Synopsys design software uses AI to make chips more power efficient

August 23 (Reuters) – Synopsys Inc (SNPS.O) said on Monday that one of its customers used artificial intelligence software to increase the energy efficiency of a computer chip by 26%, a leap that normally has to wait for a new generation of chip manufacturing technology.

Modern computer chips consist of billions of transistors and wires attached to a piece of silicon the size of a fingernail. The exact placement of all elements on the chip, along with other design and architectural decisions, has a major impact on their performance and cost of manufacture.

Large chip companies like Intel Corp. (QCOM.O) or Nvidia Corp (NVDA.O) spend two years and hundreds of millions of dollars perfecting their designs. Synopsys is one of the main manufacturers of software used for this work.

The company has started adding artificial intelligence called to its flagship chip design suite to help chip designers get better results faster while compromising on speed, energy efficiency and cost to meet their business goals. Samsung Electronics Co Ltd (005930.KS) and Renesas Electronics Corp. (6723.T) started using it, with Samsung saying last year it cut a step in chip design that would have taken months to weeks.

On Monday, Synopsys said the AI system can now take into account what software will eventually run on a chip for more profits. One large cloud computing provider that was not named saw energy efficiency increase by 26% over the best solution found by human designers.

In the past, such gains came from a new generation of chip manufacturing technology that was supposed to come every two years rather than just design. The new software can get a lot more out of existing chip factories, said Aart de Geus, CEO of Synopsys.

“It is significant because design is the pioneer today more than ever,” said de Geus in an interview with Reuters.

Reporting by Stephen Nellis in San Francisco; Adaptation by Diane Craft

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