Hannover Messe 2021: Kaiserslautern founding team develops software that can revolutionize semiconductor development
A team of engineers from Technische Universität Kaiserslautern (TUK) are developing a software tool to support companies in the semiconductor industry in agile chip design. Through early testing and verification, the solution can help customers provide feedback and correct defects early in design process. The engineers aim to market their tool under the name „LUBIS EDA“. From April 12 to 16, they will present their platform at the digital Hanover Fair at the Rhineland-Palatinate research and innovation stand.
The engineers Tobias Ludwig, Michael Schwarz and Dr. Max Birtel have joined forces with software developer Tim Burr to bring concepts from the software domain to chip development.
„In terms of hardware design, not much has changed in the industry over the last few decades,“ Ludwig explains. „The focus has been on making the existing process faster. The idea of completely redesigning this with the help of agile approaches and thus making a big leap forward when it comes to achieving ‚time-to-market‘ has not yet taken off.“
The founding team is now offering the semiconductor industry the right toolbox to unleash this untapped potential. „Our software solution enables companies to transfer proven approaches from agile software development to the world of hardware,“ says Ludwig. „More customer proximity, faster releases, error minimization in initial design – all of this is also possible in hardware development.“
The decisive advantage lies in early and continuous testing, because it takes place not at the end, but after each adaptation step. This significantly reduces the total time required to verify the chip. „Based on experience, we can guarantee at least 10 percent time savings, just in testing,“ says Birtel. „Since the development costs for a chip range from two to as much as six million euros per project, depending on the complexity, it’s obvious what savings potential opens.“
The new methodology can be introduced easily, as the development tool can be operated in parallel with existing development environments. “Chip manufacturers can use our software to convert abstract specifications into a virtual prototype that provides all the functionality, before producing the hardware,“ Birtel says.
The agile system can be used to achieve all development goals that are relevant in the semiconductor industry – from the smallest possible chips to the most energy-efficient to the most powerful. „Almost 15 years of development work have gone into our tool. Now we are ready for pilot projects to evaluate our software solution in specific use cases,“ Birtel says.
The development to market maturity is being funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy and the European Social Fund until March 2021 as part of an EXIST research transfer called „Syncopate“ (03EFORP026). In addition, the start-up office of the TU Kaiserslautern and the Kaiserslautern University of Applied Sciences has advised the engineers.
How it all began: Ludwig further developed existing methods that enable agile hardware development as part of his doctoral thesis at the chair of Electronic Design Automation under Professor Dr Wolfgang Kunz at TUK. Together with his doctoral colleague Schwarz, he recognized their potential, set his sights on founding the company, and brought on board Birtel, an industrial engineer who complements the technical engineer’s perspective with business skills. Most recently, software developer Burr completed the team.
Questions can be directed to:
Dr. Max Birtel
Klaus Dosch, Department of Technology and Innovation, is organizing the presentation of the researchers of the TU Kaiserslautern at the digital Hannover Fair. He is the contact partner for companies and, among other things, establishes contacts to science.
Contact: Klaus Dosch, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Phone: +49 631 205-3001