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Magma Heats Up With Two Mergers

A Silicon Valley-based chip design firm says it is trying to break away from the pack by merging with two other semiconductor support companies.

Magma Design Automation Monday said it will take over the assets of Silicon Metrics (a library/IP characterization company out of Austin, Texas) and Random Logic, which makes 3D software tools for testing integrated circuits. Financial terms were not disclosed for either deal.

Santa Clara, Calif.-based Magma says the mergers were necessary to compete with its chief rivals (Cadence Design, Mentor Graphics, Synopsys) as well as address the next wave of silicon being produced at the 90 nanometer level.

"In the early EDA [electronic design automation] implementations of IC design tools, accuracy of design implementation tools lagged those of the analysis tools," Magma chairman and CEO Rajeev Madhavan said in a statement. "With the adoption of RTL to GDSII, complex designs are done in an integrated flow. Magma, being the technology leader in this space, sees the silicon correlation and modeling issues that affect the design teams and foundries. We have developed several new unique models for crosstalk, glitch, delay and extraction that correlate very accurately to silicon at 90 and 65 nanometers."

Along with these two mergers, Magma also announced it has licensed patents from Circuit Semantics for technology the company developed for in-place cell characterization and chip-level timing analysis for structured-custom methodologies. Magma also hired key technology personnel from Circuit Semantics for Magma's development team.

About 30 percent of the Magma's sales come from NEC and Toshiba. Other customers include Fujitsu, Infineon, and Texas Instruments.

Under the terms of the first merger, Silicon Metrics will become the foundation of Magma's newly created Silicon Correlation Division. Vess Johnson, president and chief executive officer of Silicon Metrics, will now be general manager of the Silicon Correlation Division and report to Magma president and COO Roy Jewell. Magma will also retain the Silicon Metrics sales and support team to support customers using mixed or non-Magma design flows.

The Random Logic transaction will combine the company's QuickCap 3D software with Magma's extraction technology for 2.5D. The technology examines capacitance between layers of metal in multi-metal semiconductor processes.

With the QuickCap assets under Magma's umbrella, Madhavan said his company could now offer a fully integrated RTL-to-GDSII design flow with golden signoff.

"Random Logic's technology will bring two key benefits to Magma," Madhavan said. "First, it will reduce resistance and capacitance extraction correlation efforts significantly in the short term, and over time it will eliminate the need for RC extraction correlation completely. Second, it will reduce the turnaround time required for generation of RC rule decks."

Magma says it also intends to continue support for current QuickCap customers. The enhancements made will be part of Magma's future products that will help create libraries, models and accurate silicon correlation for the EDA industry.

"QuickCap has proven to be a fast, accurate and robust solution," said Random Logic vice president and director of Research and Development Ralph Iverson. "QuickCap's capabilities include self capacitance, coupling capacitance, distributed capacitance, Manhattan and non-Manhattan structures, exclusion of device capacitance, 2D and 3D calculations, and multiple conformal and planar dielectrics. Combining QuickCap and parallel distributed operations with Magma's 2.5D algorithms will provide a unique signoff analysis flow with optimal accuracy-speed tradeoff for IC designers."

Editor's note: A previous version of the story incorrectly identified Random Logic's headquarters. The company is based in .