Springsoft adds digital tools to custom environment

SpringSoft has made two additions to its Laker custom-design tool with a row-based placer and a digital router.

According to Oz Levia, vice president of marketing and business development, the placer is aimed at “analogue designs with a little bit of digital, typically around 50,000 cells”. He added: “The traditional option has been to exit the tool and do it in a digital placer. It’s cumbersome and expensive because you have to buy another licence for a tool. So, we implemented a custom row placer and digital router.”

Duncan McDonald, director of product marketing for custom IC design at SpringSoft, added: “The changing nature of mixed-signal chips – greater intermingling of digital with analog and much greater use of digital standard cells in mixed-signal blocks, smaller geometries, increased performance needs, and low-power constraints – requires a more efficient and integrated approach to custom IC design.”

The router tool supports post-routing yield optimisation and can work in a gridded or shape-based mode. Typically, most of the routing will be done using the grid, moving to shape-based for difficult parts of the design. The initial release of the router supports 40nm rules with 28nm rules to follow in future releases.

“There are more routers coming,” said Levia. “In custom design, there is no such thing as one-size-fits-all.”

As with the existing Laker system, the new tools can work with design data stored using the OpenAccess (OA) database.

The Laker custom row placer supports standard cell and custom cell design. It can perform incremental selection and placement and uses stacking utilities for datapath-style placement. Although the row placer is not timing driven – as it focuses on smaller blocks of digital logic than conventional digital placers – it performs placement for minimum wire length.

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