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The 20-nm Drumbeat

A few weeks back we took a look at Cadence’s collaboration with Samsung in readying 28-nm technologies, with 20 nm on the way. Turns out, Samsung has been busy… Mentor has subsequently announced 20-nm DFM capabilities developed with and delivered to Samsung. The focus as announced was on identifying hot spots, pattern-matching layout checks, and yield monitoring.

Meanwhile, Cadence also announced their Encounter improvements for handling the kinds of mammoth designs that will be possible in 20-nm technology. Their emphasis is on optimizing power, performance, and area together – on a global basis, with reduced iterations, and a particular focus on clock optimization.

To a large extent, these represent evolutionary changes to the tools and methodologies (without meaning to minimize the amount of work that might involve). There are no game changers here. But eyes (well, eyes outside the long-term technology development lab) are starting to look beyond 20 nm rather intently now. Which we’ll be looking at shortly.

The Mentor/Samsung announcement is detailed here; the Cadence Encounter one here.

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