Shift left: what it does and how to make it happen

By TDF Editor |  No Comments  |  Posted: September 28, 2023
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The ‘shift left’ concept is easy to describe overall but specific benefits are more nuanced and the technique can be hard to implement.

Moving checks forward into floorplanning and place & route (P&R) and even intellectual property (IP) block design can catch many of the unexpected problems that have historically been uncovered during physical verification (PV). Done well, shift left saves PV iterations and can greatly cut time-to-market.

A newly-updated white paper from Siemens EDA sets out the specific advantages available to design and verification engineers from a shift left at various parts of a flow. Specifically, it addresses the options available to hard, soft and custom IP designers, as well as digital block, P&R and routing engineers.

But, as author John Ferguson, product management director, points out, “When designers or P&R engineers don’t get the results or the runtimes they expect [from the technique], the root cause is often an improper setup, insufficient hardware allocation, or a suboptimal use model.”

He goes on to describe how the Calibre nmPlatform seeks to take much of the complexity out of a shift left implementation.

“Including ML/AI techniques in the Calibre nmPlatform enables a reversal of the typical setup process,” Ferguson explains.

“Rather than having to be familiar with invocation options and setup configurations, designers and P&R engineers can simply specify where they are in the design flow, or what their business objectives are.

“Underlying Calibre intelligence uses that information to determine the optimal setup, check selection, and hardware requirements, whether that is for the verification of a custom cell design, a large standard cell block right after placement, or after the first iteration of assembling all the intellectual property (IP) into a full chip layout.”

This, the paper argues, frees up various flow participants to concentrate on trickier challenges while greatly boosting project efficiency.

‘What does shift with Calibre mean for IC designers?’ is available for download here.

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