Analog Simulation Insights

 

The Long, Hard Road

I’m new to this blog stuff. I usually spend my days with my head down working through specs, schedules and the accompanying blizzard of emails and phone calls as we work out the details of the next big release. So, again, welcome–and here we go!

When I was asked to do this blog, I thought, “What would I say?” and in that reflection I realized that I should take a short trip to the past and summarize what we’ve been up to here at Synopsys.

When I joined Synopsys, I had to tackle the immense problem of architecting a custom design solution almost from the ground up. We already had a lot of the problem solved—we had our world-class transistor-level simulators, our strong offerings in digital design and physical verification, and all of the other pieces that make Synopsys the world-class company that it is. We also had a pretty clear idea of how analog/mixed-signal design teams build their flows and use our tools, as well as the tools of many other EDA companies.

We also had access to many excellent solutions in the open-source and open-licensed software realm. We had standards like Open Access for the database, TCL for the scripting language and the myriad of other design standards that Synopsys has been proud to support because it solves a bigger problem for the industry at large.

What we needed was a solution that would tie all of this together. We knew there were problems. Essentially, EDA tool innovation for custom and analog design was stalled and we needed to solve a number of problems with modern solutions. We chose three guiding concepts:

  1. Productivity
  2. Openness
  3. Familiarity

We picked these concepts because each of them in their own way represented a block to moving the state-of-the-art forward.

The overriding concept we focused on was improved productivity. Face it, schedules shrink and when your design slips your competitors are waiting to pounce. Without a solution that improves your productivity, you don’t have a solution.
Another key concept was openness. The complex environments that designers build  today demand an end to proprietary formats, uncooperative tools and some way to glue them together without learning yet another programming language (ah!… another hidden productivity gain!).

Familiarity was another requirement because we wanted to increase productivity, not destroy it. Ever sit down to a new version of software and find that you need to [shudder] read the manual? We knew that no matter how cool our new tool was, no one could afford to adopt it if there was too much pain and agony involved in earning how to use it.

Fast forward to 2008, when we released Galaxy Custom Designer. It was architected to bring all of these concepts into being. Add to that our simulators, our digital tools, our physical verification tools and the fact that we make them all work together and now you’re talking are real solution!

There’s so much we can’t put in a whitepaper or a datasheet or in the formal documentation. So we’re going to use this blog to share our experts’ tips and tricks so you can get the most out of your custom design flow.

I look forward to blogging (I really do) and working with my colleagues Kishore and Bob and their teams to provide you with a place to see what we are up to. We’ve traveled a long road to get where we are, and now it’s time to show you what’s in store on the road ahead.

I hope you enjoy it!

Fred

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