Analog Simulation Insights


The Heart of the Problem

Today’s Guest Blogger is Dwayne Holst, Corporate Applications Engineer for CustomExplorer and Custom WaveView at Synopsys.

Running analog regressions in a production chip design flow is hard enough without having to sort through the results by hand. While the majority of the thousands of simulations are probably good, the risk of missing a problem is the risk of a bad tape out (and then you have to fill out a lot of paperwork, there are more questions and it’s generally not a good thing).

Last year, we introduced a new feature in CustomExplorer to help out with this tedious manual process.

Called “Batch Waveform Compare”, this feature automates the comparison of simulations runs in batch and alerts the user to the problems.

Waveform Compare can be used early on in the design phase. Designers can compare waveforms from RTL, down through to the device level and make sure that your design is converging on the spec. The final use of Waveform Compare tests the results of extracted parasitic simulations to help quickly isolate problems.

And it’s fast… One of our early adopters of Batch Waveform Compare saw their week of manual time required to “eyeball” 100 analog waveforms drop to just 15 minutes of Waveform Compare run time.

The user has complete control over the comparison algorithms. Tolerances for the x-axis (be it time, frequency…) can be set independently from the y-axis (be it voltage, current…) and Waveform Compare does the rest.

Here is a partial example of a rules file for waveform compare:

; Global Parameters
v_tolerance 5mv
i_tolerance 1ma
a2d_threshold 2.5v

; Aliases
Alias stable_period “start=5ns, stop=16ns”

; Rules
Rule v_check begin
   Master gold2.dat
   Step 0.1ns
   v_tolerance 1mv
   v_reltol -0.01

rule mono_chk begin


; Checks
Check begin
   target “t1.dat t2.dat”
   signal “*”
   time_range “0ns, 6ns”
   rule “initial_v_check”

   target “t1.dat t2.dat t3.dat”
   signal “s1, s2, s3”
   time_range stable_period
   rule “v_check”

The result of this rule file applied against the simulation results
$> sx –compare compare.rules
   *** loading waveform file gold2.dat … ***
   *** loading waveform file t1.dat    … ***
   *** loading waveform file t2.dat    … ***
[COMPARE] master file    : ‘gold2.dat’
[COMPARE] master file    : ‘t1.dat’

# comparing signal ‘v(in1’

x-axis			master	0|test/IN1
1.0500E-08	1.650000	[1]		[0]
1.1000E-08	3.300000	[1]		[0]
# end of difference list

Waveform compare is a powerful tool in CustomExplorer and can be used to significantly improve design regression productivity. Have fun with it.


About Dwayne

Dwayne strives to be a cool dad and he’s an EDA geek. He also pretends to be a Southerner although he’s really a California Yankee living in North Carolina.

Dwayne Holst

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