IBM, EU Team Up to Improve Chip Design

Paul Lilly

IBM last week said it would begin collaborating with industry leaders and universities scattered throughout the European Union to improve several facets of modern chip design, including the productivity and reliability of semiconductor and electronic systems.

"Designing a microelectronic chip is very expensive and the design costs are the greatest threat to continuation of the semiconductor industry's phenomenal 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 developing new and more competent design methods and tools."

The goal of the new integrated approach is to localize and stomp out bugs on all abstraction levels. IBM points out that about 70 percent of today's design efforts are placed on verification and debugging, while soft errors -- like transient errors caused by cosmic radiation -- ranks as a rapidly growing threat.

The DIAMOND consortium will use a holistic approach to develop new tools and methods to help track all of these errors.

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