Fabless, IP designers need process simulation tools, says Coventor CTO

By Luke Collins

Early adopters of advanced process technologies need to be able to model process variability for themselves, so they can understand how it is likely to impact their designs, according to David Fried, CTO of process simulation company Coventor.

“Too many early users of these processes have been burned by thinking that if a design is DRC-clean they will get what they want,” he said. With fabless companies, especially in the mobile sector, under pressure to start designing with new processes before they have been finalised, insights into the impact of process variability could enable defensive design techniques that would mitigate the effects of process variability issues.

Fried sees a number of uses for process modelling in this context. For example, a team working on a fast SERDES in an evolving process might need to know how the different ways in which the process could evolve would affect their design’s performance and noise margins. Physical IP vendors might want to understand how the evolution of process parameter distributions over time would impact their offerings. And manufacturing specialists could use the approach to analyse the way in which one layer influences the printability of another.

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