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The rapidly increasing complexity of integrated circuit design can only be addressed effectively by a design system architecture that supports very efficient, high-quality sharing of IC design data. Integration of the wide variety of tools required to design and verify the performance and quality of ICs can no longer depend on low-bandwidth file formats. Rather, an application programming interface (API) to a standard information model (IM) that provides access to a shared database is an essential infrastructure component of today's IC design systems. Furthermore, this design data API should be standard across the IC CAD industry so that design systems can efficiently draw from best-of-class applications from all sources in the EDA industry. The tight coupling of all tools through a common IM/API enables rapid design convergence with an earlier emphasis on quality issues, which results in higher quality ICs while meeting aggressive time-to-market demands.