The EDA industry tracks the trends in the semiconductor industry which is constantly evolving to cater to the 130, 90, 65 and even 45-nm silicon geometries. The whole electronics industry depends on the efficiency of these EDA tools, which would ensure smaller, faster, cheaper and more intelligent next-generation electronic products.
The EDA tools industry faces a high degree of technical change as it follows the technologically advanced semiconductor industry. The EDA tool vendors need to meet the design requirements of the semiconductor industry. The continuous size reduction in ICs from micro- to nanoscale dimensions drives the need for advanced and innovative EDA technologies to design the ever-shrinking devices.
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As the semiconductor industry confronts the sub-100 nm process node, there is a need to develop more advanced EDA tools, which would facilitate the design of powerful, cost-effective and more complex chips. Moore’s law has proved to be remarkably resilient over the past 40 years. Increasing the performance efficiency of the transistor only with device miniaturization is a huge issue.
“This requires the development of next-generation EDA tools, which would address the issues of increasing complexity in this sub-micron era,” says Frost & Sullivan Technical Insights Industry Analyst Sivakumar Muthuramalingam. “Today’s and next generation’s chipsets are likely to have several different types of components embedded into a single chip. Integrating many components onto a single chip enables numerous functions. Hence, such an increased integration requires innovations in electronic design automation technologies for designing chipsets, which enables better functionality in devices."
One of the major challenges for emerging EDA technologies is that customers can be timid when it comes to supporting technologies out of smaller companies as they essentially get tools for free from the large companies under a corporate-wide contract. This tends to stifle innovative product development. This along with intellectual property (IP) issues forms a major drawback for the EDA tools industry.
“There is always a need for innovative EDA tools,” says Frost & Sullivan Technical Insights Research Analyst Ashwini Meena. “Value-added applications across fields such as defense, healthcare and automotive drive the need for novel EDA technologies involved in designing next-generation consumer electronic devices. Consumers play a strong role as a driving force for the IC markets as the digital consumer products are now the main players.”
New consumer electronic products are continuously being introduced and the need for IC customization with low cost and increased complexity has to be met by these next-generation EDA tools. The IP market is badly broken and deserves special attention. The IP providers are struggling to meet the expectations of quality and time to market that is set by the customers who can’t see or evaluate the value of IP.
One way to over come the challenge of corporate wide contracts and IP issues is by increased cooperation among the EDA players. This is mainly because no single EDA company can provide solutions for the entire design flow. This has already seen a number of partnerships and collaborations in the EDA industry in order to develop more advanced tools.
Frost & Sullivan finds that the continuous demand for portable, faster, better and cheaper electronic products provide the impetus for innovations in EDA industry. The EDA tool vendors have to identify the immediate needs of the semiconductor industry and provide quality product support. Some of the emerging EDA technologies are DFM (Design For Manufacturability) and ESL (Electronic System Level). The necessity for a tighter link between manufacturing and EDA has propelled the EDA industry toward tools aimed at ensuring the most efficient and effective means of manufacturing. Every stage of the manufacturing process is covered to develop the most producible design at the least possible cost.
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