Irish tech firm invests €450k in circuit design R&D


9 Dec 2009

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Irish technology firm IC Mask Design, whose customers include Fortune 500 companies, is set to invest almost half a million euros in research and development, specifically looking at software for the acceleration and semi-automation of the circuit-design process.

This investment, with support from Enterprise Ireland, will be spread out over the next three years and will push the business from a services-based one in the semiconductor space to the higher technology end of electronic design automation.

Innovative and advanced

Fergal Brosnan, CEO of IC Mask Design, said: “IC Mask Design identified the opportunity for such a tool, having worked with many leading Fortune 500 and Fabless Semiconductor companies worldwide and seeing a number of its customers struggle with the physical design of the analog portions of their mixed-signal designs. Our tool will be innovative and technologically advanced, enabling the acceleration, standardisation and semi-automation of the analog layout process.

“Through our existing worldwide client base, we have a solid platform to validate the market for such an EDA tool. We have already received an extremely positive response, and with the aid of external funding we are now in a position to take the concept through the product development stage.”

The R&D project is working on the basis that the analog portion of mixed-signal design is a significant bottleneck in the IC design process and IC Mask Design’s IC layout acceleration engine is looking to address this issue.

The benefits

Already there is a proof of-concept version of the engine that has been demonstrated to several key customers. The end result is that it would significantly accelerate the IC design process, lower design costs and the risk of costly manufacturing respins, ultimately reducing time to market, said the Limerick-based company.

“IC Mask Design has a proven track record as a service provider in this highly specialised, technologically advanced field,” said Kevin Sherry, Enterprise Ireland’s head of internationally traded services.

“This R&D investment will enhance the company’s business and offering and will allow them to diversify into other areas of opportunity. Enterprise Ireland is delighted to support them and will continue to work closely with the management team as it pursues this new growth opportunity.”

By Marie Boran