“Compared with the chip design powerhouses, China’s chip design capabilities are undoubtedly relatively weak. But in recent years, my country’s chip design is on the rise. In order to improve everyone’s understanding of the chip design process, this article specially introduces the reverse design process of chip design. The formal content is as follows.
Compared with the chip design powerhouses, China’s chip design capabilities are undoubtedly relatively weak. But in recent years, my country’s chip design is on the rise. In order to improve everyone’s understanding of the chip design process, this article specially introduces the reverse design process of chip design. The formal content is as follows.
1. Detailed introduction of reverse design
The market competition in the modern IC industry is very fierce, and all products are changing with each passing day, so that IC design companies must continue to develop new products to maintain the competitiveness of their own enterprises. IC design companies often have to enter a completely unfamiliar application and technology field according to market demand, which is a high-risk investment behavior. And timely understanding of the cost and technical advantages of similar competitors’ chips has become an inevitable task.
What is chip reverse design? Reverse design is actually chip reverse design? It is through the extraction, analysis and arrangement of the internal circuit of the chip to achieve in-depth understanding of chip technology principles, design ideas, process manufacturing, structural mechanisms, etc. Insights can be used to verify design frameworks or analyze technical problems in information flow, and can also help new chip designs or product design solutions.
The significance of chip reverse engineering: The market competition in the modern IC industry is very fierce, and all products are changing with each passing day, so that each IC design company must continue to develop new products to maintain the competitiveness of their own enterprises. IC design companies often have to enter a completely unfamiliar application and technology field according to market demand, which is a high-risk investment behavior. And timely understanding of the cost and technical advantages of similar competitors’ chips has become an inevitable task. If getting engineers to design circuits in the most efficient way in the shortest time is the hardest problem to solve, reverse engineering seems to be one of the solutions. Reverse engineering can restore the entire IC from packaging to circuit layout, using the internal structure, size, material, manufacturing and steps to restore one by one, and can restore circuit layout to circuit design through circuit extraction.
At present, the design of foreign integrated circuits is very mature, and the latest foreign technology has reached 10nm, while China is in the development period, and the latest technology has reached 28nm. I will not say anything about the development of integrated circuits. There is information on the Internet. For IC designers, it is very helpful to understand the whole process of IC design. However, there does not seem to be a slightly detailed introduction to the entire IC design process on the Internet. It is only roughly divided into four major sections: design, manufacturing, testing, and packaging. Some information introductions appear to be scattered. It only talks about a certain detail alone, and some only talk about the use of a certain tool software without knowing which process the software is used in, and the tool software that may be used in each process is not very clear (this point of view is only Conclusions drawn from personal experience are not necessarily true).
Chip forward design and reverse design. At present, several large design companies in the world are mainly based on forward design, and reverse design is only used to check whether other companies are plagiarizing. Of course, the original purpose of chip reverse engineering was to prevent chips from being copied, but it later evolved into a solution adopted by small companies to design chips faster and more cost-effectively. At present, more and more companies in China are gradually shifting to forward design, and are gradually getting rid of their dependence on reverse design. Of course, there are many companies in the early stages of development, and there are also many natural reverse designs. This article starts with the chip reverse design and concludes.
“If a worker wants to do a good job, he must first sharpen his tools.” With the continuous development of integrated circuits, whether it is chip forward design or reverse design, their dependence on tools is becoming stronger and stronger. Therefore, before we start talking about the design process, let’s take a look. In the end, we will use to which main tools and auxiliary software.
2. Main tool software
When it comes to design tools, we have to mention the three major EDA manufacturers – cadence, synopsys, mentor. The software of the three companies covers almost all the tools available in the chip design process. The first is cadence company. The company’s most important IC design tools mainly include candence IC series, including IC 5141 (the latest version is IC617), NC_VERILOG (verilog simulation), SPECTRE (analog simulation), ENCOUNTER (automatic layout and routing) And so on, synopsys is most famous for its synthesis tool design complier, timing analysis tool prime TIme, simulation tool hspice, etc.; Mentor’s most famous tools are calibre (layout DRC LVS check), modelsim (verilog simulation).
These are the most commonly used tools for IC design, both forward and reverse. Of course, with the update iteration of the software version, the name of the software may change, not the names mentioned above. In addition, these tools are mainly concentrated on the operating system with linux as the kernel, mainly represented by Red Hat. Therefore, it is still necessary to learn the knowledge of unixlinux-like operating systems. This type of system is very different from the windows system. If you want to learn to use these software, you must first learn the relevant knowledge of these operating systems. There are many specific information on the Internet. Some tools have windows version, such as hspice, Modelsim.
3. Auxiliary tool software
Of course, in addition to the IC design tools of the three major EDA manufacturers, the software quartus ii, ISE, and KEIL development environment of the three companies, Altera, Xilinx, and Keil Software, are all indispensable tools in the IC design process. They are used for the development of FPGA, microcontroller & ARM chips respectively. This kind of software will be useful in the CP test of the chip and the development of the chip application scheme.
Layout extraction tools, NetEditorLite, ChipAnalyzer, these two tools are mainly for chip reverse design.
Algorithm design tool, MATLAB, this tool has a wide range of applications, but for chip design, it is more suitable for algorithm prototyping, for example, communication algorithms.
PCB layout tools, AlTIum Designer, Orcad, Allegro. Among them, currently Orcad and Allegro are the main software in the cadence circuit system design suite, and AlTIum Designer is the most commonly used software, its predecessor is Protel.
Labview and SourceMeter, this pair of software and hardware is mainly used for semi-automatic testing of chip electrical parameters, especially for analog chips. Its purpose is for chip design companies to analyze chip sample parameters.