Published on April 20th, 2005
Simulation for RFIC-Agilent Technologies, Inc. (Palo Alto, CA) announced simulation-speed improvements of up to 50 times in its core electronic-design-automation (EDA) frequency-domain simulation technologies. Those technologies target fast and accurate RFIC, MMIC, and RF system-in-package (SiP) design. The technology is used in the design of large and complex wireless communications circuits as well as aerospace and defense applications. Customers have observed results with test circuits containing thousands of transistors, such as transceiver ICs for wireless-local-area-network (WLAN) applications. Extracted view simulations, which include additional physical components that represent IC parasitics, have been successfully completed on circuits containing hundreds of thousands of these components. In some cases, such circuits couldn’t be simulated with previous technologies. Now, these very large and highly complex circuits simulate and converge quickly-even when using default simulation settings.
The company’s enhanced simulation technologies will be included in the next release of its Advanced Design System (ADS) and RF Design Environment (RFDE) simulation software packages. ADS offers a complete set of system and circuit simulation technology along with instrument links for RF and microwave design in a single, integrated flow. Agilent RFDE is an RF EDA software environment that tightly integrates leading RF simulation technologies from Agilent ADS into the Cadence Design System analog and mixed-signal design flow. The enhanced simulators in ADS and RFDE are expected to be available to selected beta-test customers beginning in June. More information about how designers can participate in beta code evaluation is available at www.agilent.com/find/eesof-betatest.
Analog-based Medical Technologies-Texas Instruments, Inc. (Houston, TX) announced that Recom Managed Systems, Inc. has selected TI’s MSP430F149 ultra-low-power microcontroller (MCU) and high-performance analog technologies. They will be key elements for Recom’s battery-powered, high-fidelity, biomedical signal-processing and recording platform. Recom’s first product to be based on this platform, the Model 100, is an ambulatory patient heart monitor. It uses patented signal-processing technology to record a clinical-quality electrocardiograph (ECG) signal in the presence of noise generated by the patient’s body movements and ambient environment. The Model 100 provides up to 48 hours of real-time heart monitoring during patients’ everyday activities.
TI’s analog components also help provide the signal processing and low power that are required by the Model 100. Those parts include the following: the INA2141U, a high-accuracy, low-power dual instrumentation amplifier offering wide bandwidth at high gain; the OPA2349, an ultra-low-power operational amplifier with only 1 micro-amp (µA) quiescent current; the ADS8345, an 8-channel, 16-bit ADC featuring 8 mW of power dissipation at a 100-kHz conversion rate and an on-board multiplexer; and the TPS62056, a synchronous step-down DC/DC converter with up to 95% efficiency for power management. For more information, visit the TI web site at www.ti.com.
VDSL2 Datapath Design-UpZide Labs AB (Lulea, Sweden) and Tensilica, Inc. (Santa Clara, CA) recently announced a development agreement in the area of VDSL2 datapath design. Under the agreement, UpZide will develop a reference design utilizing multiple Xtensa LX processors from Tensilica to implement the VDSL2 (second-generation, very-high-speed digital subscriber line) standard. Because that standard is evolving, it’s essential that the VDSL2 datapath component be designed with the flexibility that’s required to adapt to all possible changes. By designing with configurable Xtensa processors rather than RTL code and extending the instruction set to handle the data-intensive demands of the VDSL2 standard, UpZide will be able to make a fast, efficient, and programmable solution available for this rapidly growing market.
The VDSL2 standard provides broadband connections at speeds of up to 100 Mbps symmetrical, which is fast enough to deliver the “triple-play” applications of voice, data, and video to a wide audience. This technology is seen as key to delivering voice over Internet protocol (VoIP), video on demand (VoD), and high-definition television (HDTV) simultaneously over standard telephone lines. For more information about UpZide, visit the web site at www.upzide.com. To learn more about Tensilica, please visit www.tensilica.com.
Microwave Design Software Deployed-Applied Wave Research, Inc. (El Segundo, CA) announced an agreement with TriQuint Semiconductor, Inc. (Hillsboro, OR) to add AWR’s Microwave Office and Visual System Simulator (VSS) software to the company’s EDA toolset. That toolset is used in the Hillsboro, Oregon and Nashua, New Hampshire design centers. The design suites will be used as part of TriQuint’s ongoing efforts to improve the development of its components. Those components are used in a wide array of advanced communications applications throughout the world.
