IBM joins European chip bug-finding scheme

IBM Research has announced a collaborative scheme with industry universities in the European Union to improve the productivity and reliability of semiconductor and electronic systems design.

The EU-funded DIAMOND consortium was launched in January 2010 with a total budget of €3.8million. It said it expects to slash design time and enable significant savings per chip by improving the productivity and reliability of semiconductor and electronic systems design in Europe.

DIAMOND brings together eight partners: two major corporations; IBM Israel and Ericsson AB of Sweden and the Universities of Bremen and Linköping plus Graz and Tallinn Universities of Technology and EDA firms TransEDA Systems and Testonica Lab.

"Designing a microelectronic chip is very expensive and the design costs are the greatest threat to continuation of the semiconductor industry's phenomenal growth," said Dr. Jaan Raik, senior researcher at Tallinna Tehnikaulikool and coordinator of the DIAMOND project. "The increasing gap between the complexity of new systems and the productivity of system design methods can only be mitigated by developing new and more competent design methods and tools."

Cindy Eisner, senior technical staff member at IBM Research in Haifa and partner in the DIAMOND consortium said: "Better debugging techniques must be a major focus in research and development if we want to keep increasing the scale of electronics design." Today, approximately 70 per cent of design efforts are dedicated to verification and debugging. Two thirds of this is dedicated to discovering and localising the source of the fault and then correcting it.

IBM Research is based in Haifa, Israel, so we guess it counts as European under Eurovision Song Contest rules.

IBM said that, by 2011, there will be over 16 billion embedded devices in operation worldwide. That's three devices for every human being on Earth.