Mercury, Mentor developing Cell BE based platform

November 29, 2006 – Mercury Computer Systems Inc. and Mentor Graphics have agreed to jointly develop an integrated electronic design automation (EDA) platform based on the Cell Broadband Engine (BE) processor, which was developed by IBM, Sony, and Toshiba for the Sony Playstation 3 video game console and other consumer electronics devices.

Computation required to complete the 45nm and below RET flow has risen from 5x-20x that of the 65nm flow, accounting for larger devices, larger optical diameters, more model kernels, through-process simulation, and more compute-intensive process modeling, the companies said. Even if critical layer jobs can complete on standard farms, the turn-around time (TAT) is unacceptable, and the number of CPUs and licenses are too costly — plus companies moving to 45nm also want to preserve their current hardware investment.

Migrating Mentor Graphics’ Calibre OPC product to Mercury’s Cell BE processor-based high-performance compute cluster results in “more than an order of magnitude performance improvement for the new-generation platform,” the companies claim. The new platform, combining a standard compute cluster with the Cell BE processor, aims to deliver up to a 20x increase in compute capacity and speed now required for resolution enhancement tool (RET) applications at and below 45nm.

“Increasing complexity across the entire IC design flow puts tremendous pressure on hardware platforms,” said Walden Rhines, CEO, Mentor Graphics, in a statement. “Mercury’s Cell BE compute cluster holds great promise to relieve this pressure while protecting the existing investment in hardware.”


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