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Methodics CEO on Managing Design Quality!

Methodics CEO on Managing Design Quality!
by Daniel Nenni on 05-14-2013 at 8:05 pm

Methodics is new to SemiWiki and I have to tell you I’m really enjoying working with them. Their office is in a great location and the inovation spirit runs strong. Simon Butler is an interesting guy. He first started in EDA with HLD (acquired by Cadence) and was a founder at Sabio Labs (acquired by Magma). In between those startups he found time to work on FFT processors at Fujitsu, 64bit Microprocessors with Sandcraft, and was the architect behind Cadence’s Virtuoso Custom Design product (Cadence’s solution that wrapped a qualified methodology around Cadence’s mixed-signal/analog tools). His interest in software configuration management led him to develop VersIC and to get involved in the data management space, an area (in his opinion) ripe for innovation.

Q: What are the specific custom IC design challenges your customers are facing?

Managing and sharing data across multi-site teams, managing the quality of releases in terms of completeness and verifications, and ultimately assembling SoC designs.

Q: What does Methodics do?

Methodics develops Semiconductor and System Specific DM tools that leverage popular software configuration tools such as Subversion and Perforce. Our innovation was to build SoC specific tools on top of these proven DM solutions so that customers can use their existing data repositories and implement a common data management infrastructure across all their design. A common repository for their RTL data, Design Data, software etc means that making releases, automating SoC assembly and harvesting analytics on a single platform a reality.

The Methodics portfolio of tools includes:

1. VersIC – Analog/Mixed-Signal data management
We provide Cadence and Synopsys solutions to integrate the analog/mixed-signal design environment into the popular Subversion and Perforce configuration management tools

2. Evolve – Digital verification and release management
Evolve manages all aspects of digital design and verification. It includes a framework for running tests and regressions, an integrated continuous-integration style release server, and coverage management features. Evolve tracks all verification activity in a SQL database, and ties it all together with live testplans and reporting dashboards. Evolve implements all items that most front-end design professionals wish they had in their verification infrastructure, out of the box.

3. ProjectIC –IP/SoC Management
ProjectIC is an enterprise IP management platform. ProjectIC enables true IP re-use across the organization by providing a flexible, searchable, IP catalog, integrated IP usage tracking, workspace management and IP permissions. With ProjectIC, companies can put together integrated, robust flows for sharing IP across teams – saving time, money and significant management overhead.

Q: Why did you start Methodics?

After we left Cadence, myself and my cofounder (Fergus Slorach) had a busy consulting business in the mixed-signal design space 2000-2006 developing new EDA tools, integrating existing 3rd party tools into the Custom IC design environment and implementing mixed-signal CAD methodologies. Integration of Perforce and Subversion was a common theme during that period so we wrote VersIC as an initial foray into the DM space. This business has grown from a Mixed-Signal/Analog data-management solution to a full enterprise solution for IP/SoC assembly

Q: How does Methodics help with your customers’ custom IC design challenges?

Methodics leverages industry standard configuration management tools such as Perforce and Subversion to track changes, manage releases and build workspaces for large multi-site teams. Methodics includes data management clients for both analog and digital design teams including dashboards with integration metrics, test history all tied to releases.

Q: What are the tool flows your customers are using?

Our customers use a variety of mixed-signal flows. We have customers focused only on analog design and those people are typically using VersIC standalone. Some of our customers have “Big A, Little D” methodologies with a single place and route block in the design. For those customers the ability to maintain both their analog and digital data in a single repository, and use the standard software clients for Subversion/Perforce make for a very convenient methodology. We see a lot of traction with our VersIC/ProjectIC tool for managing these blocks at either the IP or library level. Finally amongst our “Big D, Little A” customers we see a lot of VersIC/Evolve usage for managing the design data with ProjectIC used to assemble the overall SoC.

Q: What is the roadmap for Methodics?

Methodics acquired Missing Link Tools in mid 2012 and have been working on integrating their multisite RTL test history and regression management tools into our IP/SoC management solutions. Our vision is a common platform for managing analog and digital designs including a full test/regression history database that associates every release with the set of failing/passing regressions.

Q: Will you be at the Design Automation Conference this year?

Yes, we’ll be in Austin this year demoing our VersIC Analog Regressions and Release tool suite, as well as our analog/digital DM solutions and our IP/SoC assembly platform.

Q: Where can readers get more information?



Methodics, Inc is a leading developer of design data management (DM) tools for IC’s, and is the first company to offer a tool suite for global IC design collaboration. Providing standard software configuration management (SCM) functionality on an advanced modular platform that enables hardware design methodologies in a version-controlled context, the new Methodics solution represents a revolutionary approach to global design collaboration.

Methodics Inc has developed the VersIC 2.0 platform, a DM tool that abstracts the backend database allowing easy integration of industry standard SCM tools and facilitating software-style methodologies in the custom IC design environment. The VersIC 2.0 platform allows plug-in modules that extend the data-management functionality to design reviews, diff/merge of cellviews, continuous integration methodologies and others, enhancing the global design collaboration experience for its users.

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