October 23, 2007 08:00 ET

Cadence Encounter Test Helps Enable IBM to Deliver High-Volume Chips

State-of-the-Art Test Capabilities Improve End Product Quality

SAN JOSE, CA--(Marketwire - October 23, 2007) - Cadence Design Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: CDNS), the leader in global electronic-design innovation, today said that it has helped IBM deliver high-quality, high-volume chips for consumer devices by enabling the detection and correction of "small delay defects" -- miniscule defects that are nearly invisible without sophisticated test programs that operate above the normal operating speed of the chip. Most recently, the Cadence Encounter® Test solution was able to help IBM meet its goals for quality and volume production of a high-performance custom chip based on IBM's Power Architecture™ technology.

With consumer electronics taking advantage of more advanced semiconductor technology, the process to test, identify and remove defective parts from the supply chain has become more challenging. By today's standards, a show-stopping defect can be extremely small -- a few atoms wide -- resulting in timing delays as little as a tenth of a nanosecond -- about the time it takes light to travel just a few inches.

The problem, of course, is that finding a defect in a super-small, super-dense and super-fast chip is a significant challenge. To address this problem today, IBM is working with Cadence Design Systems' Encounter Test group.

"The Cadence Encounter Test team has a capability called small delay defect detection," said Ron Martino, director of Power Architecture, IBM Global Engineering Solutions. "What this means is, they can detect a timing delay in a signal that is caused not by a broken wire, but by one that is merely a few atoms thinner than it is supposed to be. The difference in thickness creates a difference in resistivity, which delays the signal for a fraction of a nanosecond. In many high-performance, high-volume applications, that's just too long."

Traditional test methodologies using test vectors can overlook such small delays, enabling test escapes that eventually manifest themselves as consumer product failures. Cadence Encounter Test avoids this problem through Encounter True-Time Test, which accelerates the speed of the device to reveal very small timing delays, much as running an automobile engine at a high RPM will reveal performance issues that would not show up at a lower speed.

"By using the Encounter True-Time Test capability, IBM was able to assure low defect rates for a superscalar chip design," said Sanjiv Taneja, vice president of Encounter Test R&D at Cadence. "This was important for IBM, it's important for their customer, but most of all, it's important for users of high-performance systems, because it demonstrates that there are ways to enable higher quality even as the semiconductor industry moves to smaller and more complex technologies."

The Cadence Encounter Test Solution will be demonstrated at the International Test Conference (ITC) 2007 at the Santa Clara Convention Center, October 23-26, 2007.

About Cadence

Cadence enables global electronic-design innovation and plays an essential role in the creation of today's integrated circuits and electronics. Customers use Cadence software and hardware, methodologies, and services to design and verify advanced semiconductors, consumer electronics, networking and telecommunications equipment, and computer systems. Cadence reported 2006 revenues of approximately $1.5 billion, and has approximately 5,200 employees. The company is headquartered in San Jose, Calif., with sales offices, design centers, and research facilities around the world to serve the global electronics industry. More information about the company, its products, and services is available at

Cadence and Encounter are registered trademarks and the Cadence logo is a trademark of Cadence Design Systems, Inc. in the United States and other countries. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

Contact Information

  • For more information, please contact:
    Dan Holden
    Cadence Design Systems, Inc.
    Direct: 408.944.7457