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Rhines: India plays key role in Mentor's overall operations

Posted: 30 Jan 2014     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:EDA  emulation  20nm  double patterning  ESL 

During a recent visit to India, Walden C. Rhines, Chairman and CEO of Mentor Graphics, spoke with Arti Singh of EE Times India about the EDA industry and design trends, small form factor, his company's current activities in India as well as upcoming plans.

EE Times India: What are the current design trends driving EDA industry today, and challenges associated with these trends? Would you like to highlight EDA trends specific to the Indian market?

Walden Rhines: Currently, the biggest trend in EDA is the increasing use of emulation, as chips have gotten too complex to totally verify with simulation. So, emulation has become probably the fastest growing area in EDA. It's a fundamental shift, and now the combination of both simulation and emulation is required to do large digital chips. Second trend is the move to sub-20nm processes and all of the associated new technologies that are required in all design of those and it includes design from liabilities, it includes the colouring technologies associated with double patterning and double etching, it also enhances the need for third trend which is embedded software development, which has become a bigger and bigger issue for EDA; and there are more things like low power design, ESL, and more. But emulation, sub-20nm, and embedded software development are probably the three biggest trends.

For EDA companies, the big challenge is developing emulation hardware because that's a hardware-software product and EDA companies traditionally only develop software product so that's a challenge. But, Mentor has been engaged in years now for about 25 years, so this is not new to us. The challenge is in deep sub micron include developing tools that can allow designers to design in an environment of double patterning, which is a new technology, and EDA industry is developing tools for design-for-reliability. And, lastly the development of embedded software development tools is then a long process, and Mentor has been in that market for now about 15 years. Other EDA companies haven't begun that development today, but I'm sure they will.

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Rhines: Our India engineers are involved in every business.

In general, EDA software is developed by U.S. based companies; about 95 per cent of the market is U.S.-based. But a large share of that development is done in India. And Mentor, Cadence, and Synopsys all have large R&D operations here in India, mostly in Noida. So, much of the innovation for Mentor's product particularly emulation and simulation is conceived and executed in India.

EE Times India: The chip manufacturing industry is moving towards small process nodes, what kind of role EDA firms play in achieving this?

Rhines: We design for 20nm and below until the tools are available. So, each EDA company has to enhance their physical design tools to take into account these new physical phenomena. So, one of them is double patterning and that requires enhancements to build the place and route tools as well as to the physical verification tools. Another challenge is that if your sub-20nm that means that the complexity of your chips is increased, so it increases the verification part, which is why EDA companies will have to develop or acquire emulation capability. And, the third thing is that if you are doing chips at sub-20nm they probably are SoCs (system-on-chips), which means they have embedded software, and embedded software has to be verified with the hardware. So, that requires EDA companies to develop tools that can do embedded hardware and software co-verification.

EE Times India: What's your take on India's National Policy on Electronics? Will the chip fab setups in India change the dynamics of the EDA industry?

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