first series and is focused on investing in early-stage entrepreneurial teams developing transformative semiconductor-based innovations. SCV has been formed primarily, but not exclusively, to fund and foster Silicon Catalyst Portfolio Companies.

Harmony operating system keeps growing

According to market research firm Counterpoint Research, the share of smartphones powered by Huawei’s Harmony operating system continued to grow in Q1 2024, reaching a 4% share globally. The Huawei OS overtook Apple’s iOS in China for the first time, and 5G adoption for Harmony reached 50% for the quarter, up from 9% in Q1 2023. It is expected to grow further as Huawei focuses on supply chain localization. The open-source version of the operating system, called OpenHarmony, is managed by the Chinese OpenAtom Foundation. An OpenHarmony Developer Conference was recently held in Shenzen.

“Open-washing” for generative AI models

A research team from Radboud University (Holland) surveyed 45 generative AI models (text and text-to-image) that bill themselves as “open”. The researchers found that corporations like Meta, Microsoft and Mistral strategically co-opt terms like “open” and “open source” while in fact shielding their models almost entirely from scientific and regulatory scrutiny. There is frequent use of terms like “open” and “open source” for marketing purposes without actually providing meaningful insight into source code, training data, fine-tuning data or architecture of systems. The widespread practice of “open-washing” is a concern in Europe because the European Union “AI Act” provides special exemptions for “open source” models, but doesn’t offer a clear definition of the term. The researchers therefore call for clarity about what constitutes openness when it comes to generative AI.


GlobalFoundries has acquired Tagore Technology’s Power Gallium Nitride IP portfolio. As a part of the acquisition, a team of experienced engineers from Tagore, dedicated to the development of GaN technology, will be joining GF. Founded in 2011, Tagore Technology is a fabless semiconductor company with design centers in Arlington Heights, Illinois, USA, and Kolkata, India.

Nokia will acquire San Jose-based Infinera – a supplier of optical networking solutions and optical semiconductors – in a transaction valuing the company US$ 2.3 billion. With this acquisition, Nokia expects to strengthen its technology leadership in optical networks and increase exposure to Internet content providers. Among the benefits that Nokia expects from the merger, a 75% increase of Nokia’s Optical Networks business; an expanded DSP development team; expertise across silicon photonics, indium phosphide-based semiconductors, and photonic ICs; and gaining scale in North America optical market. According to Reuters, the move will enable Nokia to benefit from the AI investments pouring into data centers. Reportedly, the deal would help Nokia to leapfrog Ciena and become the second largest vendor in the optical networking market with a 20% share, behind Huawei which is benefiting from the minimal presence of Western companies in China.

Onsemi has completed the acquisition of SWIR Vision Systems, a provider of CQD (colloidal quantum-dot-based) short wavelength infrared (SWIR) technology – a technology that extends the detectable light spectrum to see through objects and capture images that were not previously possible. According to Onsemi, to date SWIR technology has been limited in adoption due to the high cost and manufacturing complexity of the traditional indium gallium arsenide process. With this acquisition, Onsemi will combine its silicon-based CMOS sensors and manufacturing expertise with the CQD technology, aiming to deliver highly integrated SWIR sensors at lower cost and higher volume.

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