LONDON – Gold Standard Simulations Ltd., a spin-off from the University
of Glasgow, has been set up to help chip designers model how circuits
made from variable and unreliable nanoscale transistors will perform.
atomic-scale variability are known to be issues as the minimum
dimensions of circuits head below 20-nm and creating design rules for
the worst case is no longer appropriate. Trying to avoid variability
means that the number of design rules explodes exponentially and
guard-bands effectively put a stop to miniaturization. However,
variations in structure can result in variable and unreliable
performance – affecting circuit performance and yield.
consequence is that designers need to take statistical variability into
account when designing circuits and supporting this is the charter Gold
Standard Simulations (GSS) has set for itself.
The company was
created by Professor Asen Asenov (shown), who holds the James Watt Chair in
Electrical Engineering at the College of Science and Technology at
Glasgow University. Professor Asenov is serving the company as CEO.
"GSS is offering a world-leading
simulation service to chip developers and manufacturers. The University
of Glasgow is at the forefront of this technology," said Professor
Asenov, in a statement.
The company's executives are three
PhD graduates: Campbell Millar, Gareth Roy and Dave Reid. Reid is an
expert in software development methods and statistical circuit
simulation and is the primary developer of the GSS RandomSPICE software
and provides compact modeling services within the company. The company
will also offer courses in statistical variability on how to design
variability-resistant and reliable devices and circuits.
The company, which is based at the
university, is subcontracted to provide simulation services for the
MODERN (MOdeling and DEsign of Reliable, process variation-aware
Nanoelectronic devices, circuits and systems) project – a €26 million
(about $33 million) European collaborative research project looking at
how to design computer chips.
Professor Asenov is leading the
University of Glasgow’s involvement in the project which is worth £1.5
million (about $2.3 million) to the university and comprises 28 European
Intellectual property partner
Carina Healy of law firm Dundas & Wilson advised on the
establishment of GSS, the structure of the spin-out; the corporate
documentation; the intellectual property licensing and research
arrangements; and the funding agreements with partner Scottish
Enterprise.No details were given of how much funding GSS is receiving.
She said: "Setting up Gold Standard
Simulations Ltd. is an important step in commercializing the
world-leading expertise at Glasgow University in device modeling. It
shows that there is funding available for good spin out company
opportunities even in the current economic environment."
Related links and articles:
CMOS statistical variability: The skeleton in the closet
Glasgow Uni, Intel team up as part of EC memories taskforce
IBM warns of 'design rule explosion' beyond 22-nm