TriQuint produces radio-frequency (RF), microwave, and millimeter-wave integrated circuits (ICs) and modules that are used in mobile phones and base-station infrastructure. The company also provides GaAs IC foundry services covering frequencies through 80 GHz. AWR’s EDA tools provide TriQuint with the ability to simulate and lay out its power-amplifier designs. Designers can use traditional microwave techniques and then co-simulate with actual, complex system signals to look at adjacent-channel power ratio (ACPR) and error vector magnitude (EVM). For more information about AWR’s products, visit www.appwave.com. To learn more about TriQuint’s offerings, visit www.triquint.com.
Cobra Development Initiative-Magma Design Automation, Inc. (Santa Clara, CA) just announced the availability of its next generation of design software, which resulted from its 18-month-long Cobra development initiative. The products spawned by the Cobra project comprise Magma’s 2005.03 releases. They include both new products and enhanced capabilities to existing Magma software. Such new capabilities include Blast Create, Blast Fusion, Blast Noise, and Blast Plan Pro. Among other capabilities provided by the Cobra release are timing, noise, and power “Signoff in the Loop” with static statistical timing analysis (SSTA). This release also incorporates a single design platform for all IC silicon architectures including FPGA, structured ASIC, and standard cell. Other improvements include design-for-test (DFT) automation; integrated yield optimization; a design-rule-checking/layout-versus-schematic (DRC/LVS) architecture; and automated hierarchical design flow and interconnect synthesis.
In addition to the enhancements to existing software, the latest 2005.03 release includes several new products (e.g., Quartz RC, Quartz Time, Blast Fusion QT, Blast DFT, Quartz SSTA, Quartz DRC, Quartz LVS, and Blast Plan FX). The first product, Quartz RC, provides signoff-quality parasitic extraction. Quartz Time combines the static timer in Magma’s Blast Fusion with advanced timing capabilities to create a standalone signoff timing system. Designed to complement the built-in signoff system of Blast Fusion QT, Quartz Time extends support to the independent signoff verification flows that don’t require a full Blast Fusion system, such as ASIC customers. Blast Fusion QT provides advanced capabilities that enable “Signoff in the Loop” timing analysis with concurrent optimization. This feature includes the ability to perform concurrent analysis and optimization with multi-corner operating conditions, multiple operating modes, on-chip variation (OCV), and the use of the advanced ECSM delay model. For information about the other new products-including those that address DFT, process variation, DRC and design-for-yield (DFY)-please visit the company website (see below).
Each of the products that were developed in the Cobra initiative is currently in limited release with a number of Magma customers. General releases are expected to begin in June. For more information, visit the company web site at www.magma-da.com.
Record Growth for Verification Company-Advanced verification specialist Emulation and Verification Engineering or EVE (San Jose, CA and Palaiseau, France) closed its fiscal year Thursday, March 31, 2005 by doubling its customer base. It also reached a total of 25 customers and reported a record growth of 380% over the previous year. EVE’s new customers include ARM; ATI Technologies; Conexant Systems; Flarion Technologies; Northrop Grumman; Renesas Technology; Rohm Electronics; Seagate Technology; STMicroelectronics; Texas Instruments; and Toshiba. Overall, the company has added more than 50 employees. To learn more about EVE, visit the web site at www.eve-team.com.
Physical Design Framework Gains Ground-Pulsic Ltd. (Bristol, England) licensed its Lyric Physical Design Framework to ON Semiconductor (Phoenix, AZ). ON Semiconductor plans to use Lyric for the detailed floorplanning, standard cell placement, interactive editing, and automatic routing of its next-generation mixed-signal designs.
As part of the evaluation, Lyric was used to floorplan, place, and route several digital blocks in a new ON Semiconductor design. The entire design was a first-pass success. According to company representatives, it was completed and taped out in only five weeks. A parallel evaluation was undertaken against another leading EDA vendor’s tools. Lyric reportedly proved better in terms of performance, flexibility, and functionality. Lyric also has been used to re-place and re-route another design-this time for the company’s automotive group. There, it achieved significant reductions in die size. The die had previously been placed and routed with another set of tools. To learn more about ON Semiconductor, visit the company’s web site at www.onsemi.com. For more information on Pulsic, go to www.pulsic.com.