Mentor Graphics Aids in Rapid Adoption of GDSII Replacement Format

10/1/2002 - Mentor Graphics announced plans to support the GDSII replacement format in the Mentor Graphics® Calibre® product family and the IC Station® tool suite in commercial release as soon as the first quarter of 2003. The new format is a replacement to GDSII, which has been used in the industry to transfer physical design data for decades. This next-generation, non-proprietary, interchange file format will be first used for leading-edge technology nodes, such as 130nm, 90nm and 65nm.

Mentor Graphics played many instrumental roles in the delivery of the new format. The most notable were agreeing to take on the editing responsibility for the specification, the initial specification itself (Version 3 SLF), and assigning Mentor employees, including one of Mentorís top software engineers, Laurence Grodd, as technical editor, and several other individuals as liaisons to the SEMI NSF WG (SEMI New Stream Format Working Group). Mentor agreed to hand off all proprietary rights to Version 3 SLF and any subsequent versions that include numerous contributions from Working Group members from other EDA companies, semiconductor companies and the mask industry. Mentor contributed a GDSII-to-SLF translator to Working Group members on four platforms, as well as participated in both the Working Group and SEMI Data Path Task Force.

The new encapsulated format specification offers substantial improvements in data volume efficiency. To date, testing shows up to 10-50 times reductions in hierarchical data volume from GDSII, and up to two or more times reduction in flat data volume from MEBES mode5 format. With the new format, file-based flows become more efficient, even in multi-tool environments, by reduced read/write times, and the ability to attain greater leverage from hierarchical processing. Due to inefficiencies in the GDSII format, the best hierarchical processing applications were handicapped at output time; with the new format the differences in data handling efficiency of hierarchical EDA application software will become even more obvious. In addition, the format offers portability across platforms and a single physical file to hand-off across organizational boundaries, such as from IC design groups to merchant mask manufacturers or internal mask-makers.

"More than 40 people, representing over 20 companies, participated in the working group to develop this new interchange format. Mentor Graphics was involved from the inception, serving for many months as editor of the draft specification, and incorporating many successive sets of modifications for the working group. Mentor devoted some of their most talented people to this project, and participated actively in every working group session. We look forward to seeing a broad range of industry support for the new format," said Kurt Wampler, chairman of the SEMI New Stream Format Working Group.

"Calibre's leadership in resolution enhancement such as OPC, entry in the mask data preparation market, and interaction with leading-edge IC customers triggered the internal development of a next-generation data format some time ago," said Joseph Sawicki, general manager of Mentor Graphics Design-to-Silicon division. "We contributed our work in this area, without limitation, because we believe meaningful standards adoptions must be truly open. We are convinced this new SEMI standard format will improve the industry's ability to profitably build more advanced semiconductor products."

About Mentor Graphics
Mentor Graphics Corporation (Nasdaq: MENT) is a world leader in electronic hardware and software design solutions, providing products, consulting services and award-winning support for the world's most successful electronics and semiconductor companies. Established in 1981, the company reported revenues over the last 12 months of about $600 million and employs approximately 3,700 people worldwide. Corporate headquarters are located at 8005 S.W. Boeckman Road, Wilsonville, Oregon 97070-7777; Silicon Valley headquarters are located at 1001 Ridder Park Drive, San Jose, California 95131-2314.

Mentor Graphics, Calibre and IC Station are registered trademarks of Mentor Graphics Corporation.

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