Leti’s recent press release about the common lab agreement between CEA Leti and Docea Power inspired another chat with Ahmed Jerraya, Leti’s research director and head of strategic design programs. He’s a busy man these days, with all that’s going on in the design world with regards to 3D integration, among other things. I caught him back in Grenoble, where he managed to touch down between DAC in San Jose and a trip to Asia. “I’m going on holiday for a few weeks in August, and shutting my brain down,” he joked.
We talked a bit about DAC 2010, since I missed it and he was there, before getting down to the topic at hand. He presented at the EDA Interest Group’s 3D event and said it was an impressive turnout – he estimated somewhere around 100 people. Between that and the other 3D focused events he summed up the attitude towards 3D integration as “interesting, because the key point was the business model for 3D.” The support was strong – TSMC saying they will take all possible efforts to make 3D available, Qualcomm expressing eagerness for 3D design flow, as well as Samsung claiming they’ll be the first to go. Jerraya noted that there’s a big change in business and culture. While it’s still not certain how much will be 3D, it’s clear that for 32 and 28nm 3D will be the solution, he said.
Discussion turned to the original reason for the call. Jerraya explained that while the common lab agreement with Docea is not yet part of the PRO3D consortium effort, it is what brought them to talk to Docea in the first place. Leti has identified a strong connection between power and thermal issues; “Power depends on heat. If you optimize thermal behavior, you may reduce power consumption,” he explained, adding thermal and power is handled very well by Docea’s tool suites in a 2D environment, and that part of common lab goal is to for Leti to help Docea extend that into 3D.
Referring to Leti’s 3D design roadmap, Jerraya explained how working in 3D will require several tools in the design flow; much like a fab requires many machines to fabricate chips. Presently, there isn’t a 3D design flow with thermal management or thermal estimation/simulation included. However, with several design in progress, Leti can share their experience with Docea, which will help Docea fit their tool into the 3D design flow. “The idea is to work together with Docea to develop a native 3D thermal estimation/management tool. Today they (Docea) have tools for power estimation and simulation, and would like to have this working with 3D combined with 3D management,” said Jerraya.
Also critical to Leti’s work to develop a full 3D design flow is the link between the common lab with Docea, and the one they already share with R3Logic. While there is no link between the two companies at present, Jerraya says the link as part of Leti’s internal flow will be strong. The tools are very complimentary. To date, Leti is working towards using the tool suites of 5 different companies– three of which are already in place; R3Logic, Docea, and Presto Engineering, with whom Leti is working to develop a 3D test structure in 3D design. Two more agreements are in the works, and when I know the details, you’ll know the details. Stay tuned to 3D InCites….. F.v.T.