Magma Blasts Off with Rail Design Solution for Nanometer Design

5/13/2003 - Magma Design Automation Inc. (Nasdaq: LAVA), a provider of chip design solutions, announced the release of Blast RailTM, a correct-by-construction rail design solution that ensures power integrity for nanometer designs. Blast Rail is a key component of Magma's overall low-power design solution and is fully integrated within Magma's RTL-to-GDSII implementation flow.

Blast Rail simplifies rail design by combining power planning, power analysis, voltage drop analysis, voltage-drop-induced delay analysis and analysis of electromigration on rail wires and vias in a single tool. Unlike other solutions that use multiple point tools to address these different issues, the streamlined Blast Rail solution eliminates iterations and provides significant savings in overall turnaround time. Blast Rail provides advanced capabilities to perform static analysis as well as dynamic analysis that considers a sequence of activities over a period of time. With shrinking process geometries, increasing frequencies, and reducing supply voltages, it has also become extremely essential to perform "instantaneous" or "transient" voltage drop analysis that considers the activities happening within a clock cycle. Blast Rail provides the seamless ability to model network resistances, capacitances, and inductances and uses these network parasitics to perform the transient analysis.

"Blast Rail has performed voltage-drop analysis on a million-gate design," said Anand Bariya, senior design center manager of Toshiba America Electronics Components, Inc. "The results were validated by checking against other industry signoff tools and we are extremely impressed with the fast runtime and accuracy of Blast Rail."

"The introduction of Blast Rail continues to advance our RTL-to-GDSII capabilities," said Venktesh Shukla, senior vice president of marketing and business development of Magma. "We recognize that to maintain our technology leadership we need to answer our customers' major concerns. Blast Rail's ability to simplify power design addresses one of the significant problems designers face today."

Designers' Biggest Complaint
Gary Smith, Gartner Dataquest's director and chief analyst for electronic design automation, identifies design issues associated with power as posing the greatest challenges for design. "Power has become the number 1 problem for design engineers today and they are generally dissatisfied with tools that are presently available," Smith said. "As a result, most companies are forced to spend a lot of time and money developing customized solutions to address power design."

The integration of Blast Rail with the Blast FusionTM flow provides designers with a streamlined power design flow that enables reliable and rapid convergence. Blast Rail leverages Magma's unified data model and common executable to enable real-time analysis and feedback so designers can plan early and make changes, if required, at different stages during the flow. The GUI-based visualization and what-if analysis capabilities enable users to plan and implement optimal power grid configurations. Blast Rail also enables accurate macromodeling and abstraction of IP blocks and soft macros using Magma's unique GlassboxTM technology. Another extremely unique aspect of the solution is the embedded timing analysis capability that enables designers to understand the impact of voltage-drop-induced delays directly without having to go back and forth with external static timing analysis tools.

"The Blast Rail solution represents a key step for Magma toward providing a total power management solution to meet the needs of low-power and other designs," said Sameer Patel, product marketing director at Magma. "Magma customers have been successful with our integrated circuit (IC) implementation solution that looks at timing, area and signal integrity (SI) concurrently throughout the flow. They had complained of spending too much time iterating with different point tools to plan, implement, and analyze the power grid and ensure good power and voltage drop distribution. With Blast Rail, they now have an integrated solution that looks at power integrity at the same time as timing, area and SI.

Correct by Construction - Get it Right the First Time
Blast Rail provides a correct-by-construction rail design methodology that is fully integrated with Magma's RTL-to-GDSII implementation flow. This flow is built with Magma's patented unified data model architecture that provides increased speed and capacity along with instant access to analysis data for "on-the-fly" correction that avoids costly post-route iterations. This allows designers to analyze the complex, interdependent effects of voltage drop, timing, SI and power at any stage of the design, and empowers them to take the necessary steps to avoid these problems at an early stage. Designers can specify optimal parameters for the power grid and define optimal pad locations during early planning while continuing to refine the power grid during detailed implementation. This eliminates the need to over design, thus ensuring reliable results while maintaining high performance.

"We decided to use Blast Rail along with Blast Fusion on our next production design because of Blast Rail's ability to provide early and accurate feedback - not having to rely on post-layout iterations to fix the problems - and ensure the power integrity of the design," said Stephan Klingler, vice president of Technology & Innovation, ASIC & Design Solutions Business Unit at Infineon Technologies.

"As a leading provider of multimedia hardware and software solutions, we look for the best EDA solutions," said Phil Brennan, vice president of operations at WIS Technologies. "The advanced analysis capabilities in Blast Rail, along with the tight integration with Blast Fusion, have convinced us to adopt this solution for our next design. We were able to run a multimillion-gate design in just minutes through Blast Rail, much faster than with point tools we've used in the past."

Blast Rail is available for both the Solaris and Linux operating systems. Pricing starts at $160,000 per year for a 3-year time-based license.

About Magma Design Automation
Magma software is used to design fast, multimillion-gate integrated circuits, providing "The Fastest Path from RTL to Silicon"TM and enabling chip designers to reduce the time required to produce complex ICs. Magma's products for prototyping, synthesis, and place & route provide a single executable for RTL-to-GDSII chip design. The company's Blast CreateTM, Blast FusionTM, Blast Fusion APXTM, Blast PlanTM, Blast Noise®, Blast RailTM and Blast RTLTM products utilize Magma's patented FixedTiming® methodology and single data model architecture to reduce the timing-closure iterations often required between the logic and physical processes in conventional IC design flows.

Magma maintains headquarters in Cupertino, Calif., as well as facilities in Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego, Calif.; Boston, Mass.; Durham, N.C.; Austin and Dallas, Texas; Newcastle, Wash.; and in Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Israel, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands, Taiwan and the United Kingdom. The company's stock trades on Nasdaq under the ticker symbol LAVA. Visit Magma Design Automation on the Web at

Magma, Blast Noise and FixedTiming are registered trademarks, and Blast Create, Blast Fusion, Blast Fusion APX, Blast Plan, Blast Rail, GlassBox and "The Fastest Path from RTL to Silicon" are trademarks of Magma Design Automation.

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