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Those who have studied microelectronics in Europe since 1989 have certainly heard about Europractice and have probably used EDA technologies provided by them. Though most refer to Europractice as an organization, it is actually an EU-funded project, probably the longest running one in EU history. Europractice can be roughly divided into two parts: 1. provides EDA technologies, training and support; 2. enables small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and academia to access industrial manufacturing of designed chips. The EDA-part is run by UKRI, the largest research organization in UK and is located close to Oxford at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory. The manufacturing part is split between imec in Leuven, Belgium, Fraunhofer IIS in Erlangen, Germany, and CMP in Grenoble, France. Each of the three partners are responsible for creating Multi-Project-Wafers (MPW) for different foundries. Tyndall National Institute in Cork, Ireland takes care of advanced packaging of the ICs that have been fabricated.
Cadence is collaborating closely with the whole Europractice project, but of course our main interest is in providing Cadence technology to universities and research institutes. Currently Europractice is providing Cadence academic licenses to more than 360 universities and research institutes in EMEA. But there is so much more that Europractice has to offer to its members.
The renewal cycle starts every year in September. Europractice representatives contact Cadence with a wish list that states which technologies they would like to include in their software package. Cadence engineers and product management review the wish list and decide what can be made available to Europractice. Europractice bundles the software in an EasyInstall package and provides a single tarball to the academic institutions. This allows the universities to simply run a setup procedure and automatically install the software in the right location on their server. This process simplifies the amount of support a university needs and reduces the amount of testcases created. If there are any issues with the provided technology, Europractice provides the first line of support from their experienced engineers. Europractice engineers only contact Cadence engineers for the problems they cannot resolve on their own.
In addition to the online training courses (iLS) and Digital Badges provided through Europractice by Cadence, Europractice engineers also provide high quality design tool and design flow training to its members. Europractice also provides reference keys to academic institutions, which enables them to create academic accounts for Cadence online support for every student and staff member. In the rare case that a technology is not available through Europractice, a process exists to apply for this particular technology, which would then be delivered directly from Cadence.
As an alternative to academic licenses, which can be used for research and education, Europractice has an option to give classroom-licenses, which are more affordable and are used to equip just the teaching lab with licenses for students, who have to perform lab exercises.
At CDNLive EMEA 2019, the Head of Europractice, Dr. John McLean, announced the availability of Virtual Machine images! This is a single Linux-image loaded with all the Cadence technology, which would simplify the installation process because it can be installed on a Windows computer that is connected to the university license server. Virtual Machine images will be available through Europractice soon.
According to John the future is cloudy, because of soon-to-come announcements regarding AWS-based cloud-computing offered by Europractice. At DAC 2019, Europractice has been announced as one academic Cloud Passport Partner.
Cadence is very happy to have Europractice as such a great, trusted partner for academia and would like to congratulate them for 30 years of collaboration with Cadence! We believe that Europractice is a great choice for European academics who want to have convenient and reliable access to Cadence technology.