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Vol 23, No. 11, November 2019For e-subscribers (PDF)
Novel AI chip design platform to boost semiconductor industry
Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) research team has developed an AI platform to transform the multi-billion-dollar global integrated circuit (IC) design industry.

The research team from A*STAR’s Institute of Microelectronics (IME) has devised a way to design ICs using an AI platform. Conventional methods of designing ICs is a manual and laborious process that relies on trial-and-error to achieve design goals.

Overcoming these obstacles is A*STAR’s Smart IC Design with Learning Enablement (SMILE) AI platform that uses machine learning to automate these complex processes. This platform is able to augment the circuit design process to improve productivity and quality. On top of that, it can perform design space exploration, enable rapid IP development, and accelerated and automated design closure in the absence of an experienced designer.

Having been deployed internally within the A*STAR laboratories, researchers were able to experience two times silicon-proven performance boost compared to the best human optimized design.

The AI platform is the combination of integrated circuit design and electronic design and automation (EDA) expertise from the Institute of Microelectronics (IME), and AI algorithms from the Institute for InfoComm Research (I²R).

By employing state-of-the-art AI semi-supervised learning, and an algorithm unique to A*STAR, the system is able to improve its learning accuracy with a significantly less amount of training data. In conjunction with EDA to capture prior knowledge of the circuits and suggest an optimised solution, SMILE is a smart system which balances the trade-offs in speed, area, power, and overall performance.

“With this novel technology, we can advance science in the wider ecosystem and give the semiconductor industry a boost in productivity. Companies can leverage A*STAR’s technologies to scale up and remain competitive.” said Prof Dim-Lee Kwong, Executive Director of IME.

This development will benefit semiconductor design industries, ranging from IP development and fabless IC design companies, as it will greatly improve the productivity of the research and development of integrated circuits, and reduce the time to push the product to the market.

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