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January 26, 1989


By CBR Staff Writer

ICL Ltd, SGS-Thomson Microelectronics NV and Siemens AG have released the first computer aided engineering tools developed as part of their Advanced Integrated Circuit Design Aids project, reports Electronique Actualites. The aim of the European Community-funded project is to develop tools for designing highly complex integrated circuits of 100,000 transistors and up. With Siemens as the co-ordinator, each company has undertaken a specific role in the project: SGS-Thomson has worked on logic synthesis, Siemens on mask design and test aids and ICL on a design database. All three partners will use the tools they develop in their in-house computer-aided engineering activities. SGS-Thomson is already implementing a system, Unicad, which will be used to form a common base to which

SGS-Thomson will add tools adapted to the needs of each of its departments. These could be tools such as the Mozart fault simulator or the Hermes multimode simulator, which were developed by SGS-Thomson, Cadence tools from the US firm SDA or tools coming out of the AIDA project. SGS-Thomson has three versions of Unicad: Concert, to be used for the design of applications specific integrated circuits; an analogue version undergoing tests at the video unit; and a numeric processing version, called D. Like the other two partners, SGS-Thomson has also undertaken research into design automation tools as part of the project. The company has worked on integrating tools from different sources into the Cadence environment. ICL has introduced a means of handling complex hierarchies and technological independence into its existing DA-X database, and Siemens has replaced the Venus index-based data management system with an integrated one. One of the successes of the project has been the development of a means to introduce an auto-test system into a circuit. Finally, the three companies have settled on a common language for their systems – Video High Density Language, which is used by the US Defense Department in major applications.

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