By Stephen Nellis
(Reuters) -Synopsys Inc on Wednesday rolled out new artificial intelligence tools designed to get better results faster in the various stages of designing computing chips.
Synopsys makes software that companies use to design computing chips. Modern chips have tens of billions of tiny on-off switches called transistors, and their precise arrangement on the chip has a big impact on the chip’s cost and performance, so designers use software from companies like Synopsys to help.
Synopsys first released an AI tool for one part of the chip design process three years ago, and with customers like Samsung Electronics Co Ltd and ST Microelectronics using the system.
The tools Synopsys released on Wednesday at its annual user conference in Santa Clara, California, spread much further across the chip design process. They are aimed at helping engineers hunt for bugs in their designs, test physical sample chips from manufacturing partners and, once mass production has begun, boost the proportion of defect-free chips coming off the production line.
Synopsys also released a tool to make it easier to move analog chip designs from one manufacturing partner to the other. Such moves have traditionally been expensive and time-consuming.
Sassine Ghazi, president and chief operating officer of Synopsys, said that the dual hit of a chip supply chain crunch and U.S. export controls on doing business has chip executives looking for more options.
“Every CEO was looking for an alternative. Nobody wants to be caught off guard if someone says you cannot use the Chinese or Taiwanese,” Ghazi said.
Synopsys CEO Aart de Geus said the company plans to invest more in AI tools in the coming years as the semiconductor industry shifts toward what are know as chiplets – multiple chips stacked and stitched together to create larger, more complicated chips.
“When you design multiple chips that are literally sort of glued together, you don’t design them in isolation,” he said in an interview during the conference. “You optimize them together.”
(Reporting by Stephen Nellis in San Francisco; editing by Jonathan Oatis and Marguerita Choy)