VLSI Design Flow Optimisation and Debugging Visualisation
Learn more about Altair semiconductor technologies and how industry leaders rely on it.
Semiconductor design leaders rely on electronic design automation (EDA) software to efficiently verify and evaluate their product designs — and Altair solutions are built to optimise EDA environments and to improve the design-to-manufacturing process, eliminate design iterations, and reduce time-to-market. For printed circuit board (PCB) design, embedded systems development, and smart product realisation, we provide tools that address the challenges of ever-increasing performance requirements and product complexity.
Altair acquired Runtime Design Automation (Runtime, RTDA), a Santa Clara, California-based technology company specialising in scalable solutions for high performance computing (HPC) in September 2017. Runtime brought to Altair a rich history of leveraging EDA tools to design semiconductor devices such as CPUs, GPUs, chipsets, and System on Chip (SoC) integrated circuits.
At the time of the aquisition the Runtime team brought with them over two decades of experience in design automation for electronic components. Runtime was best known for their "Network Computer" scheduler which forms the basis of the Altair product known as Accelerator.
Altair has since been hard at work to build on the Runtime legacy, developing our own tools and acquiring more companies and technologies to augment our EDA software portfolio.
Performant license-based scheduling enables our designers and engineers to explore more designs, faster, so we maintain an agile team and optimise utilisation of expensive EDA licenses."
— Weikei Sun, Associate Vice President, Engineering, Inphi Corporation
Learn about how Altair empowered these customers to improve and optimise their VLSI design flows and tool ecosystems.
CEA Tech, the Grenoble-based technology research unit for the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) is a global leader in miniaturisation technologies that enable smart digital systems and secure, energy-efficient solutions for industry. Its multidisciplinary team of experts tackles critical challenges in healthcare, energy, digital migration, and more in world-class facilities. CEA Tech needed to improve license utilisation and ensure that licenses are freed quickly to be made available to queued jobs. The team sped up R&D using Altair® Accelerator™ for EDA job scheduling and Altair® Monitor™ for real-time license monitoring. One series of single-user simulations showed a speed increase of more than 4.5x using Accelerator.
Altair solutions help us manage our EDA tool resources efficiently and improve time to market. With such a smart mechanism for job preemption, the number of licenses seems to be unlimited.
- Youcef Fellah, CAD Manager, CEA, Grenoble, France
Annapurna Labs was established as a fabless chip start-up in 2011, focused on bringing innovation to the fast-growing cloud infrastructure. Four years after its inception, Annapurna Labs was acquired by Amazon Web Services (AWS). Since then, Annapurna Labs has accelerated its innovation and developed a number of products that benefit cloud customers, including AWS Nitro technology, Inferentia custom Machine Learning chips, and AWS Graviton2 processors, based on the 64-bit Arm Neoverse architecture purpose-built cloud server.
Altair’s license-first approach to scheduling enabled Annapurna Labs to enhance its resource management. It not only gave us more control over resource usage and cost, we dramatically improved productivity and time-to-product through the Continuous-Integration development flow.
– Nafea Bshara, Annapurna Labs
Inphi produces high-speed semiconductor components and optical subsystems that enable big data to move quickly throughout the globe, both inside data centers and between broadly distributed computing facilities.
The team at Inphi understands the importance of HPC and EDA software performance optimisation better than most. They evaluated several competing solutions before selecting Altair® Accelerator™, which stood out among the competition for superior performance and Altair’s reputation for excellent customer service.
Altair Accelerator’s scheduling speed is ten times that of the competitive solutions we have evaluated.
- Weikei Sun, Associate Vice President, Engineering, Inphi Corporation
CEVA is a leading licensor of wireless connectivity and smart sensing technologies. CEVA’s ultralow-power IPs include comprehensive DSP-based platforms for 5G baseband processing in mobile and infrastructure, AI processors for neural network workloads, advanced imaging and computer vision for any camera-enabled device and audio/voice/speech and ultra-low power always-on/sensing applications for multiple IoT markets.
CEVA has been using Altair® Accelerator™ technology for years for managing engineering resources and speeding up VLSI development flows.
Accelerator allows CEVA engineers to get the most from the available resources in a manner that suits their design approach. Licenses utilisation is constantly at 100%, automating new jobs dispatches according to the flow policy.
Current DSP IPs have many verification challenges; it’s essential that we use every available simulation cycle during the design phase. That means 100% utilization of both compute hardware and simulation software licenses.
– Noam Meser, Director of VLSI Verification and Infrastructure, CEVA
Kandou is a rapidly growing leader in fast, energy-efficient wired connectivity. Its disruptive technologies include chip products and IP solutions designed to accelerate the evolution of electronics and enable increasingly small, energy efficient, cost-effective devices.
Faced with rapid growth, the team at Kandou needed to manage workloads and licensing for their expensive EDA tools. We set Kandou’s team up with Altair® Accelerator™ for job scheduling and Altair® Monitor™ for real-time license monitoring and management.
Accelerator improved our time to market for the Matterhorn USB4 retimer. Being efficient in engineering keeps us on track with goals, tapeout dates, and milestones.
