Moving to a new manufacturing process is becoming harder and more complicated with each new node. The circuits become more complex and the fabs are having a hard time getting yields up. ARM has therefore acquired the company Prolific to speed up and make the transition to new nodes easier.

Prolific is a company that develops software tools for optimizing circuits and circuit designs, to reduce development times and increase performance. Prolific is a private company that is now acquired by ARM for an unknown amount of money.

ARM says that as we approach 20nm and less, more complicated manufacturing processes increase the need for automated tools for circuit layouts. ARM has been working together with Prolific for years and says the company is world class when it comes to optimizing performance, energy consumption, circuit size and reducing development times.

Traditionally AMD and Intel have always made their circuits by hand, that is they have shaped every transistor and transistor layout. This is the best way to get the best performance and lowest energy cosnumption as possible, in combination with the smallest print as possible. Both AMD and Intel use automated tools, but the most vital parts are still done by hand. The problem with developing transistors and circuit layouts by hand is that it takes a very long time developing with circuits consisting of billions of transistors.

”Prolific has a long history of improving the efficiency of complex physical design process flows,” said Paul de Dood, President and Founder of Prolific, Inc. ”The ARM partnership will benefit from faster time to market for advanced node solutions through the addition of Prolific’s leading-edge optimization tools, which enable optimum power, performance and area with accelerated development timelines,” Paul de Dood, founder of Prolific.

While ARM is currently not making circuits on the same scale as AMD and Intel, the design rules for advanced manufacturing processes are an important part of the equation. With automated tools you can shorten the time needed to get a product on to the market by months, even more sometimes. Prolifics’ tools and intellectual property will be used by ARM, but will be available to partners that develop ARM-based system processors.

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