RELY Research Project: New Ways of Chip Design Methodology

Joint news release by the partners of the “RELY” research project (EADS, Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, Infineon Technologies, MunEDA, Technical University of Munich, University of Bremen and X-FAB Semiconductor Foundries)

Aug 9, 2011 | Business & Financial Press

Neubiberg, Germany – August 9, 2011 – Germany’s foreign trade success is determined to an ever-increasing degree by the quality and reliability of high-tech products. Seven partners from the German business and research communities are teaming up in the three-year “RELY” project to explore ways of enhancing the quality, reliability and resilience of modern microelectronic systems. The focus will be on applications in transportation, in particular electromobility, in medical technology and automation.

Microelectronics will play a far more prominent role in these sectors in the coming years. While vehicles today incorporate semiconductor components to the value of some 300 US dollars, this figure is set to rise to about 900 US dollars in hybrid and electric vehicles. We will see electronic systems for enhanced safety and comfort making greater inroads into the automotive sector, and some of them call for enormous computing capacity: they will enable recognition of speed limits and persons in the dark, and allow automatic parking systems, radar-based driver assistance systems and emergency call systems, for instance. To fulfill all these tasks, the respective semiconductors have to provide an ever-growing number of functions, while meeting stringent quality and safety standards approximating those in the aerospace industry.

The RELY research project, which sets out to design new development processes for tomorrow’s microelectronic systems and to integrate new reliability and safety criteria, is supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) with Euro 7.4 million under the “ Information and Communications Technology 2020” program. The team members alongside project leader Infineon Technologies AG are EADS Deutschland GmbH, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, MunEDA GmbH, X-FAB Semiconductor Foundries AG, the Technische Universität München (Technical University of Munich) and the Universität Bremen (University of Bremen).

RELY targets a chip design methodology leveled at reliability

The RELY research project lays the foundations for establishing reliability as a new target parameter throughout the chip development process. So far, optimization has been leveled primarily at area, performance and energy consumption. In the course of the research, the partners seek to develop novel chip architectures that will allow a chip to automatically determine its operating status, react to it and even enter into interaction with the electronic system. In future, such a self-test function of the chip could permit a timely alert of possible signs of wear in electronic systems. This is important particularly in applications that have to operate reliably for many years, such as production plants, trains or cars, or medical implants such as insulin pumps.

In order to be able to implement the self-test function of chips, the research will initially focus on various preparatory activities. The project partners will work on extending the modeling of manufacturing technologies, formulating new chip design specifications, defining new characteristics also in higher design levels, and in enabling system simulation and chip verification with respect to reliability.

The German RELY research project (BMBF funding reference number 01M3091) is part of the European CATRENE project of the same name – also coordinated by Infineon.

Press contacts:

EADS Deutschland GmbH
Gregor v. Kursell, Media Relations
Phone: +49 89 607 34255

Fraunhofer Gesellschaft
Institute for Integrated Circuits, Division Design Automation, IIS/EAS
Sandra Kundel, Public Relations
Phone: +49 351 4640 809

Institute for Integrated Systems and Device Technology, IISB
Dr. Bernd Fischer, Public Relations
Phone: +49 9131 761 106

Ben Grasenack, Marketing
Phone: +49 89 93086-347

Technische Universität München
Dr. Ulrich Marsch, Media Relations
Phone: +49 89 289 22779

Universität Bremen
Eberhard Scholz, Media Relations
Phone: +49 421 218 60155

X-FAB Semiconductor Foundries AG
Thomas Hartung, Marketing
Phone: +49 361 427 6160

About Infineon

Infineon Technologies AG, Neubiberg, Germany, offers semiconductor and system solutions addressing three central challenges to modern society: energy efficiency, mobility, and security. In the 2010 fiscal year (ending September 30), the company reported sales of Euro 3.295 billion with approximately 26,650 employees worldwide. With a global presence, Infineon operates through its subsidiaries in the U.S. from Milpitas, CA, in the Asia-Pacific region from Singapore, and in Japan from Tokyo. Infineon is listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange (ticker symbol: IFX) and in the USA on the over-the-counter market OTCQX International Premier (ticker symbol: IFNNY). Further information is available at

¹Mentioned number of employees contains about 3,075 employees of the wireless mobile phone business (Wireless Solutions), which was sold to Intel Corporation.

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