Company Backgrounder

Incorporated in 1998, PicoCraft initially provided design consulting services. As we observed the same challenges on different chips that current tools did not address, we developed GPP, a general purpose profiling tool for mapping clock domains and managing asynchronous clock domain crossing signals. GPP was based on a patented technology to efficiently analyze large scale SOC designs in the full chip capacity.

Because either PrimeTime® or Einstimer™ was already in use for detailed path delay analysis, GPP was designed to complement and extend existing static timing tools. In particular:

  • GPP works directly from PrimeTime configuration files.
  • GPP offers a fast full chip CDC analysis.
  • GPP can validate each mode in the case analysis set and provide a profile of the direction and magnitude of clock domain interactions.
  • In addition to basic clock propagation integrity checks, GPP automates root cause analysis for missing control signals.

We believe that a new EDA market segment is emerging around the need to analyze and manage clock interactions in high performance SoC’s. This is a challenge related to but distinct from detailed timing analysis, complicated by several design trends that we believe will continue to accelerate over the next two to three process nodes:

  • Increasingly complex power management schemes are proliferating the number of distinct operating modes that need to be analyzed.
  • Higher levels of integration are increasing the number of distinct interfaces, each with their own on chip clocking and synchronization requirement.
  • Clock trees are consuming a higher fraction of chip logic and require separate analysis that is aware of physical implementation and on chip variation effects.

Traditional static timing tool development teams remain focused on calculating detailed timing that is highly correlated with Spice. New entrants are relying either on formal methods that work from pre-layout RTL but lack the capacity for full chip analysis or structural pattern recognition techniques that require naming conventions or a distinct set of cell models to work. GPP is unique in leveraging existing static timing models to build high level clock interaction representations from the physical implementation of a full chip.

Note: PrimeTime® is a registered trademark of Synopsys, Einstimer™ is a trademark of IBM