IMEC launches the industrial affiliation program (IIAP) INSITE or Integrated Solutions for Technology Exploration. INSITE is a framework of design exploration modules that allows fables and fablite companies, foundries and EDA vendors to develop design and product information using emerging IC process technologies 1 to 3 generations ahead of IC manufacturing. INSITE can be used both to design in both IMEC's emerging process technologies developed within its core CMOS research program and in more imminent foundry-level technologies targeted to early product development.
The INSITE program addresses two evolving trends which are creating a growing
knowledge gap between the producers and users of digital CMOS technology. The
first trend is the move away from integrated design and manufacturing to separate
chip foundries and fables design houses. The second trend is the evolution towards
more application-specific technology offerings, since technologies need to be
adapted to achieve the targeted chip specification as improved speed, power,
area and cost cannot be realized with the same technology.
Phillip Christie, Principal researcher at IMEC: "While the questions of
fables and fab-lite companies related to designing with emerging technologies
are distinct from those of foundries, EDA companies and IP vendors, the solutions
to their questions require collaboration and dialog between all parties. INSITE
will leverage IMEC's extensive process technology knowledge and long tradition
of working at the interface between technology and design. It will provide customized
solutions for the exploration of design and technology trade-offs to all players
in the semiconductor value chain."
IMEC's INSITE program is set up as a modular and extensible framework that provides
the required flexibility for the program partners. It comprises a design interface,
circuit-level IP generation and pathfinding. The key competences of the framework
- An in-depth understanding of advanced process technologies and process
- Fabrication and measurement of test circuits using IMEC's 200mm and 300mm
- A flexible design interface to quickly couple technology advances to design
- The rapid implementation of circuit-level IP;
The design interface is fully compatible and shares the same standards as
design interfaces from commercial foundries. New technologies will be embedded
into circuit level IP using industry-standard data formats. This ensures that
products can be synthesized using emerging technologies within standard design
flows in a fully transparent way. Similarly, for emerging technologies, the
same library IP can be implemented as virtual libraries with limited layout
information and imported into a design flow emulation environment for rapid
"what if" scenario analysis.