Fractal Technologies: One-Stop-Shop for IP Design Validation
Rene Donkers, CEO
IC designs are becoming incredibly complicated and with the shrinking design cycle to ensure time to market, semiconductors companies are heavily relying on internal and external Silicon IPs. Silicon IP design validation is needed to ensure that the developed chips function in full flow and comply with regulations and customer specifications is critical. During the design implementation, the increasing number of components from different suppliers and many process corners that need to be covered is leading to an explosion of data in diverse varieties. The growing data complexity presents a more significant challenge to circuit designers for validating IP to assure quality and system reliability. Manually checking every cell in a library for its consistency among several formats, functionality, and labels are unfeasible. That’s exactly where Fractal Technologies enters with their groundbreaking quality analysis (QA) tool—Crossfire. With Fractal’s QA software, customers can validate the quality and check the consistency of different data formats used in designs to build better-integrated circuits, faster and more effectively.
“Crossfire helps CAD teams and IC designers achieve a predictable design flow by ensuring that every design step is validated and every imported IP-component is qualified,” says Rene Donkers, CEO of Fractal Technologies. The validation process spans through the full design flow from documentation to RTL to .lib and to gds. With the help of wide-ranging deep-submicron quality checks, the capability to support an exhaustive set of EDA formats and the ability to integrate customized checks through their API, Crossfire can adapt to any design flow and quality requirements.
Crossfire supports more than 20 different data formats to ensure there is no discrepancy in the design flow
The QA tool constructs an unified data model internally that allows users to support diverse input formats such as Verilog, .lib, Oasis, and LEF. “Crossfire supports more than 250 checks across more than 40 different data formats to ensure there is no discrepancy in the design flow,” says Donkers.
Further, the tool offers robust usability features to ensure that the information represented across the various views is consistent. The usability features include waiving mechanism, reviewing and debugging, and graphical setup creation. With the help of Crossfire’s reporting feature, IC designers can report mismatches or modeling errors. Any error related to terminal names, conditional timing arcs or Boolean output terminal functionality is captured and flagged for the end-user with a graphical illustration. The QA reports generated by the tool in HTML format can be directly delivered to the IP-customer to demonstrate the integrity of the delivered IP block. Also, Crossfire’s integration feature offers an open API, using which customers can efficiently validate and visualize their scripts in-house. Thus, Fractal’s Crossfire acts both as a QA backbone and a one-stop shop for verification and validation of IP across the entire product lifecycle.
Additionally, IP typically comes with a pre-qualified set of specifications that must be maintained in the final design. Even the smallest mistake could easily invalidate the entire SoC. Addressing this issue is Fractal’s Transport feature that ensures IP block meets all the specification necessary for IP to qualify for the final phase of the development process. With such capabilities, Fractal Technologies is not only assisting chip development companies but also foundries, IDMs, independent IP design houses and fabless businesses in the area of design-flow, to have an end-of-line check before IP shipment or as an incoming inspection tool.
Moving forward, Fractal technologies is excited about its latest tools—bottleneck analysis and error fingerprints tools. Driven by the strong presence in the design ecosystem worldwide, the firm aims to become the de facto IP and library validation solutions provider for the semiconductors industry while staying independent to keep its intrinsic value by delivering comprehensive, easy-to-use, and flexible products.
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