SAN FRANCISCO — Intel said it acquired startup NetSpeed Systems, a Silicon Valley-based provider of SoC design tools and interconnect fabric IP. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Intel (Santa Clara, Calif.) said NetSpeed's tools and IP would help the company more quickly and cost-effectively design, develop and test new SoCs.

NetSpeed’s technology helps architects estimate and optimize SoC performance in advance of manufacturing through a system-level approach, user-driven automation and state-of-the-art algorithms, according to Intel.

NetSpeed says its Orion AI interconnect brings advanced features such as multicast and broadcast to improve performance and efficiency in artificial intelligence applications. Souce: NetSpeed
NetSpeed says its Orion AI interconnect brings advanced features such as multicast and broadcast to improve performance and efficiency in artificial intelligence applications.
Souce: NetSpeed

Intel said it would honor NetSpeed’s existing customer contracts, but that NetSpeed would become an internal asset going forward.

The NetSpeed team will join Intel's Silicon Engineering Group, led by Jim Keller, a well-known chip architect who joined Intel earlier this year as a senior vice president. Sundari Mitra, NetSpeed's co-founder and CEO, will join Intel vice president reporting to Keller, Intel said. Early in her career, Mitra was an Intel design engineer from 1988 to 1992.

Keller said through a statement that NetSpeed's technology addresses the challenges associated with the increase in number of Intel devices and features.

"Intel is designing more products with more specialized features than ever before, which is incredibly exciting for Intel architects and for our customers," Keller said in a press statement. "The challenge is synthesizing a broader set of IP blocks for optimal performance while reining in design time and cost."

Sundari Mitra, NetSpeed's co-founder and CEO (left), and Jim Keller, general manager of Intel's Silicon Engineering Group. Source: Intel
Sundari Mitra, NetSpeed's co-founder and CEO (left), and Jim Keller, general manager of Intel's Silicon Engineering Group.
Source: Intel

SoCs are getting significantly more complex as the number of design rules rises dramatically at advanced process nodes. According to Intel, architects are increasingly utilizing front-end tools like NetSpeed’s to automate the design and validation process — saving time and money.

NetSpeed was founded in 2011 by Mitra and Sailesh Kumar, a veteran architect of Cisco Systems and Huawei Technologies who serves as NetSpeed's chief technology officer. NetSpeed appeared on the EE Times Silicon 60  list of startups to watch most recently in 2017. 

The NetSpeed team at its headquarters in San Jose. Source: Intel
The NetSpeed team at its headquarters in San Jose.
Source: Intel

— Dylan McGrath is the editor-in-chief of EE Times.