Springsoft – Custom IC Layout
Duncan McDonald presented in their suite about the custom IC layout editing of Laker, along with the P&R provided by Pyxis.

Because these tools use Open Access (OA) in runtime memory there are no files to export then import again in a sequential flow, rather all the tools can be running concurrently on the same database. This is the most advanced use of OA and it looked like a great technical solution to me.

Even foundries like TSMC have adopted the OA world view along with PDKs that are interoperable, or IPDK.

Laker is well-known for their high level of automation and usability for IC layout editing on full-custom designs. Look forward in the next year to see schematic capture added as a new tool offered by Springsoft.

Laker allows you to interactively edit the layout or even use a Tcl command line. Loads of automation were demonstrated: transistor-level routing, interactive routing, net routing, priority based routing, in-place hierarchy definitions, auto placement of arrays, and easy integration with the Pyxis router.

What was different with Pyxis was how it left your hierarchy in place instead of flattening it. These two companies have a very slick integration that looks and works great. Changes made in Laker are instantly reflected in Pyxis, and vica versa thanks to how they used OA. Why take three weeks to do hand routing when you can get the same job done in minutes with Pyxis?

If you’re a Virtuoso user then you can get up to speed in about a day of training on Laker.

Even other OA tools like Mentor’s Calibre can be run on the same design in memory to do your DRC and LVS tasks.

There was certainly buzz at the Springsoft booth at DAC and I expect that as they offer more EDA tools or acquire point tools that they have the potential to become one of the big four in EDA.