Ada Used in Integrated Circuits Industrial Design Integrated Circuits Industrial Design

Form U152-0794 DOLPHIN.TXT

Ada Information Clearinghouse, 1-800/AdaIC-11, 703/685-1477

Ada Used in Integrated Circuits Industrial Design


Created in 1985, Dolphin Integration is a design center of integrated circuits renowned for the quality of its contributions to VLSI-ASIC's (Very Large Scale Integrated-Application Specific Integrated Circuits). In order to insure reliable and inexpensive design of circuitwareTM, Dolphin Integration developed the Graphical Dolphin Solution (GDS) compiler, with Alsys Ada environment.


The GDS compiler is a true compiler. It compiles high level parametrized schematics or parametrized layout requirements for a given macrocell into low level placement orders of microcells and routing orders of interconnections. Providing the control of automatic layout for repetitive circuitwareTM upon specified structural parameters, it is a tool to develop circuitwareTM generators. Powerful generators, from the most classical ones (RAM, ROM, PLA...) to intricate analog cell generators (BANDGAP) and even the datapath generators (SPOT, ALEAS) have been developed from this library (GDS). Such generators are Ada programs with parameters to instanciate modules (that is to say their GDS-2 data base and their VHDL description) upon parameter selection.

"While many such development tools for module generators are offered in a C-like or Lisp-like language (SKILL for example), our GDS compiler has been developed with Ada, mostly inspired by the modularity of VLSI", explains Louis Zangara, Microelectronic Services Manager. The development of generators requires key innovative qualities like its capability to handle large applications (a datapath generator takes 18,000 lines of Ada) and parallelisms. "Ada's essential properties meets perfectly with VLSI design requirements", points out Louis Zangara. He specifically alludes to Ada's:

Originally developed on VMS and then on a PC, the GDS compiler has been ported to SPARCstation. The use of Alsys Ada technology enabled the completion of the development and now Dolphin Integration maintains its 120,000 lines of code and adapts it to new foundry requirements.

Very satisfied with Alsys and Ada performance, Dolphin is more than willing to further develop with both of them. With a recent switch from Sun View to OSF Motif, the current GDS graphical interface can be ported and modified on new platforms. In addition, plans to port this application to HP platforms are in process.

GDS is a former trademark of CALMA Corp. now acquired by CADENCE. It is used to refer to the factor GDS-2 standard for Graphic Design Stations. In this article, it means Graphical Dolphin Solutions. Circuitware is a registered Trademark of Dolphin Integration. SKILL is a Trademark of Cadence.

Thanks to Louis Zangara and Guy Durieu from Dolphin Integration for presenting his experience with Alsys Ada.

For further information, please contact :

Marie-France Mignon and 
Florence Lescroart 
Alsys SA 29 Avenue Lucien Reni 
78 170 La Celle-Saint-Cloud 
Tel: + 33 30 78 17 17 
      + 33 30 78 17 40 
      + 33 30 78 17 48 
Fax: + 33 39 18 25 80


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