CUPERTINO, Calif. A well-funded startup founded by EDA veterans, InTime Software Inc., plans to use corporate intranets and the Internet to ease collaborative engineering and communications. But InTime is not just a project management company; the startup also intends to offer a suite of RTL creation and analysis tools closely linked to its design environment.
InTime Software was founded in 1999 by George Janac, a former CTO at Cadence Design Systems Inc. who serves as president and chief executive officer of the startup. Arklin Kee, InTime vice president of business development, and Tom Spyrou, vice president of engineering, also held executive positions at Cadence.
InTime's board of directors includes Richard Newton, chairman of the electrical engineering and computer science department at the University of California at Berkeley. The company has raised $5.5 million in venture funding and has 28 emplo yees.
The startup plans to offer Enterprise Engineering Management Software (EEMS) tools that allow real-time project management of complex IC designs. The tools will generate project information automatically, set workflows, identify problems and notify team members as needed. InTime promises that the tools will automatically "mine" engineering data, using technology similar to search engines.
In addition to creating and tracking data, the tools will provide RTL estimation capabilities. InTime plans to ship its software in the fourth quarter of 2000.
"We'll build a desktop environment that allows communication and project management," said Janac. "Today, most of the tools out there have no mechanism where users can notify each other and build up communication lines."
There's no shortage of project management tools today, and many designers use the public-domain CVS software. The difference, said Janac, is that InTime manages data within a very specific context. "We manage data, and we also u nderstand what's in the data," he said. "Instead of managing a Verilog file as text, we actually understand what a Verilog file means."
Similarly, InTime's communications software is much more specifically focused than general-purpose software, such as the widely used WebEx system. "Let's say you have a block and you have some registers, and you want to open up a discussion with someone who is receiving a signal. WebEx has no idea how to do that," said Janac.
InTime's EEMS tools will work with existing synthesis and simulation tools. Using what the company calls "autopiloted flows," the EEMS system will let designers manage scripts and constraints, organize design data, and launch downstream synthesis and simulation tools. But the software is not just a shell for other vendors' tools InTime will be an EDA tool vendor in its own right.
"We'll have a whole RTL design creation and debugging system," said Janac. "Our tools are geared toward helping designers und erstand the implications of the RTL they've written." One major task, he said, will be to help designers with register balancing. InTime's tools will also help with performance, power and area estimation.
"We may go off and run synthesis and then update the analysis based on new details," Janac said. "It's a very integrated system."
And, Janac emphasized, the estimation tools will be closely tied to the project management tools.
InTime's promised "data mining" capability will extract information from design kits supplied by foundries, letting designers know, for instance, the maximum number of levels of logic a design can have. The company's tools will also "mine" RTL code to provide designers with functional and behavioral implications of what they've written.
The tools may be sold through multiple licensing models, including an application service provider (ASP) scheme over the Internet, Janac said.
InTime will exhibit at next month's Design Automation Conference.