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Yesterday Cadence announced that it has signed an agreement to acquire AWR from National Instruments (NI). Cadence will pay approximately $160M and about 110 AWR employees will join us. The acquisition is expected to close in Q1 2020 after regulatory approval.
I was CEO of Compass, and until the deal is closed we were required to make decisions as if the deal was not happening. In our case, there seemed little doubt that the deal would close (it did), but you aren’t allowed to make decisions assuming the closure. It's like buying a house. Until escrow closes, you can’t borrow money on the house you don’t yet own.
Cadence also entered into a strategic alliance with National Instruments, the parent company of AWR. This alliance will focus on design for test, leveraging NI’s advanced semiconductor validation and test technologies, along with AI and machine learning. Customers will be able to design, analyze, verify, and test their entire communications system in a seamlessly integrated platform—from pre-silicon mixed-signal development to post-silicon test, speeding time to market and lowering costs.
AWR is a microwave, high-speed analog, and RF design solution. If you read Breakfast Bytes last September, then you already know that the Virtuoso RF environment already includes some AWR technologies. I wrote about it in a blog post RF Design with Cadence Virtuoso and National Instrument's AXIEM.
The tools are integrated at the source-code level, not just a couple of menu items and files being written by one tool and read by the other.
RF (and photonics, but that's a topic for another day) requires shapes that never occur in digital ICs, so one of the first things that had to be done before the integration could really start was to extend OpenAccess to allows curved shapes as in the image above. Cadence's MTS was then extended to layout and co-design environment was created. For EM, which is a key part of RF design, Sigrity 3DEM and National Instruments' AXIEM are part of the same integration, with results back-annotated onto the extracted view, as in the image below. Cadence's newish system analysis tools, Clarity 3D solver, and Celsius Thermal Solver, are also part of the solution. For more details on those products, see my posts Bringing Clarity to System Analysis, and Celsius: Thermal and Electrical Analysis Together at Last.
A couple of decades ago, radios were very esoteric and not deployed in the consumer sector at all. Now you have a radio in your pocket. Your smartphone has several. Depending on which bands it supports, there may be multiple cellular radios. There is certainly a WiFi radio. And a Bluetooth radio. Of course, the big thing happening in mobile today is 5G, which requires new radios for mmWave, which we have never needed before. But there is more, with the need to aggregate multiple channels using different radios, phased-array antennas, and more.
But radios are not just used in mobile. Radar is a radio technology (the first Ra stands for radio). Radios and radar are used in aerospace/defense but also in automotive for ADAS and autonomous functionality. They are even sometimes used for gesture recognition. As it happens, just a few weeks ago I wrote about automotive radar in a post Implementing Automotive Radar on Tensilica Processors.
Once the deal closes, expect more posts on Breakfast Bytes about our plans for how to further accelerate the design, simulation, and test of microwave, RF, and high-speed analog systems. It's another key component of Cadence's strategy for Intelligent System Design.
In the meantime, there is a fair bit of information about the existing integration at the post I referred to earlier, RF Design with Cadence Virtuoso and National Instrument's AXIEM.
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