The new year brings new tools to the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science’s integrated circuits and systems research.

Magma Design Automation donated licensed Blast™ software programs to computer science professor Jason Cong for use in his very-large-scale integration (VLSI) computer-aided design (CAD) lab.

“The Magma software is a highly innovative and efficient system for VLSI circuit designs,” noted Cong. “It allows automatic compilation from high-level descriptions of circuits into detailed geometric specifications for final mask generation, with integrated modeling, synthesis, optimization and analysis capabilities for circuit design.”

“Higher education is a priority for Magma,” said Rajeev Madhavan, Magma’s chairman and CEO. “With this gift of software to UCLA’s School of Engineering, we continue our commitment to partnering with academia as much as with our corporate customers. Historically, students have had to rely on function-specific point tools, whereas Magma’s software — providing advanced, integrated flows based on fixed timing — are more beneficial to students because such advanced tools do not require large CAD groups to support the users. We’re delighted that Magma can help ensure that the next generation of designers will be armed with the latest design techniques and capabilities as we move deeper into the realm of nanometer technology.”

Cong and his graduate students conduct fundamental VLSI CAD research to develop more efficient VLSI circuits and systems.

“This gift compliments the design automation tools in our lab that we have received from other sources,” said Cong. “The software tools from Magma will provide a new framework for students to conduct their research experiments and validate their results.”

Once they better understand the Magma system’s capabilities, Cong plans to extend use of the software to other professors in the School for research and use in the classroom.

Cong is serving as the chief technical advisor at Magma, and the company he founded with several of his former PhD students – Aplus Design Technologies, Inc. – was acquired by Magma in 2003, creating strong ties between UCLA and the company. In addition to the recent donation, Magma is an Industry Affiliate of the Computer Science Department, also sponsoring research under the California MICRO Program.

Main Image: Computer science graduate students Yan Zhang and Min Xie with Professor Jason Cong in the VLSI CAD lab.