Industry News

Design Chain Solution for Silicon-on-Insulator Technology

IBM, ARM and Cadence Collaborate to Provide Chip and System Designers Access to Key IP

chip wafer

Boston, MASS., March 23, 2010 – The SOI Industry Consortium today announced the launch of its “Ready for SOI Technology” program, a global initiative to broaden access to energy-efficient silicon-on-insulator (SOI) technology for the electronics industry. With this program an initial offering of SOI intellectual property has been provided by IBM, ARM, and Cadence Design Systems. More IP has been added by Boeing and Synopsys, with an invitation extended to other developers to add to the growing SOI IP ecosystem.

According to Horacio Mendez, executive director of the SOI Industry Consortium, SOI process technology can provide up to 30 percent chip performance improvement and 40 percent power reduction compared to bulk silicon technology. Since SoI is hardly a new process, Low-Power Design asked Mendez why it's taken so long to catch on. His answer was that bulk CMOS has been cheaper and widely supported but at smaller geometries you absolutely have to go to SoI to keep limit leakage and be able to live within constrained power budgets. Today's announcement "is an important step towards the formation of a complete ecosystem to enable designers to take full advantage of the benefits of SOI technology," said Mendez.

SOI is widely used today in market leading products found in data centers, offices, vehicles, homes and elsewhere in applications for computing, storage and networking, as well as for graphics-intensive game consoles. The Ready for SOI program is now making necessary design building blocks available to a broader population of chip designers seeking to harness SOI technology’s benefits for new applications, including mobile and consumer products.

A key enabler for this effort is the new SOI Portal hosted on the site at The SOI Portal provides chip designers access to available design building blocks and to the companies supporting chip development on SOI processes.

“ has become a critical resource to over 26,000 registered SoC designers by providing central access to over 200 of the world’s largest IP suppliers and foundries,” said Adam Traidman, General Manager at Cadence. “Our new SOI micro-site will serve as an invaluable resource to designers wishing to explore the benefits of SOI technology for their chip design projects.”

To help IP and chip designers transition to SOI, the Ready for SOI program is sponsoring SOI Jump Start Training. This special training event will be hosted by Cadence on April 28, 2010 at the Cadence Engineering Center Auditorium, in San Jose, CA. Jump Start Training will also be available as both a live and recorded webcast.  

 “We are removing a barrier to industry adoption by giving all chip designers access to the benefits of SOI, not just those working for integrated device manufacturers and high-end ASIC developers,” said Horacio Mendez.  “Through the enablement provided by ARM’s SOI libraries and EDA tool suppliers, a vast range of synthesizable IP is now easily portable to SOI technology and physical IP can be readily ported or designed using industry standard tools.”

Designers can take advantage of IBM’s SOI foundry offering with embedded DRAM. IBM’s SOI technology with eDRAM is a key enabler for multi-core processors and other integrated circuits and can result in improved systems performance and energy savings for a range of applications including networking, printer, storage, consumer and mobile products.

“IBM was the first company to ship SOI products and we are now in our seventh generation of this leading technology,” said Michael Cadigan, general manager, IBM Microelectronics Division. “Through this collaboration with ARM, Cadence and other suppliers, we are providing an open design system and a proven supply chain to bring the significant performance and power-saving advantages of SOI technology to clients developing mobile and other system-on-chip applications.”

The SOI Industry Consortium invites all chip designers to evaluate the advantages of SOI for their next design by visiting the SOI Portal at Digital, analog and mixed-signal IP suppliers are invited to participate in listing their offerings on the SOI Portal. Designers worldwide are invited to register and attend the SOI Jump Start training on April 28, 2010, with the option of attending a live event in Silicon Valley hosted by Cadence, or online in a simulcast or recorded webinar.

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