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Date: 08-06-16

IOT VLSI IC design: Access to ARM Cortex-M0 processor and EDA tools on cloud

ARM Cortex-M0 processor, the 32 bit CPU core which dealt a significant blow to less power effecient 8 bit microcontroller CPU architecture is now free to try for your new IoT or any such chip. Through an online portal called DesignStart, Chip designers can now get a free access to ARM Cortex-M0 processor and affordable complete VLSI IC design EDA tool from Mentor Graphics and Cadence, where one can evaluate the design flow on a reference design at no cost. Finally EDA software tools on cloud have arrived, where access to IP, EDA tools are available in a single collaborated environment. The service called Tanner AMS Virtual lab from Mentor Graphics allows VLSI design engineers to try Tanner analog and mixed signal design on a virtual cloud platform. Tanner AMS Virtual Lab URL is: https://www.mentor.com/tannereda/downloads/tanner-ams-vlab

Cadence Design Systems also joined the ARM DesignStart program to provide tools and IP for designs incorporating the Cortex-M0 processor. In partnership with ARM DesignStart, Cadence is offering cloud computerlike EDA design set up, where VLSI chip design engineers can login to this software-as-a-service (SaaS) design environment from anywhere and any time. The Cadence Web address to know more on this is: http://ip.cadence.com/applications/arm

ARM Cortex-M0 processor related design-outsourcing kind of services information is also made available on the DesignStart portal. The new ARM approved design partner program provides DesignStart users with a global list of audited design houses for expert support during development. Electronics/VLSI design services companies such as Sondrel, Open-Silicon, eInfochips, after going through ARM's auditing process are suggested for design partnering by ARM.

Well, the design support is not all that free, to commercialise the product you can buy a simplified and standardized $40,000 fast track license.

Mentor Graphics' Tanner design flow supports digital, analog, analog and mixed signal, and MEMS design in end-to-end flow. Mentor suggests chip designers can capture the schematic, perform analog and mixed-signal simulation, and lay out and verify the physical design. This design flow offers a complete, processor-based IoT chip environment.

Nandan Nayampally, vice president of marketing and strategy, CPU Group at ARM gave a talk covering this subject at the 53rd design automation conference recently held in Austin, Texas, USA.

"After evaluation, customers can easily purchase the specially-priced software from Tanner to begin creating their own IoT designs and combine this with the free Cortex-M0 design access available on the ARM DesignStart portal." said in the release by Mentor Graphics.

ARM Artisan physical IP can also be accessed at The DesignStart portal http://designstart.arm.com.

Wonder why there is no-presence number one EDA software vendor Synopsys in this collaboration, we will try to find out and report in our next article.

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