Monterey Design Systems has decided to merge with Aristo Technology. The merged company intends to tightly link Aristo's IC Wizard, a block-based design planning and chip assembly tool, with Monterey's Sonar and Dolphin physical design tools.
The two companies declined to reveal terms and are proclaiming a "merger" rather than an "acquisition." But Monterey, with roughly 100 employees, is about twice Aristo's size, and Monterey is far ahead in terms of venture capital funding with some $56 million to date.
Monterey will be the surviving name and Jacques Benkoski, Monterey president and CEO, will continue in that position.
Benkoski said the merger plan arose when Monterey and Aristo were talking to joint customers and looking for ways to merge the two companies' technologies into a single hierarchical design flow. "We realised it was better to do this together rather than separately," said Benkoski.
Simon Bloch, Aristo founder and CEO, said the two companies together will create an advanced physical design solution. "I don't believe there's any other hierarchical physical design solution of this calibre in the marketplace," he said.
Both Benkoski and Bloch, however, were quick to note that Monterey will continue to support customers who are using IC Wizard with Cadence Design Systems or Avanti place-and-route tools. Bloch will become an executive vice-president at Monterey.
IC Wizard is a design planning tool that can be used before RTL coding to create a preliminary floorplan. Designers can keep updating the floorplan, and can use IC Wizard's global routing as part of the placement and routing process.
While IC Wizard is a "creation" tool, Monterey's Sonar design planner is more of an "analysis" tool, Benkoski said. Sonar examines designs to see if they can be constructed with Monterey's Dolphin placement and routing system.
"Synergy with IC Wizard is one of the most important parts of this merger," said Benkoski. "It will allow people to sign off early, knowing that a design can be built."
Typically, Benkoski said, designers will use IC Wizard to assemble blocks, and use Sonar to analyse each individual block. Sonar can run some top-level analysis as well, but the two tools are entirely complimentary, said Benkoski.
IC Wizard will remain a separate tool. Right now, said Benkoski, IC Wizard is already linked to Sonar and Dolphin through standard file formats. Monterey plans to provide a much deeper integration within the next few months.
Joint customers of the two EDA startups include ATI, Broadcom, Fujitsu, Infineon, LSI Logic, NEC, NVidia, ST Microelectronics and Texas Instruments. The Aristo-Monterey merger is expected to be complete in four to six weeks, and Aristo personnel will move into Monterey's headquarters in Sunnyvale, California.
Richard Goering is managing editor, design automation for US sister newspaper EETimes.