`Silicon design industry is going back to where we started, the basic sciences.'

Our Bureau

Bangalore, Oct. 15

Abstraction and automation was the theme of Cadence's President and CEO, Mr Mike Fister's speech addressing designers and developers at the CDN Live! seminar in the city.

Designers can now unleash their creativity with software tools automating the mundane tasks such as setting electrical characteristics, he said. Primarily dominated by huge hardware, the chip making industry is slowly depending on software such as computer-aided-design and manufacturing to whip out silicon faster.

Torino initiative

He also spoke about the company's Project Torino initiative, a technology proposal to support complex designs, including platform-based design. Torino will help designers explore `what if' scenarios with multiple architectural options and carry out virtual prototyping early in the design cycle to understand the impact of architectural and specification decisions on area, performance, and manufacturability, he said. The company's recently announced industry initiative, Power Forward, is part of the Torino roadmap.

"The silicon design industry is going back to where we started, the basic sciences," Mr Madhusudhan Atre, Managing Director of Agere Systems, said at the seminar. The 50-year-old semiconductor industry is driven by Moore's law, but needs new techniques such as lithography and IP reuse.

It is also increasingly becoming dependent on feedback mechanisms as design houses get geographically dispersed. The industry is also under pressure to get products out in lesser time, what used to take years has now come down to quarters.

Along with these issues, as chip geometries get smaller, concepts of thermodynamics and electricity go out of the window, said Mr Atre.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated October 16, 2006)
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