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86 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I AUGUST 2019 Liao: Optimizing, or just letting the user specify the route he or she wants. Later on, the rout- er can follow that path which is specified to do the route. That's particularly useful for some bundles of nets coming from a BGA component that you want to specify or a cer- tain direction or certain layers to route on. We think that cer- tain high-level planning on the bundle and on the nets is nec- essary, and we try to provide the tool to do that. Shaughnessy: Does this come with the router? Liao: The floorplan capability itself is also in- cluded in the router. If you purchase the rout- er, the planning capability is already there. But we separated the floorplanning capability into a single separate software or product so that people can get it to do the planning for almost no charge or a very low price. For a certain pe- riod of time, there's no charge to use it. Shaughnessy: That's pretty cool. And I know some of the big EDA companies have OEMed your router, right? Liao: Yes. Shaughnessy: Is this the kind of tool that they would be interested in as well? Liao: Not yet. We provided the technology for them to enable their tool to do interactive rout- ing. We haven't talked to them about the plan- ning yet, but we will. You need to do the auto- routing to make the floorplanner useful. Before, some tools provided a similar bundle planning capability, but I know that few people use it. Because if you're doing planning, it might be useful, but in my opinion, you need to have a good detail router to validate whether the result of your planning is good or not. That's a key is - sue. If detail routing produces a low comple- tion rate, then it's not very meaningful. Fortu- nately, our router usually pro- vides high completion rates similar to hand routes. Dan Feinberg: Is it possible that someone with an older model router than you could use this to update it? Liao: Theoretically, yes. The floorplanning result is saved in a floor file (or an FLW file). It's easy for anyone who wants to read in this file be- cause the format is open. But as I just mentioned, one pur- pose is the floorplanning tool lets the engineers pass their idea to layout designers. The elec- trical engineers put their ideas on how those bundles or the whole board should be routed to floorplanning. Accordingly, they can read it in there. Usually, engineers don't work togeth- er with designers. The designers can just look at the result of the floorplanning produced by engineers and follow their idea to finish the de- sign, so that's one idea. To answer your ques- tion, they can use any existing layout tool to use the floorplanner's result. Shaughnessy: And you said before that you do routers not just for the board industry, but also for packaging and ICs. Liao: Yes. For packaging, it's also useful be- cause the big theme for packaging design is to do the feasibility study. Now, they have to manually route the nets to do the feasibility study or pinout assignment. With this tool, be- cause you can define a bundle when you do the pinout assignment routing, it should be useful for the packaging routing and packag- ing design also. Shaughnessy: We talked earlier about how you've been marketing this all around the world and that it's a little bit different when you're presenting this to a customer base in China or the rest of Asia. Could you talk a little bit about that? Zen Liao

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