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A Brief History of Methodics

A Brief History of Methodics
by Daniel Nenni on 04-21-2013 at 8:15 pm

Methodics was founded in 2006 by 2 ex-Cadence experts in the Custom IC design tools space, Simon Butler and Fergus Slorach. They had a consulting company called IC Methods, active in Silicon Valley from 2000-2006, and when they needed to create a new company to service a consulting engagement that had turned into a product, they inverted the name and Methodics was born!

Simon Butler, CEO…..Fergus Slorach, CTO

The original goal was to provide DM interfaces to the Cadence design tools suite to allow the more liberal use of software methodologies in a hardware design environment. Software developers have traditionally been more sophisticated in areas like data management. There are orders of magnitude more users on tools like Subversion, Perforce, Git and others. By building on top of these industry standard solutions Methodics can leverage the much larger software developer space with all the associated benefits of scalability and an extended ecosystem.

First Customer
The first customer was Netlogic Microsystems. Methodics provided Perforce/Cadence data management for 6 design centers across the US and India.

The markets for IC data management tools are growing – Custom IC design is seeing some major growth with the popularity of smart phones. SoC’s in general are becoming more complex and require better management processes to scale.

The alternative to using data management tools are making manual design copies and manually assembling SoC’s, however these approaches don’t really scale and are not practical with todays designs

Today Methodics has 3 main areas of development. Design data management tools for layout and schematic designers, SoC IP management and IP reuse/integration, and RTL design data management, test/regression and release management

VersIC™ – Design Data Management for layout/schematic designers. VersIC was the first Methodics product and integrates Subversion or Perforce in the Cadence Virtuoso and Synopsys Custom Designer tools-suites. VersIC allows a user to version control their data from within the design environment without any required knowledge of the underlying DM tools. Multi-site teams are supported using the underlying proxy mechanisms available in Subversion/Perforce which yield fast, scaleable data distribution for large IC project data-sets.

Fig.1 VersIC overview

ProjectIC™ – SoC/IP management for designers and integrators. ProjectIC is an enterprise solution for releasing IP’s and cataloging them for reuse, SoC integration, tracking bugs across IP’s and managing permissions. ProjectIC also allows comprehensive auditing of IP usage and user workspaces. With ProjectIC managers can assemble configurations of qualified releases as part of the larger SoC and make this available for designers to build their workspaces. Workspace management is a key technology within ProjectIC and data is populated in minimal time using IP caching and parallel syncs.

 Fig.2 ProjectIC Overview

Evolve™ – RTL test, regression and release management. In 2012 Methodics acquired Missing Link Tools, the developers of Evolve – a test/regressions and release management tool focused on the digital space. Evolve supports Subversion, Perforce and CVS DM systems with a Evolve tracks the entire design test history and provides audit capabilities on what tests were run, when and by whom. These are associated with DM releases and provide a way to gate releases based on the required quality for that point in the designs schedule.

 Fig.3 Evolve Overview

With these 3 established areas of technology Methodics is uniquely placed to deliver the industries first complete solution for analog/digital design.

Tool Users

IC layout and schematic designers can use the standalone VersIC tool. IP designers, SoC integrators and project managers would use ProjectIC, finally digital designers would use Evolve.