Altos Design Debuts Variety Statistical Cell Library Characterizer

Altos Design Automation Inc. announced its second product Variety, an ultra-fast, general purpose statistical library characterizer for standard cells. The new tool generates variation-aware timing models for use with commercial statistical static timing analysis (SSTA) tools from Extreme Design Automation, Cadence Design Systems and Synopsys. Other formats will be supported in future releases, including the SSTA standard format from Si2′s Open Modeling Coalition.

Variety characterizes for both systematic and random variation. Random variation, which can account for more that 50% of the total variation for sub-90nm processes, represents a significant new challenge to characterization run-time as it requires modeling the impact on each individual transistor within a cell. This could potentially increase characterization run-time by 20X without sophisticated algorithms to enhance the performance. Variety leverages the “inside view” approach that Altos pioneered for Liberate, their non-statistical library characterizer, to keep the overhead of random variation characterization to 3X or less of nominal characterization.

Yoshio Inoue, chief engineer of Advanced Design Framework Development Dept. at Renesas Technology Corp. said, “The basis for statistical analysis and optimization is a highly accurate statistical cell library that is derived from key process parameter variations.” Inoue continued, “We selected Altos’ Variety because of its fast performance, the quality of its models and its ability to support multiple tool vendor formats from a single characterization run. We are using Variety to develop the libraries needed for our next generation variation aware design flow.”

“We are very pleased to have Variety selected by Renesas Technology Corp. to enable the creation of SSTA models for their statistical design flow,” said Jim McCanny, Altos CEO. “Using statistical analysis will enable Renesas to achieve faster timing closure and improved yields as it significantly reduces the pessimism inherent in traditional corner-based timing analysis. Fundamental to SSTA is the statistical library that Variety generates.”

Variety’s Key Advantage
Variety creates SSTA models that include nominal timing information plus additional data representing the impact of any number of parameter variations. All library timing data is characterized for variation including delays, transitions, timing constraints and pin capacitances. Both linear and non-linear models can be created as well as driver and receiver current source models such as Composite Current Source (CCS) and Effective Current Source Models (ECSM).

“For SSTA to become widely adopted there needs to be an easy, efficient and consistent way of creating the library views that SSTA needs,” said Ken Tseng, Altos CTO and founder. “With Variety, Altos has reduced the burden for creating SSTA models to be equivalent to creating corner based timing models when compared to using other commercial or in-house characterization tools.”

Pricing and Availability
Variety is available now, U.S. pricing starts at $95K for a 1 year license. Altos’ products are sold directly in North America and via a distributor, Marubeni Solutions Corp., in Japan.

About Altos
Altos Design Automation provides ultra-fast, fully-automated characterization technology for the creation of library views for timing, signal integrity and power analysis and optimization. Altos advanced modeling solutions are used by both corner-based and statistical-based design implementation flows to reduce time to market and improve yield. Privately held, Altos was founded in 2005 in Santa Clara, CA. Its corporate headquarters is at 4020 Moorpark Avenue, Suite 100, San Jose, CA 95117. Telephone: 408-980-8056.