DAC is less than two months away… and the phone is starting to ring again…saying “We are doing demos and realize that we are showing Calibre everywhere. Do you want to participate in our demos?” Of course we do
Our approach has always been to make Calibre available in every design tool and on every database. This approach is good for everyone. Designs have to be certified “clean” (more on that in a subsequent post) before they can go to the next stage — be it IP creation and characterization, P&R, chip assembly, or tape-out. The only way to be truly successful in physical verification is to be available everywhere in the flow and in everyone’s design tools. Voila — universal integration. However, this is the product side of the equation — why we work hard to be a great integration partner. However, what’s in it for you?
As usual, the what’s in it for you depends on your perspective. If you are a designer — someone trying to actually lay down polygons and get a chip out the door — the value is that you have one production solution throughout the flow and in every tool. If you are in a big company and your focus is on running DRC and dispositioning the results to those who need to fix them, you get the foundry sign-off deck, run it on the same tool (Calibre) that your foundry does, and look at the results in a viewer using RVE. If your company changes viewers, no problem — RVE still works. If it doesn’t, just talk to your vendor and we’ll be happy to work with them through OpenDoor.
If you are in a small company and have to do everything yourself, the value is higher. When you are adding those “special” standard cells to the library, you just go to the “Calibre” menu and everything works. When you are doing your SP&R, same thing — Calibre menu and go. Need to do incremental verification? No problem, that’s just a click away. Run only the metal checks? No problem, that’s on the select check menu. Now, you go to chip finishing. Pull in the routing layers, the IP, the pad rings, then back to the Calibre menu and RVE again. It is the same interface for running Calibre and for debugging the results at every stage in the development and in each of the tools that you use along the way. For custom design, you can take your pick of Mentor’s ICStation, Virtuoso(r), Laker, Galaxy Custom Designer, or even Tanner or Mentor DESIGNrev. For SP&R, you have a Calibre menu in Olympus, Cadence Encounter, Synopsys IC Compiler, and Magma BlastFusion.
For the designer, having the same interface across the tools is a convenience that enables them to get more work done with least work. For the CAD department, universal integration means lower training and support costs. For the project manager, using the same physical verification tool throughout the flow means fewer (there are always some!) problems at tape-out. This is the value that you get across the organization from Calibre integration. It is a value that is hard to measure and never shows up in a benchmark, but it makes a difference in getting your job done.
If you are using a design tool that isn’t integrated with Calibre at the tool level, let me know …