- Anant Singh, VP Engineering, Kandou
80% of U.S. semiconductor companies are using solutions including Altair Accelerator and Altair FlowTracer to increase HPC infrastructure efficiency and reduce semiconductor design turnaround time."
— Jim Cantele, Senior Vice President of HPC & Cloud Sales, Altair
Altair has built up a portfolio of technologies in five distinct areas that support EDA development teams toward more efficient use of their software assets and faster development of products.
Explore the Altair EDA development solutions below.
Trusted for semiconductor design and EDA, Altair® Accelerator™ is the industry’s fastest enterprise job scheduler — with scalable, event-driven architecture for the highest possible throughput. Accelerator maximises capacity utilisation and can run millions of jobs per day with sub-millisecond latency for top performance. It provides scalable, small-footprint architecture and comprehensive policy management features with advanced license scheduling tracks, out-of-queue license usage, and dynamic license checkouts during a job’s lifetime.
Altair has all the tools you need to manage and optimise your EDA computing environment:
- Get efficient multi-site license allocation with Altair® Allocator™ and real-time license monitoring with Altair® Monitor™.
- For mission-critical dependency management, Altair® FlowTracer™ delivers unique flow visualisation and troubleshooting.
- Altair® Hero™ is your key to easy job scheduling in a hardware emulation environment.
We make every engineer an I/O expert with Altair Breeze™. Altair Breeze enables you to quickly solve software deployment problems and resolve file and network dependencies. With detailed data for storage exports and summary reports for sharing, Altair Breeze identifies good and bad I/O for easy wins. Even when programs are designed well, it’s easy for local settings to affect performance. Mistakes such as storing data in the wrong place, small I/O, and excess metadata can overload compute, network, and storage. By using Altair Breeze and following our best practices you’ll fix short-term problems, understand storage requirements, and optimise future planning. Altair Breeze profiles application file I/O so you can ensure files are stored in the right place.
As distributed systems and compute clusters become more complex, the need for monitoring is increasingly important. To compute efficiently and to forecast and design for the future, it’s important to have visibility into what is being run today. Altair Mistral™ is the leading application monitoring tool for high-performance computing (HPC) and scientific computing. It’s lightweight enough to run in production but flexible enough to ensure that you get the most from on-premises HPC, and that you have the information you need to manage your hybrid cloud. Altair Mistral is a storage-agnostic solution that monitors I/O bandwidth, metadata, I/O performance, CPU, and memory, quickly locating rogue jobs and storage bottlenecks and keeping track of what’s running on clusters day-to-day.
SoC, Multi-Mode Debug for Transistor, RTL, SPICE and System Level Designs
Visualise designs for simpler, more insightful debugging processes:
- Mixed-language support (Verilog, VHDL, SPICE...)
- Easily understand and integrate any IP block
- Full-chip netlist tracing (Analog, Digital, AMS)
- Easily visualise and understand SPICE netlists
- Cut debug time with ultra fast design exploration
- Full-chip SPICE netlist debugging (Pre and Post layout)
Is your business a VLSI startup?
Cloud/HPC Starter Package
The Altair Cloud/HPC Starter package is a two-year package tailored for startups with VLSI engineering teams. This package includes access to Accelerator, a best-in-class, high-throughput job scheduling solution that meets the complex demands of semiconductor and electronic design automation (EDA) teams. It also includes access to Monitor, a license tracking tool that offers real-time insight into software availability, usage, job status, and more.
Video On Demand Webinars
Altair experts regularly present information and training sessions to help our customers understand how our tools could be used to enhance their own development flows. These webinars are available on our website for review and further insight into our products and services.
Annapurna Labs and Altair
As a chip design company, time-to-market and engineering efficiency are the most critical and expensive metrics upon which to focus. With this in mind, the team at Annapurna Labs selected the Altair Accelerator™ job scheduler for their front-end and back-end workflows. As a feature within Accelerator, Rapid Scaling unused compute resources was developed with Annapurna Labs to add structure and efficiency to scaling AWS compute resources, shorten time to results, and change the development model to Continuous Integration
In this webinar, the presenters jointly:
- Explain the Accelerator Rapid Scaling technology and how it delivers on the promise of efficient chip design in the cloud.
- Demonstrate how Accelerator Rapid Scaling works in the Annapurna Labs chip design workflow and discuss the business merits of this approach.
The Tool Every VLSI Team Needs
Very large-scale integration (VLSI) for integrated circuits combines millions of transistors on a single chip, so design efficiency is critical. In this on-demand video presentation, Altair's Stuart Taylor discusses design flow mapping and optimisation for VLSI and demonstrates Altair FlowTracer for advanced flow development and execution.
Efficient Information and Compute Management Tool Chains
VLSI engineering organisations manage workflows with high complexity dependency trees and simulation license availability constrains.
Critical success factors for industry-leading VLSI design teams include:
- Efficient sharing of compute and license resources.
- Clear visibility of progress and project status.
- Reproducibility of results and concepts.
Viewers will understand how a carefully curated tool chain can help VLSI engineering teams optimise design processes for maximum performance and efficiency.