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Taiwan's ITRI Licenses Legend's MSIM and SpiceCut for Memory Simulation and Characterization

Sunnyvale, Calif., June 10, 2002 - Legend Design Technology, Inc., the leading provider of IP characterization and simulation software, today announced that Taiwan's Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) has licensed MSIM and SpiceCut to integrate with ITRI's own GDSTiler and MACHETE for characterizing and generating embedded memory instances in system-on-chip (SoC) designs. Legend's MSIM is a high-accuracy and high-speed circuit simulator, designed especially for characterization use. To speed up runtime for hundreds of simulations required during characterization, SpiceCut automatically builds critical-path netlists for both circuit and RC reduction from the extracted layout. ITRI's GDSTiler is a flexible GDS layout tiling tool to be used in embedded memory compiler or PLA generator. GDSTiler can save the trouble of detailed GDS format processing and coordinate processing in layout generation for layout generator designers. Moreover, MACHETE is used to link with SpiceCut and MSIM to coordinate memory characterization and do model generation that are required in an embedded memory compiler. Through combining Legend's tools with ITRI's own tools, ITRI's embedded memory characterization flow can generate optimized timing and power models for use in system simulation that reflects the reality of the silicon. Legend and ITRI are interested in co-promotion of the tools from each party to Taiwan IC industry. These tools including SpiceCut, GDS Tiler, and MACHETE will form a total solution for embedded memory authoring environment.

ITRI is an R&D organization founded by the Taiwan government to drive the technological needs of that country's industrial development. Its SoC Technology Center (STC) develops IP and the SoC reference designs, and its Computer and Communications Research Labs (CCL) uses the SoC to develop system-level reference designs. One aspect of the work ITRI will be performing is the development of a complete embedded memory solution for SoC integration. Since each process variant at each foundry is slightly different, it is necessary to be able to characterize memory for the specific process and foundry to be used. As such, ITRI has the need for an automatic embedded memory characterization tool set with accuracy and performance. Thus, Legend's tools, MSIM and SpiceCut, come into our pictures.

MSIM has been designed especially for characterization use. MSIM combines a matrix-inversion based circuit simulator with RC reduction to deliver unparalleled accuracy, performance and value. Proprietary RC reduction technology enhances performance by reducing the size of the circuit matrix due to RC, and improves the convergence by transforming simulation conditions from 'ill' to 'well'. MSIM supports all BSIM models from major foundries. MSIM can automate volumes of simulations and enable parallel computing for high throughput. A state of the art Spice engine offered at a fractional cost provides excellent price-performance for characterization usage. In summary, its feature set and pricing model position the product perfectly for memory characterization, but it is equally ideal for the characterization of standard cell libraries.

It comes as no surprise to anybody with experience characterizing embedded memory that the biggest bottleneck in the flow is building the critical path circuits. This daunting task is extremely error prone and time consuming and is becoming more challenging as technology evolves. SpiceCut solves this problem by automatically building the critical path circuits from the extracted layout and/or schematic. The tool recognizes all nodes and latches, and takes into account all the paths. Its built in RC reduction will produce equivalent circuits that speed up simulations considerably. For large memory instances (>500K) layout extraction could take an extremely long time, but SpiceCut is able to function on a "ring" shape extraction providing tremendous speed improvement.

GDSTiler is a flexible GDS layout tiling tool to be used in embedded memory compiler or PLA generator. GDSTiler can handle detailed GDS format processing, coordinate processing, alignment, and other activities required in an embedded memory tiling. It's a key component in the layout generator of an embedded memory compiler. Traditionally, layout generator designers usually mix the GDS II format processing, coordinate processing, and other layout tiling activities together while designing the automatic layout generator in a memory compiler. So a new memory design will need a new layout generator program. GDSTiler can isolate the design-dependent from design-independent parts of the program, i.e., GDSTiler is an design-independent program which can relieve the layout generator programmer oftedious activities such as coordinate processing, graphic processing, and GDS format care. Layout generator designers only need to write the high-level part for a new embedded memory design and the high-level part will be processed by GDSTiler. MACHETE is used to link with SpiceCut and MSIM to coordinate memory characterization and do model generation that is required in an embedded memory compiler. Actually it can produce most of the models required in the current EDA flows for the memory instance. MACHETE and SpiceCut are complementary.

"Integrating Legend's MSIM, and SpiceCut with our own tools GDSTiler and MACHETE in our embedded memory authoring environment, ITRI can automate the often time consuming and error prone process of memory characterization. Through automation, integration, and concurrent simulation, we can maximize engineering time and minimize the uncertainty associated with SoC design." said Dr. Bao-Shuh Paul Lin, general director of CCL and STC and vice president of ITRI.

"The automatic spice reduction capability of Legend's SpiceCut has enabled our automatic characterization flow to be re-run any time a spice model changes. We don't have to write the critical path generator program for each new memory design. MSIM further reduce the simulation time of embedded memory. This is particularly useful when a process gets new models or when you need to analyze loss of yield on a particular set of wafers." said John Chang, Director of IP Technology and Design Automation Division of STC in ITRI.

"This is an exciting agreement for Legend as it will not only facilitate ITRI's memory compiler development and modeling for emerging technologies, but also demonstrates the benefits of our tools for the characterization solutions in SoC designs," said You-Pang Wei, president and CEO of Legend Design Technology, Inc. "We are looking forward to working with ITRI's advanced engineering teams for providing high-quality embedded memory into many of Taiwanese leading products and for providing a total solution of memory authoring environments to Taiwan local IC industry"

About Legend Design Technology, Inc.

Legend Design Technology, Inc. provides tools and services for a complete characterization solution of SoC designs, which includes embedded memory and standard cell library. With an emphasis on productivity and value, Legend's success enabling products, SpiceCut, MemChar and MSIM, revolutionize the time consuming and error prone processes associated with characterization. SpiceCut can automatically build critical-path circuits to reduce simulation time for characterization, especially from post-layout extracted circuits with resistors and capacitors. MemChar can automatically characterize the memories and generate timing and power models. It can generate 'true' setup and hold with 'glitch' prevention. MSIM is a characterization-oriented circuit simulator with post-layout RC reduction capability. With high accuracy, high speed and solution-based licensing models, MSIM can provide excellent price-performance.

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About ITRI

The Industrial Technology Research Institute is a non-profit R&D organization engaged in applied research and technical service. It was founded in 1973 by the Ministry of Economic Affairs of the Republic of China to attend to the technological needs of Taiwan's industrial development. It has since grown to become both a technical center for industry and an important arm of the government's industrial policies. Today ITRI is a 6,000-person operation with 12 research divisions working on internet, communications, optoelectronics, nanotechnology, and biomedical technology, among others.

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For further information, contact:

Jane Wei
Legend Design Technology, Inc.
(408) 720-9168 Margaret Chen
Deputy Manager
Planning Deparent

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