editor's blog
Subscribe Now

Chip Design Tweaker

Last-minute chip design changes are always unfortunate, whether right before cutting masks or, worse yet, after you get silicon back. Some major tool environments provide engineering change order (ECO) support, some don’t. But it’s always a less-than-perfect scenario: an ideal top-down flow would maintain the chain of refinement from the most abstract representation down to the final details. Making a change only at the low level breaks that.

But the practical fact is that, if you’ve spent weeks and months getting things just the way you want them – with the exception of those annoying issues you just found – you don’t want to risk undoing all that careful work by taking a trip back to the abstract level and repeating the flow.

So you grit your teeth and push a couple polygons or change some transistor characteristics at the lowest level and chalk it up to “you gotta do what you gotta do.”

A small company called Dorado is trying to help out with these last minute ECO tweaks with a slightly unfortunately-named tool called Tweaker. (I suppose it can stay up for days in a row, but hopefully it doesn’t suffer from unpredictability or a nasty crash after a few days…)

Tweaker is set up to automatically fix a number of issues automatically and more in a manually-guided manner. Its scope includes functional, timing, and power tweaks. Changes may be made at the RTL level, where they attempt to minimize the scope of any resultant changes, or at the physical level.

In my discussion with them at DAC, it seems that low-level physical tweaks can’t be automatically preserved in the face of, say, a synthesis change. For example, if you make a low-level change and then have to make a functional (RTL) tweak that affects the same cells, you’ll have to redo the low-level changes after the RTL tweak re-synthesizes. But a TCL script can be used, which should save time (assuming no name changes, etc.).

It can work pre-mask by trying to preserve the chip area or post-silicon by taking advantage of spare cells.

They’ve managed to convince TSMC of its value…

An important note, however: if you want to convince your boss to make this tool available for you, make sure to say, “I need Tweaker to make some quick design changes.” Not, “I need a tweaker to make some quick design changes.” Big difference.

14 thoughts on “Chip Design Tweaker”

  1. Pingback: read what he said
  2. Pingback: Togel Shenzen
  3. Pingback: DMPK
  4. Pingback: zdporn.com
  5. Pingback: pezevenk
  6. Pingback: kari satilir
  7. Pingback: hash
  8. Pingback: bandar judi
  9. Pingback: domino online
  10. Pingback: Cheap

Leave a Reply

featured blogs
Jun 13, 2024
I've just been introduced to the DuoFlex 4K Dual-Screen Display from HalmaPixel, and now I'm drooling with desire all over my keyboard....

featured paper

Navigating design challenges: block/chip design-stage verification

Sponsored by Siemens Digital Industries Software

Explore the future of IC design with the Calibre Shift left initiative. In this paper, author David Abercrombie reveals how Siemens is changing the game for block/chip design-stage verification by moving Calibre verification and reliability analysis solutions further left in the design flow, including directly inside your P&R tool cockpit. Discover how you can reduce traditional long-loop verification iterations, saving time, improving accuracy, and dramatically boosting productivity.

Click here to read more

featured chalk talk

BMP585: Robust Barometric Pressure Sensor
In this episode of Chalk Talk, Amelia Dalton and Dr. Thomas Block from Bosch Sensortec investigate the benefits of barometric pressure sensors for a variety of electronic designs. They examine how the ultra-low power consumption, excellent accuracy and suitability for use in harsh environments can make Bosch’s BMP585 barometric pressure sensors a great fit for your next design.
Oct 2, 2023
31,348 views