Tool To Ease Collaboration On Integrated Circuit Design - InformationWeek

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Tool To Ease Collaboration On Integrated Circuit Design

A product from MataiTech lets engineers lay out integrated circuit hardware and software designs simultaneously.

Engineers at integrated circuit design firm MataiTech couldn't afford commercial electronic system-level design applications, so they built their own. Now they're rolling out a tool that lets hardware and software engineers collaborate at the earliest stages of circuit design, and it costs a fraction of comparable systems.

The tool, called Nauet, lets engineers simultaneously lay out the hardware and software designs for integrated circuits. Typically, software engineers write code after the hardware engineers complete the hardware design, rather than the two groups keeping pace with one another.

Nauet takes in XML files built on the Spirit open standard and drawings from a component editor, and it generates output for both the hardware and software designs. The initial version of the product is available now. A second version, which will include features such as hardware-software cosimulation and load balancing for CPUs, is slated for late 2006.

MataiTech's six engineers have been doing hardware and software development work for two years, says Aaron Baranoff, VP of engineering. "We found a lot of [electronic design automation] tools were way out of our price range," he says.

So Baranoff and Erik Jessen, MataiTech's president, developed Nauet on their own, and the company started using it internally. Customers suggested MataiTech should sell the tool externally, Baranoff says. MataiTech developed a graphical user interface and front end to the tool that are easier to use for external users.

The advanced version of Nauet will cost about $10,000. According to a MataiTech spokesman, comparable design tools can run more than 10 times that price.

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