WEISBADEN, Germany — European technology development has always been a strong factor in the economies of the region, where the ability to create high-margin goods is vital to competitiveness. In the area of IC and system-on-chip (SoC) design and development, cooperative innovation is driving European industry forward.
One new avenue for cooperative development is an arrangement between CEA-Leti (Grenoble, France), the storied French research institute, and Mentor, a Siemens business, to let small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and startups access the Mentor Veloce emulator that was installed at Leti in 2013. Use of the high-capacity, high-speed, multi-application tool for emulation of SoC designs will enable regional organizations to develop complex digital circuits more efficiently by enabling early-stage design debug, along with upstream validation, according to Leti. Allowing startups to use such tools will foment advances by speeding the design cycle and proliferating emulation-based verification methodology among a wider population of developers.
Caroline Arnaud, head of Leti’s Platform and Design Center Department, spoke with EE Times about the service and what it could mean for European IC development. “The goal is to have new industrial partnerships synced with the emulation platform for the architecture and design of R&D projects,” Arnaud said. “It’s our goal, along with Mentor, to test their tools and their platform, and to show potential customers the value of simulations.”
Leti is dedicating one of its three emulators to the effort and will offer support along with access, Arnaud said. “We have strong experience using Veloce for more than five years now. We have experts. We’ve used [Veloce] for different projects on our side, using the software tools to validate. We plan to propose contracts to address R&D collaboration; we welcome and can host engineers from the companies involved to work together with our experts.”
As to the types of organizations the effort intends to engage, “there are different targets for us,” Arnaud said. “First of all, it’s for startups and small and medium companies that don’t have the opportunity to buy this type of platform, because it’s a major investment.”
Another target is “big companies that have limited capacity,” said Arnaud. “They already have emulation platforms that achieve some of their chief outcomes, but they don’t have enough capacity to emulate on the cheap, so we can offer them this opportunity. These companies can work out the emulation configuration with our experts, because when our customers send us their files, the first thing we have to do is [determine] if everything’s OK. We could also provide support on the optimization of the design before sending it into emulation.”
The new effort is not focused on a specific market or markets, Arnaud said, but “is open to work with every type of company, every market. The first thing we do is try to first to answer [everything] about the project that we can, with a high-level of quality of service, because it’s important, and then we would like to improve the methodology. The goal is for our ecosystem to have the best-quality validation and verification, to improve the time to market for [a development partner’s] project.”
— Alix Paultre is a European correspondent for EE Times.