What it is and why we feel it is important
Today, the basic design components for custom-IC design are delivered in the form of design kits. These kits are intimately intertwined with the targeted EDA tool and underlying semiconductor process technology. Thus, foundries and/or vendors must develop and qualify new propriety kits for each and every process technology. As a result, we see slow availability, non-interoperable design kits and associated design data, and complicated custom-design methodologies. This represents a serious bottleneck for everyone in the industry; a bottleneck that will exponentially narrow as processes technologies become more complex.
Addressing the Bottleneck
"PDKs are the most fundamental set of design data used in every integrated circuit design," explained Dr. Sumit DasGupta, Sr. vice-president of engineering for Si2.
"The need to express and validate the same information redundantly for every combination of tool and foundry, as is the practice today, is impacting schedules and quality, and getting worse with every new process node. A successful OpenPDK standard will reverse this trend and deliver broad-based technical and business benefits for foundries, EDA vendors, IP providers, and end-user companies."
The OpenPDK coalition, headed up by Si2, was formed to define the standards by which portable "open" PDKs that are both foundry and tool independent can be developed. This is something that everyone in the industry will benefit from foundries, vendors and end-users alike. As one of the founding members, Mentor has been and will continue to take a very active role in defining the OpenPDK standard. We have two representatives working on the technical steering committee and Linda Fosler, Director of Marketing, was recently appointed co-chair of the OpenPDK Board.
"The goal of OpenPDK is to enable broad market interoperability for process design kits that are exchanged," said Steve Schulz, Si2 president. "The cost of redundantly creating that information is going up, especially as you get to finer process nodes." A standard, he said, will help "anyone who touches a PDK" to become more efficient, including fabless semiconductor companies who often modify PDKs."