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Today at CDNLive Israel, Anirudh Devgan, Cadence's President, announced the Celsius Thermal Solver. This is Cadence's second product in the system analysis space, following on from the Clarity 3D Solver, announced at CDNLive Silicon Valley earlier this year, which I covered at the time in my post Bringing Clarity to System Analysis.
Last week in my post Intelligent System Design, I wrote about Cadence building on its competence in "Design Excellence" to move up the stack into "System Innovation", of which system analysis is one part. Our executives have been hinting that an announcement was coming in this space during keynotes during this CDNLive season, and here is that announcement—Celsius Thermal Solver. The Celsius Thermal Solver is the first tool available that brings together a complete solution for electrical-thermal co-simulation.
System heat dissipation almost always involves both conduction and convection. The IC/package/board/enclosure interface is primarily a conduction problem best handled by finite element analysis (FEA). The enclosure/environment (air or liquid) interface is a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) problem. So system-level thermal analysis requires both FEA and CFD approaches. That’s one requirement for a complete solution.
A further complication is that heat flow and resulting temperature gradients across an electronic assembly are caused by chip power dissipation, but the power is a function of operating temperature, so you have a chicken and egg situation. Therefore, electrical and thermal performance must somehow be solved together.
If that were not enough, there’s the additional issue of dynamic behavior versus static behavior. For instance, as our smartphones switch between off to on, low power, and sleep modes, their chips produce varying amounts of power and this can cause unexpected transients to occur. So, dynamic analysis is needed at account for this.
A complete solution is one that could address all of the above requirements plus provide convenient integration to chip and board design environments. And that’s what the Celsius Thermal Solver delivers.
The Celsius Thermal Solver utilizes innovative multi-physics technology to address these challenges. By combining FEA for solid structures with CFD for fluids, the Celsius Thermal Solver enables a comprehensive system analysis in a single tool.
When using the Celsius Thermal Solver in conjunction with Voltus technology for PCB and IC packaging, engineering teams can combine electrical and thermal analysis and simulate the flow of both electricity and heat for a more accurate system-level thermal simulation than legacy tools. The Celsius Thermal Solver also integrates seamlessly with Cadence's IC, package, and PCB implementation platforms, making it easier and faster to perform design iterations.
In addition, the Celsius Thermal Solver performs both static (steady-state) and dynamic (transient) electrical-thermal co-simulation based on the actual flow of electrical power in advanced 3D structures, providing visibility into real-world system behavior. The time steps can be adjusted depending on the needs of the particular analysis.
To truly enable system-level analysis without breaking the analysis into pieces, the Celsius Thermal Solver taps Cadence's computational software expertise in scaling enormous solvers into the cloud or on-premises data centers to get essentially unlimited capacity and a speedup of up to 10X. This is the same advanced technology that has been production-proven in the Voltus and Clarity products.
The Celsius Thermal Solver enables the analysis of large systems that couldn't be analyzed previously. The example shown has almost 100M elements in the analysis. As you can see, it consists of four boards containing chips and linked with ribbon cables and connectors. When run on 40 CPUs, it is 2.4X as fast as legacy solvers (on the same 40 CPUs). But the Celsius Thermal Solver scales up much further. On 320 CPUs, it is over 10X as fast.
Or here's another result, a chip inside a package, with all the temperature analyzed. Apart from simply being a neat graphic, you can see how the Celsius Thermal Solver identified that the chip is hot (red), and most of the pins are cool (green), except where Joule heating plays a role (orange). The substrate underneath is cold (blue).
Full details are on the Celsius Thermal Solver product page.
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