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Cadence Adds New Tools for Analog Design, Enhances Layout

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By Jeff Dorsch, Contributing Editor

Cadence Design Systems today is introducing new tools within its Virtuoso Analog Design Environment (ADE), along with enhancements to the Virtuoso Layout Suite.

New to Virtuoso ADE are the Virtuoso ADE Explorer, Virtuoso ADE Assembler, and Virtuoso ADE Verifier.

“The new Virtuoso ADE Verifier technology and the Virtuoso ADE Assembler technology run plan capability make our design teams more productive,” said Yanqiu Diao, deputy general manager of the Turing Processor business unit at HiSilicon Technologies Co., Ltd. “Through our early use of the new Cadence Virtuoso ADE product suite, we’ve found that we can improve analog IP verification productivity by approximately 30 percent and reduce verification issues by one-half. Our smartphone and network chip projects should benefit from these latest capabilities.”

Steve Lewis, product marketing director for Cadence’s Custom IC & PCB Group, said the electronic design automation company’s Virtuoso ADE L, XL, and GXL tools “will be kept, will be maintained, and taking that technology to the next level.”

Virtuoso ADE Verifier is “the brand-new kid on the block,” Lewis said in an interview. The tool advances analog verification technology, according to Cadence, and offers an integrated dashboard for engineers to employ.

Under international standards for automotive vehicles, medical equipment, military/aerospace systems, and other products, suppliers “have to trace every aspect of your design,” he noted. “All has to be documented.”

The digital side of chip design addressed those issues about a decade ago, according to Lewis. Such recordkeeping and documentation are “far less common on the analog,” he said. “It’s no longer okay to say the analog takes care of itself.”

Changes in analog design projects were typically tracked in spreadsheet programs, which don’t connect to the Virtuoso suite, Lewis noted, adding, “Now, I know who’s working on what.”

The new analog design tools “add a little bit more granularity” with real-number models, Lewis said. “It’s not quite SPICE,” he admitted.

Regarding Virtuoso ADE Assembler, “we made it look like ADE XL,” Lewis said, so users should have a shorter learning curve with the new tool. Virtuoso ADE Explorer provides what Cadence calls a complete corners and Monte Carlo environment for finding and correcting variation problems.

Cadence is also offering a Virtuoso Variation Option, providing fast Monte Carlo analysis for FinFET chips with 16-nanometer or smaller dimensions.

The enhancements in Virtuoso Layout Suite are a 10x to 100x improvement in graphics rendering performance, real-time customization of Module Generators with a simpler and more visual approach; and new structured device-level routing capabilities that are said to enhance routing productivity by up to 50 percent.

“We actually made significant changes in layout for L, XL,” addressing “current techniques, current designs,” Lewis commented.

Cadence Virtuoso Analog Design Environment (ADE): Reimagining analog design with emphasis on usability, performance, and innovation



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