On June 10, Cadence issued a press release that mentioned “…decreasing the level of investment in the manufacturing side of DFM” as part of restructuring activities. Since that announcement, some in the press and analyst community have published their interpretations of the actions. A few of the published items do not accurately describe the actions that were taken, and we’d like to set the record straight.
Manufacturing-side DFM involves post-tapeout processing that transitions a finished layout into the factory (i.e. for manufacturing). Cadence has successful offerings in this area and will continue to appropriately invest. But in select areas such as mask proximity correction our investment will decrease as we emphasize design-side DFM.
Design-side DFM means seamless incorporation of manufacturing process effects within the design environment – like the Cadence Encounter® Digital Implementation System and Cadence Virtuoso® custom design environment – so designers can implement manufacturing-friendly designs that achieve higher yield and performance while meeting tight design schedules.
Our design-side DFM tools, including Cadence Litho Physical Analyzer (LPA), Cadence Litho Electrical Analyzer (LEA), Cadence Chemical-Mechanical Polishing (CCP) Predictor, and Cadence Pattern Analyzer (CPA), are production proven at multiple technology nodes. The Cadence LPA, for example, was the first tool qualified by TSMC from 90nm through the advanced nodes. The Cadence LEA is the first of its kind in the EDA industry. And the Cadence CCP is the established CMP predictor tool used by most leading foundries and IC manufacturers.
Today most of the top 20 semiconductor companies use Cadence design-side DFM tools. Leading semiconductor companies like TI, Freescale, AMD, Broadcom, Qualcomm, TSMC, Chartered, UMC, NXP, NEC and others have publicly described the successes they have had with our tools and technology in published papers. Cadence continues to develop and integrate DFM technology to address next-generation manufacturing requirements, such as double patterning. We hope this perspective clears up any confusion generated by speculative blogs. Cadence is committed to DFM.