Using AI to Automate Chip Design — Innovative Technology by Synopsys

By Elijah Labby Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Recently, electronic design automation company Synopsys participated in the AI Hardware Summit, which saw the company discuss the impact of artificial intelligence with other participants, including representatives from Intel and Google.

The participants noted the revolutionary nature of artificial intelligence and its multifaceted applications in the development of computer chips. Karl Freund of Moor Insights & Strategy told of an instance in which an AI program placed chip components “in [a] completely unintuitive manner,” but nonetheless resulted in lower power usage and a smaller chip size. This result, Freund said, is “game changing.”

Arun Venkatachar, Synopsys’ vice president of AI and central engineering, agreed that the implications of these technologies are effective and far-reaching.

“With the advent of AI and big data, this gives us a new dimension, a new arsenal in our weaponry,” he said. “It’s really the data that’s generating the algorithms now, rather than the other way around.... [AI is] all the way through the [design] food chain, trying to get optimal solutions for these complex problems.”

The comments come after the recent news of Synopsys’ unveiling of the so-called Design Space Optimization program, which uses AI to automate chip design.

“More than two years ago we set out on a fascinating journey to bring AI to chip design, partnering with academic researchers, industry thought leaders, and AI technology pioneers,” said Sassine Ghazi, general manager of the Design Group at Synopsys. “...our journey in AI is only just beginning."

Numerous product rollouts have come out of the AI Hardware Summit since its founding in 2018. In 2019, Vicor unveiled its Vicor Power-on-Package solutions, which Vicor says brings “modular approach to power conversion and regulation, offering a high level of integration, advanced low-noise switching topologies and thermally adept packaging.” This year, machine learning company Groq featured their Tensor Streaming processor, which, according to HPCwire, “seeks to reduce some of the overhead (instructions) required to use general purpose microprocessors by physically moving and reorganizing functional elements.”

Synopsys and AI Chip Market Worth

Synopsys has been around since 1986, and has since grown to over $3 million in revenue over the last twelve months and a net income of about $532 million. Current projections estimate that Synopsys’ stock price will grow by about seven percent in the coming year.

The artificial intelligence chip market is expected to grow by 45.2% in the next five years. The market was worth $6,638 million in 2018, and is anticipated to be valued at as much as $91,185 million by 2025.

The artificial intelligence industry is widely considered to be one of the largest emerging markets in the world, and each leading country is racing to gain a foothold in the industry. And while the United States holds a leading position with homegrown companies like Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and Amazon trailblazing the artificial intelligence industry, countries like China, Canada, and Israel are leveraging the technology for governmental and private sector use.

The uses of artificial intelligence for these countries cannot be overstated. For Israel’s private sector, the autonomous car company Mobileye seeks to unseat Tesla as the leader in self-driving automobiles by using artificial intelligence. Intel bought the company for $15 billion shortly after. According to Science | Business, “37 percent of the total capital raised last year was for AI companies” in Israel.

For the Israeli government, the way forward is investment in Israel’s thriving startup economy. The country’s investment in such technologies through the National Cyber Initiative has served to make Israel a leader in cyberdefense, which Israel National Cyber Directorate Head Yigal Unna calls a necessity.

“It happened when we noticed cyberattacks on states, like Estonia and later in Georgia, and even the mishap that happened to the centrifuges in Iran,” Sunna told Israel Hayom. “This process made us acutely aware of the fact that it [cyber] had the potential of becoming a battlefield."

The advancements made by companies like Synopsys will, in all likelihood, serve to make the systems that power these services even more intuitive and functional. By using artificial intelligence to drive innovations in chips, companies in the United States and abroad will drive technological advancements for generations to come.

About the Author


Headshot of Elijah Labby

Elijah Labby is a graduate of the National Journalism Center. He has previously written for Broadband Breakfast, a technology and internet policy website.

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