Silistix's CHAIN Solution Reduces Power and Simplifies Design Effort

12/20/2005 - Silistix, a provider of innovative software for on-chip communications solutions, announced that it is developing EDA tools and libraries to allow designers to more efficiently generate interconnect logic to communicate between intellectual property (IP) blocks in system-on-a-chip (SoC) platforms. The company's CHAIN solution provides power-dissipation and design-productivity improvements over traditional on-chip bus architectures.

The CHAIN interconnect fabric generated by Silistix's design and synthesis tool suite, CHAINworksTM, is a self-timed, packet-based interconnect network that manages data flow between IP cores on a chip without being dependent on the edges of a system clock.

This results in lower power dissipation since power is dictated by traffic load and not by a fixed clock rate. Clock domains in the CHAIN fabric do not have to be dependent on a system clock and the interconnect fabric can be tuned for specific throughput, area and power targets.

"CHAIN networks represent a new way of looking at on-chip interconnect that eliminates many of the problems associated with traditional global bus architectures controlled by high-speed clocks," said David Fritz, Vice President of Marketing at Silistix. "Designers can also use Silistix provided adaptors to interface existing synchronous IP blocks to CHAIN networks thereby leveraging existing design work."

Chip design effort is also significantly reduced, especially with respect to timing closure. The problems associated with developing a clock distribution network are eliminated with the CHAIN fabric, as is the need for frequency balancing on the chip.

CHAINworks fits within existing EDA design flows, and the synthesized CHAIN interconnect fabric supports multiple protocols including AHB, APB, and AXI enabling existing IP blocks to be used without modification.

The Silistix CHAIN solution targets OEMs, ODMs and fabless semiconductor companies who are developing products for power-sensitive markets such as cellular handsets, portable multimedia devices and smart cards, as well as for companies who are developing SoCs for complex applications such as HDTVs, set-top boxes, network security devices and SAN/NAS (Storage Area Network/Network Attached Storage) devices.

Systems-on-a-Chip complexity has accelerated to the point that the on-chip interconnection of functional blocks by conventional bus technology cannot meet requirements. Achieving satisfactory communication among multiple clock domains connected by long, slow wires is the most significant SoC design challenge facing designers.

Silistix' CHAIN technology provides a solution to the complexity problem in a manner analogous to that used by telephone systems as they migrated from circuit-switched to packet-switched communication, revolutionizing the industry in the process.

Similarly, Silistix' solution relegates the 'Timing Closure' issue to a much simpler class of problem, reduces on-chip congestion and overall power consumption.

Silistix will announce the features and availability of its CHAINworksTM design-tool suite early in 2006.

About Silistix
Silistix is a venture-funded spin-out of the University of Manchester, UK. The company's focus is on the development and deployment of EDA tools for the design and synthesis of self-timed CHip-Area INterconnect (CHAIN) technology for complex system-on-a-chip (SoC) communication. The company has offices in Manchester, England, San Jose, California, and Tokyo, Japan. For more information call +1 (408) 573 6104.

CHAINworks is a registered trademark of Silistix

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