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54

nanotimes

EU-Projects

IBM Research and European Union Aim to Greatly Improve Chip Design Time, Cost and Reliability

IBM Research (NYSE: IBM) announced its collabo- ration with industry leaders and universities in the European Union to improve the productivity and reliability of semiconductor and electronic systems design. By providing a systematic methodology and an integrated environment for the diagnosis and correction of errors, the EU-funded DIAMOND consortium expects to slash design time and enable significant savings per chip.

“Designing a microelectronic chip is very expensive and the design costs are the greatest threat to conti- nuation of the semiconductor industry‘s phenome- nal growth,” noted Dr. Jaan Raik, senior researcher at Tallinna Tehnikaulikool and coordinator of the DIAMOND project. “The increasing gap between the complexity of new systems and the productivity of system design methods can only be mitigated by de- veloping new and more competent design methods and tools.”

The new integrated approach will localize and cor- rect bugs on all abstraction levels, from specification through implementation down to the silicon layout. Handling this full chain of levels will allow the solu- tion to take advantage of hierarchical diagnosis and correction capabilities incorporating a wide range of error sources.

Today, approximately 70% of design efforts are dedicated to verification and debugging. Two thirds of this is dedicated to discovering and localizing the source of the fault and then correcting it. Another

threat is the rapidly growing rate of soft errors, which are transient errors caused, for example, by cosmic radiation. Soft errors cannot be corrected after the fact, but they can be dealt with by dedicated detec- tion logic, and measuring robustness of that logic can be dealt with by techniques used for detecting other types of errors. The goal of the DIAMOND consor- tium is to address these challenges and cut fault localization and correction efforts in half – thereby

reducing design time by 23%.

According to estimates, fault localization and correc- tion for each chip is expected to cost 34.5 million dollars per chip by 2010. With DIAMOND aiming to reduce this time by 50%, it has the potential to cut design costs by an estimated 17.25 million dollars per chip. Reducing the time spent finding and fixing bugs will also result in significantly shorter design cycle and lower costs as well as shorter time to mar- ket.

http://www.research.ibm.com/

DIAMOND project: http://www.fp7-diamond.eu/

EU Backs Revolutionary Multi-purpose Car Material

Over the next three years, an EU-funded team of scientists will develop a new composite material that could see a car‘s body parts double up as its own po- wer source. The team also believes the material has

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