Startup Says New Product Will Revolutionize Routing

Two-year-old EDA startup Silicon Design Systems introduced its first product, an IC router that the company says will revolutionize routing the way that physical synthesis did placement.
SAN FRANCISCO — Two-year-old EDA startup Silicon Design Systems (SDS) Thursday (May 12) introduced its first product, an IC router that the company says will revolutionize routing the way that physical synthesis did placement.

K-Route, shorthand for Killer Router, applies "interconnect synthesis" technology to routing with an automated flow, and fully automatic geometrical and electrical convergence. K-Route is also placement independent, allowing it to be plugged into any design flow, according to Jacob Greidinger, SDS interim CEO and vice president of R&D.

"What physical synthesis did to placement, that's what we are doing to routing," said Dubi Margalit, SDS vice president of product marketing. "We are bringing analysis optimization into routing and creating a new methodology for how you move from placing net lists, or placing transistors, into a clean, ready-to-manufacture design."

SDS (Sunnyvale, Calif.) has been talking about K-Route for nearly a year. The company introduced the technology that K-Route is based on last May. At the time, SDS said K-Route would be introduced later in 2004. Greidinger said SDS spent the past year "productizing" the technology and working with beta customers to make sure that the product was usable and performed as expected.

"We don't actually call K-Route a router, but interconnect synthesis, because it does not only geometric optimization but also electrical optimization," Greidinger said.

Interconnect synthesis is a term that is gaining traction in EDA circles. Last month, Magma Design Automation introduced its new Cobra products, including a new Blast Fusion IC implementation that included interconnect synthesis capability, which the company defined as full-featured synthesis optimization done in routing.

Greidinger and Margalit said Magma's announcement provided validation for SDS that the company was working on a widely recognized problem. Other EDA vendors, they said, were likely to offer interconnect synthesis capability in tools that worked only with their other tools. Because K-Route is placement independent, using its own incremental placement engine, it offers customers the advantage of applying interconnect synthesis while keeping their other tools, they said.

"We are not the only ones that came up with this terminology," Margalit said. "Everybody is realizing that you have to bring analysis and optimization into the design flow. Magma, Cadence and Synopsys are all talking about it. The unique thing about our product is that it is placement independent. If you want to apply interconnect synthesis using our solution, you don't need to change any of the other tools in your existing design flow."

Greidinger said K-Route is highly tunable, enabling customers to achieve improved quality of results in the areas that they are most concerned with. He touted three of the K-Route's beta customers, Zoran Microelectronics, Open-Silicon and TransChip Inc. as three customers with varying priorities in terms of quality of results, die size, predictability and power/performance, respectively.

"When we say 'we are supplying better quality of results,' it means something different to each of them," Greidinger said.

K-Route, which is now available at a cost of $495,000 for a one-year license, is targeted at design challenges at 90 nanometers and below. But Greidinger said it is also of interest to customers working at 130 and 180 nm.

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