GlobalFoundries continues chip design’s transition to the cloud

Putting silicon in the cloud so you can design silicon in the cloud

The continued march of chip design tools into the cloud has received another endorsement, this time from GlobalFoundries, the fourth largest chip manufacturer in the world.

Cadence Design Systems, a major provider of semiconductor design applications, said on Thursday that GlobalFoundries has qualified the company's cloud-based software for Amazon Web Services on the chipmaker's 22FDX manufacturing technology, which is used to make low-power 22nm chips for networking, wearables, and automotive products, among others.

Cadence said cloud-based tools can help chip designers figure out how to create silicon blueprints that meet the optimal power, performance and area targets faster. This will enable companies using its manufacturing processes to make better products and release them in the market sooner, according to GlobalFoundries.

"Building on the success of our 22FDX design flow with the Cadence digital solution, our ongoing collaboration takes us to the next level with a fully cloud-based implementation that provides flexibility and performance for our joint customers," said Mark Ireland, GlobalFoundries' veep of ecosystem and design solutions.

One chip designer cited by Cadence that has benefited is Xenergic, which said it was 5x more productive in taping out a low-power memory test chip using Cadence's cloud-based design flow.

"We were successfully able to scale cloud resources during peak needs, and we look forward to continuing to leverage this solution from Cadence, GF and AWS to accelerate development times with our forthcoming low-power product designs," Xenergic CEO Babak Mohammadi said.

GlobalFoundries' qualification of Cadence's tools on AWS comes after the chipmaker last fall qualified its 22FDX manufacturing technology for cloud-based design tools made by Cadence's rival, Synposys.

The moves represent a bigger trend of chip designers transitioning electronic design automation workloads to cloud services. In December 2020, for instance, chip designer Arm said it had migrated production-level EDA workloads to Arm-based AWS cloud instances, which allowed it to reduce the costs and complexities associated with chip design while also improving performance by 6x. NXP Semiconductors has also moved all of its chip design workloads to AWS. ®

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