By Kenneth Chang
Core Comp Technical Leader
I remember a couple of years ago, when Conformal ECO was first born. It was revolutionary - that's what customers were telling us during our presentation, no kidding. At the same time, people who had bad experiences in the past with any kind of ECO automation, the doubters, said automation would never fly ... blah blah blah.
Cadence's Conformal team worked hard after listening to customers, and proved them wrong.
2 years later, I sit here proudly, and can say that a good number of customers are very happy to have Conformal ECO as a choice in their design flow. Some presented at CDNLive (even one large company who presented a paper showing C-ECO being run over 100 times - you can download their awesome paper from cadence.com, ping me if you can't find them after logging in). Some of my customers completely adore it. They adored it so much, they wanted more. Ahhh ... so the question is, what did they exactly want more of?
A number one pain point for customers was post-mask ECOs. One of the more stressful situations is when you're in the post-mask mode, you're already late in schedule for your chip (surprise surprise :) ), and you have pressure to complete an ECO (or many ECOs) that you believe will take a long time (or near impossible task). If you're unlucky, the ECO is on a path that is timing critical. To add to that, you are of course further constrainted to the spare cells (and maybe some freed cells, by choice, or resulting from your ECOs).
So away churned the same group who created Conformal ECO.
Here we are today:
Conformal ECO with Physical Awareness ... tah dah!
I'm sure that being new, it will have its 'baby aches'. But like Conformal ECO non-physical, we work hard with our customers to listen, so I'm looking forward to working with customers to make Conformal ECO Physical as successful as Conformal ECO that had its own initial challenges that we overcame with customer vision, support, and confidence. Personally, I've worked with a number of customers to make their ECO flow successful, and on methodologies, including work on a number of tapeouts, like Sid Alman's Conformal ECO paper. I can't wait to make this new capability run smoothly in a variety of flows.
As some of my customers say, "I want to see my kids on the weekend. Thank you C-ECO!"
If interested, contact your local Cadence person for more details. :)