CAD Design Flows Development in a Cross-Platform Computing Environment

With the advent of low-price, high-performance IntelÒ
architecture workstations together with Microsoft*
Windows NT* operating systems (referred to as IANT
from here on) that support Microsoft productivity
tools, the IA-NT workstation has become the preferred
desktop for CAD design engineers. However,
due to the complexity of migrating UNIX*-centric
legacy CAD tools and scripts to an NT environment,
a mixed operating system platform for CAD design
has become a computing reality. This paper describes
the innovative technical solutions for a production-capable
NT-UNIX cross-platform CAD design flow
environment for development, maintenance, and deployment
activities. Although the target systems chosen
are the ones used in Design Technology at Intel,
our solutions are applicable to other cross-operating
systems.
The NT-UNIX platform poses various technical challenges
when developing the CAD design flows consisting
of tools from both platforms. These tools have
to work together on a shared design database while
effectively utilizing common infrastructure scripts, despite
the fact that each computing platform supports a
different scripting environment.
To meet some of these challenges, we developed two
technologies that allow seamless integration of software,
designed for either the UNIX or NT platform,
into a platform-independent production usage environment.
These two technologies have been used to
port more than 45 tools made up of more than
3,000,000 lines of code from UNIX to NT, and to
execute more than 1,000 test flows, as well as to develop
a few mixed NT-UNIX applications.

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