A brief history of the process design kit

By John Ferguson – Mentor, A Siemens Business

Do you really know what goes into a PDK? You might be amazed to learn where they came from, and where they’re headed next. John Ferguson provides his insights and opinions.

Most IC designers and verification engineers take the process design kits, or PDKs, they use every day for granted. But where did they come from, how are they created, and why are they so important to the future of the IC industry?

If you’re interested (and you should be, if you got this far), our white paper, The process design kit: Protecting design know-how, takes you on a brief tour of the history of PDKs. From the very first design rule to PDKs for today’s leading-edge designs, PDKs have been the backbone of the IC’s relentless march into the future. And there’s more to come…silicon photonics, high-density advanced packaging, and MEMs are all looking for the same stability and assurance provided by a tested, trusted PDK.

After you’ve read the white paper, take our quiz to see how much you’ve learned:

  • What’s the purpose of a PDK?
  • What was the breakthrough that enabled the rise of the pure-play foundry?
  • What two elements were present in the first PDKs?
  • When did PDKs for MEMs and silicon photonics appear?
  • When will PDKs disappear?

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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at https://blogs.sw.siemens.com/calibre/2018/09/19/a-brief-history-of-the-process-design-kit/