Something happened this morning that doesn’t happen too much any more: a new EDA company came out of stealth mode and announced its product line. The company is Invionics, and they are based in Vancouver BC. The CEO is Brad Quinton who largely funded the company himself, although with some grants from the Canadian government. He previously created Veridae systems which he then sold to Tektronix (who have since sold it on to Mentor). The core team at Invionics are the original team from Veridae.
So what does Invionics do? They are addressing a problem that SoC companies have, which is that it is hard to differentiate yourself from your competition when everyone is using the same tool flows from the same 3 companies, and using the same IP. One way to differentiate is to improve the design process with internal tools that result in more optimal designs. Invionics have a platform, the Invio platform, that makes this straighforward. It contains all the parsers and graphical widgets necessary to make building specialized tools quickly. For now at least it is all focused on the front-end, not back-end layout. So they are not really building tools, they are delivering a platform for you to build your own tools.
For example, the above little piece of code changes synchronous resets to asynchronous (or checks that all resets are correctly specified as asynchronous in the RTL, which is another way of saying the same thing).
The Invio platform plugs in at different points in the design flow depending on what optimization the customer’s tool is intended for, from custom Lint and IP instantiation at the front end to physical partitioning and floorplanning at the back end.
The key features of the Invio platform are:
- easy to use Tcl or Python API
- Verilog, AMS, SystemVerilog (even non-synthesizable)
- custom GUI builder
- application packager
- HDL language agnostic
- specific modules for RTL modification, netlist modification, verification, SoC assembly
They already have a number of customers that they are working with, although as is so often the case, most of them aren’t ready to go on the record. One that is Maxim Integrated who are using Invio to extract information from complex SystemVerilog verification environments.
As Brad, the CEO, summarized it in the press release:
The Invio platform was developed through collaboration with some of the industry’s leading semiconductor companies, which are facing ever increasing pressures to differentiate their designs in shrinking time to market windows. Using Invio, customers have been able to build in-house EDA tools in a fraction of the time typically required, thereby creating highly customized IC design processes.
Invio is available now. More details on Invionics website here.