MADISON, Wis. — Big data? Everyone’s doing it. It shows up now in biotech, finance, agriculture, education and transportation. Industries are letting it reshape the very nature of their business.
But what about semiconductors?
IC Manage Inc., a provider of design data and IP management software for chip companies, announced Wednesday (Dec. 13) the launch of its Big Data Labs.
Dean Drako, IC Manage CEO, described Big Data Labs as a “platform” on which his company hopes to “develop and customize new big-data-based design analytic tools” for customers.
In the big-data era, semiconductor companies are already designing ICs that go into data centers. The question, though, is if these chip designers use big data themselves. They already have tons of raw data — spit out by different EDA vendors’ tools.
But have electronics designers figured out a way to optimize and accelerate their chips with big data?
The simple answer is “not yet.”
Certainly, the semiconductor industry has been using data management software for several years. IC Manage has been offering tools to “keep large amounts of data safe and get it neatly organized so that it makes data accessible to others,” explained Laurie Balch, a chief analyst with Gary Smith EDA.
But as for the analytical tools that might enable IC designers to apply this data to intelligent decisions, “We are at a point, it’s only now that it’s become feasible,” Balch told us.
IC Manage isn’t a traditional EDA vendor. It makes no conventional EDA tools such as simulation, synthesis, or layout. Instead, the company’s specialty is in “EDA enterprise tools,” explained Balch. Describing it as “a company with a stronghold in the IC design database market,” she called IC Manage “the industry leader, by a long shot.”
At a time when “electronics design is known for a huge amount of data it’s creating,” she observed that chip vendors are wrestling with increasingly voluminous data. IC Manage might just become the first company to come up with a solution.
Big data, by definition, consists of large unstructured data, explained Drako.
He acknowledged that the world of electronics design is already seeing a huge spike in unstructured data — coming independently from various tools designed by different EDA companies.
Most IC designers, however, aren’t equipped to absorb all this stuff, let alone make sense of it. It’s time-consuming and resource-intensive to do so.
Connecting the dots between such independent sets of data across tools and vendors is no easy feat, said Drako.
Furthermore, “there are only limited industry and company expertise and resources available” that can quickly derive actionable insights and create management options with implementation details, he added.
This is where IC Manage hopes to come in.
Drako explained that IC Manage has overlaid unstructured data on top of the organized design data. “By merging unstructured data (such as verification log files) and structured data (electronics design data), we are offering a hybrid database,” said Drako, which chip companies can use for running high-performance advanced EDA analytics.
How IC Manage creates a hybrid database. (Source: IC Manage)
The result that IC Manage hopes to achieve is a platform offering visual analytics that will help users create interactive reports.
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