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Design Automation

System Level Design

Today IBM Microelectronics is the leading supplier of high-performance ASICs. IBM offers chips with 40M-gate capacity, enabling companies to integrate large portions of their entire product on a single chip and driving them to get these lower cost products to market in record times. The market place is changing. ASIC designers are becoming System-on-a-Chip (SoC) designers. Rapidly designing these large complex SoCs requires effective reuse of standard components or "Cores". IBM Microelectronics offers its customers an extensive Core Library that includes a range of embedded PowerPC processors and a CoreConnect architecture for interconnecting these cores.

IBM Microelectronic's leadership is helped by leading-edge silicon technology and a "right first time" design methodology, which is based on IBM's internally developed design tools. As the market shifts to more SoC designs and IBM Microelectronics strives to develop more "Standard Parts", it is clear that design tools need to evolve to support this higher-level of system design. Existing tools need greater capacity and better support for hierarchy. New tools are needed to capture design decisions at the early stages of system design and provide rapid feedback to guide refinement. Also, these larger SoC designs are bringing more higher-frequency analog circuity onboard. Combined with IBM's leadership in the growing SiGe market, it is clear we need better support for mixed-signal design.

The System-Level Design group works with SoC designers in Microelectronics and Research to understand their current design methods and identify areas where researchers in IBM and academia can provide a competitive advantage. We then develop specific tools and refine them with the SoC design teams. Three examples of this work are described below:

Designing with Cores
SoC Performance Analysis
Mixed-Signal Noise Analysis

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