Revolutionizing the Design of Integrated Curcuits
Sommersemester 2019 - TopMatch
The aim of our project was to assess and quantify the potential of “TopMatch” – a tool developed by our project partner Dr. Hiwa Mahmoudi. TopMatch improves the design verification process for integrated circuits. In addition to Dr. Mahmoudi the team consisted of four E&I students from WU Vienna.
In the course of the project a competitor analysis was conducted with the information and support of numerous well known industry experts and 4 semiconductor companies. Moreover, potential launch and target customers were identified and a market entry strategy was developed.
Before an integrated circuit can be manufactured, it has to be verified against process variations. However, the current verification process is either slow and accurate or fast and inaccurate. This especially effects two types of integrated circuits (IC): High sigma IC designs (high number of repetitive components that have to work together, e.g. SRAM or memory hardware) and large scale IC designs (components with a very large number of sub-components, e.g. analog digital converters).
On the one side, a long verification process can turn out to be a severe disadvantage against competitors – especially in this fast-moving industry. On the other side, a quicker but less accurate design process can lead to malfunctioning prototypes and high losses in later stages of production. To sum it up, the current design verification process increasingly becomes a bigger and bigger problem for the industry with every new generation of semiconductors. This trend also has been confirmed by the majority of interviewed experts.
Due to his unique experience in the fields of electrodynamics and circuit engineering, Dr. Mahmoudi was able to develop a tool, that accelerates the current design verification process by up to ten times whilst allowing a reliability of up to 100 percent. It is called TopMatch. Without going into too much detail, TopMatch can deliver this breakthrough by finding and analyzing only the variables that matter. The underlying technology has not only endured several proofs of concepts, but also has been globally patented.
Unfortunately, the semiconductor industry does not allow for an easy market entry since trust and confidence have to be established. With the help of a venture capitalists’ network the first crucial step will be taken: Obtaining the first launch customer. Whilst spreading Word of Mouth, TopMatch will offer free trials in order to proof the significant breakthrough it promises. By a consequential pursuit of this strategy TopMatch aims to obtain three further customers by the middle of the second year of operation.
The sale of add-in licenses will be the main revenue stream of TopMatch. A high sigma IC license will be sold for 3.000€/ year and a large scale IC license for 2.500€/ year. The results of our financial plan allow the assumption that TopMatch will break even in the second year of operation with an estimated profit of 20.000 €. In the third year this figure will rise to about 300.000€.
By consequently pursuing the developed strategy, the potential of TopMatch will be recognized and lead to a faster and more intelligent design verification future.
Technische Universität Wien
Institute of Electrodynamics, Microwave and Circuit Engineering
Dr. Hiwa Mahmoudi
Assoz. Prof. Dr. Peter Keinz
Barbara Mehner, M.Sc.