A CAD flow is a software that allows steps in the design process to be executed automatically and repeatedly with minimal user interaction. A CAD flow can be as simple as a shell script or a makefile that will compile, elaborate and simulate a design every time you update the Verilog file. Or as complex as a regression environment that selectively runs only necessary tests when certain design components/IPs are modified and do it nightly on the compute farms, and if compute is not available, it will run on the public cloud, and switching to different simulators if the license is not available, and etc., etc.

Inhouse: develop it yourself
Outsource: find a third party to build it to your specifications
Service: get it from BCI
BCI offers both CAD outsourcing and CAD-as-service option

CAD flow needs to be customized to fit different methodologies, infrastructure, tool vendors, foundries, IP providers, designs, company policies, access controls, or in some cases, tool licensing models. For example, a verification flow for UVM core base verification VS SoC-based verification could be different. RTL2GDS flow for TSMC 10nm VS Samsung 14nm, Synopsys tools VS Cadence tools, or in-house compute servers VS public could be very different.

Sell CAD-as-service! With decades of experience in CAD flow development, BCI has identified common capabilities that best-in-class CAD flows should have and created a proprietary framework called Dagogo that contains these capabilities. BCI then uses Dagogo to pre-built a common flow like verification flow, emulation flow, synthesis flow, RTL2GDS flow, etc. BCI can quickly customize these pre-built flows to meet any customer requirements. BCI also provides support, maintenance, enhancement, and training to ensure successful adoption and deployment at customer sites.

The main difference is ownership of the flow.  

By outsourcing CAD to BCI, the CAD solution developed by BCI can be partially or completely owned by you.  

  • Complete ownership means you can request BCI to develop the solution from scratch or start with your existing flow/solutions.  You will completely own the result.
  • Partial ownership means using a pre-implemented flow from BCI and customizing it to fit your needs.  The customization part can be owned by you, while the based pre-implemented flow will continue to be owned by BCI.

By using BCI as CAD services,  you are choosing not to own the flow and, as a result, reduce the cost and effort required by owning the flow (see the total cost of flow ownership below).  But what you gain is the capabilities that come with Dagogo.

CAD flow may start out as simple shell scripts or makefiles that you can create in hours or days.  But as your needs grow, such as

  • Adding new tools
  • Adding new methodologies (design explorations, verification regression, functional safety, design for test, design for yield, etc.)
  • Adding new infrastructure (Compute farm (LSF), Cloud, emulators, prototyping board, etc.)
  • Adding more users
  • Adding more features/capabilities (license optimization, disk space optimization, etc.)

Those few lines of shell scripts of simple makefiles will start to look like a software project.  For example, a verification regression flow for a successful semiconductor company can consist of 10,000+ lines of python/Perl code.  Owning such software would require teams of engineers, regular bug/enhancement support, training, etc.

No.  We see ourselves as complementing the existing CAD teams/solutions.  BCI helps take over mundane tasks like flow development, maintenance, or support so that the existing CAD team can focus on delivering higher value for your company.

No.  You can think of BCI as your CAD resource.

No.  BCI’s pre-built flow has been qualified with certain tools, infrastructure, and methodologies.  The pre-built flow will work right out of the box if those qualification criteria meet your requirements.

Unlike typical design service companies that deliver implementation/verification of the customers’ designs, BCI delivers repeatable flow and automation that customers can use to implement/verify the design.  However, BCI CAD-as-service also covers the flow’s support, training, and deployment.  This means customers can view CAD-as-services as a support team to help them implement/verify the design.  From these differences, we do not consider ourselves a design service company.

No.  BCI’s Dagogo framework allows your secret recipe to be a plugin into the flow as a black box, hidden from BCI and flow users.  In addition, Dagogo’s collaboration capability (see product spec) allows those plugins to be easily managed, deployed, maintained, and supported by the recipe owner. 

Typically BCI is CAD (additional CAD team if there is an in-house CAD team) for the users.

BCI will triage the problem, and if there is a tool issue, BCI will work directly with the vendor to help resolve it. Some customers prefer to work with the vendor directly after BCI has triaged the issue. We are open to either support model. BCI is not a competitor to EDA vendors so EDA vendors can work with us closely.

Currently, we are supporting one of our customers “as” their CAD team and directly talking to the vendor to resolve any issues.