Japan’s design consortium STARC has set standard 0.1 micron design rules. It plans to create a cell library using these standards by the end of 2002. Twelve participating companies have reportedly agreed to standardize. NEC Electron Devices, Fujitsu and Hitachi say they will use these design rules and cell library. The standardized rules are very close to those put forth by TSMC, so devices based on this cell library can be manufactured at any Japanese fab or by TSMC.
Reusing IP was supposed to make designing system chips more efficient, but because every semiconductor producers’ plants use different process technology, it’s been necessary to continually redo the IP, so reuse hasn’t helped much so far. STARC has been promoting standardized design rules to solve this problem, but it didn’t set its 0.13 micron standards until September 2000, when the leading chip producers had already developed their own different 0.13 micron processes, so the standards weren’t of much help. But since 0.1 micron production won’t start until 2003, these standards should be in time.
–Nikkei Micro Devices