Electronic Design

Mentor Makes Its Move In Physical Design

With its acquisition of Sierra Design Automation, Mentor Graphics fires a shot across the bow of the EDA industry’s RTL-to-GDSII suppliers. By adding Sierra’s place-and-route tools to its portfolio, Mentor sees an opportunity to leverage its back-end DFM capabilities manifested in the Calibre suite of optical-proximity-correction (OPC) and reticle-enhancement-technology (RET) products. Mentor will ante up $90 million for Sierra Design Automation, paying 50% in cash and 50% in Mentor Graphics common stock.

The combined resources of Mentor and Sierra promise to result in a back-end flow that addresses the discontinuities cropping up at the 65- and 45-nm nodes, namely process variation, design size, low power, and DFM itself.

Sierra’s flagship Olympus-SoC product represents a modern place-and-route system that concurrently addresses variations in lithography, process corners, and design modes. Integral to Olympus-SoC is Sierra’s detailed routing architecture, which embeds variation-aware timing, optimization, and lithography modeling to address OPC and RET effects early in the design. It’s capable of simultaneously solving for dozens of different process corners and design modes, ensuring an optimized chip without unnecessary guardbanding.

Mentor Graphics will sell and support Sierra’s products through its global sales and support organizations.

Mentor Graphics

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