SAN JOSE, Calif. -- The Interoperable PDK Libraries (IPL) Alliance has gained another new member: Japan's Semiconductor Technology Academic Research Center (STARC).
STARC (Yokohama) has joined the IPL Alliance to adopt IPL's interoperable process design kit (iPDK) standard for analog and mixed-signal designs. STARC has deployed a 90-nm reference iPDK to its member companies. The move will help accelerate the adoption of iPDKs in Japan.
STARC is a research consortium co-founded by major Japanese semiconductor companies. STARC's mission is to develop leading-edge system-on-a-chip (SoC) design technologies. STARC's members are Fujitsu Semiconductor, Panasonic, Renesas Electronics, Rohm, Sanyo Semiconductor, Seiko Epson, Sharp, Sony and Toshiba.
The IPL Alliance continues to gain traction for its iPDK technology--and for good reason. In the past, each foundry had to create specialized PDKs for each and every EDA vendor. This is expensive to maintain for the foundries. In contrast, using IPL's technology, PDK development teams need to only develop a single PDK for each process node, thereby reducing development costs and cycle times.
To enable a standard PDK, the IPL Alliance was started in 2007, with five founding members: AWR, Ciranova, SpringSoft, Silicon Navigator and Synopsys. Mentor Graphics and Pulsic joined as supporting members. The newest members are the following entities: TSMC, Helic, JEDAT, Magma, Micro Magic and Virage Logic. Recently, LFoundry and TowerJazz joined the group.
Recently, the IPL released an ''open standard'' for interoperable process design kits (iPDKs). The standard is called IPL1.0. As part of the standard, IPL rolled out an IPL1.0 reference kit, which consists of an iPDK developer's guide, a sample 90-nm reference iPDK, a reference design and a user guide.
A PDK, as defined by the IPL, is a set of technologies to enable a complete analog and mixed-signal design flow. This consists of foundry-verified data files, such as schematic symbols, component descriptions, parameterized cells (p-cells) and callbacks. The p-cell library is based upon Ciranova's PyCell Studio, built around a programming language called Python.
Based on the OpenAccess database, the technology from the IPL Alliance will continue to evolve over the various process nodes. Then, the Silicon Integration Initiative (Si2) recently said that it is working with the IPL Alliance to extend ''open PDKs'' starting at the 22-nm node.
STARC is the latest member of IPL. STARC, in collaboration with Synopsys, developed the STARC 90-nm mixed signal reference iPDK. Using STARC reference designs, the STARC iPDK has been validated with multiple OpenAccess-based flows including Synopsys' Galaxy Custom Designer solution and is currently in the validation process with additional custom design flows and tools.
The validation process covers a comprehensive set of tests including schematic capture, circuit simulation, layout, auto-routing, physical verification and extraction.