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Our new AI-powered custom design solution, Virtuoso Studio, leverages our 30 years of industry knowledge and leadership providing innovative features, reimagined infrastructure for unrivalled productivity, and new levels of integration that stretch beyond classic design boundaries. In this blog series, learn how the best analog design tools just got better to help you keep pace with your challenging design issues.
By Steven Lewis, Product Management Director, Analog/Custom Marketing, Cadence
Science says the dinosaurs were wiped out about 65 million years ago. What does that have to do with analog design? I mean, besides me feeling 65 million years old when I get out of a chair? Well, contrary to popular belief, the dinos lived on. I know that because, since college, for my appreciation and fascination with analog design, I’ve been branded a dinosaur. Who studies analog? Who needs analog? It is going the way of vacuum tubes (youngsters, ask your grandparents) since digital will reign supreme over the land. If this sentiment was confined to college, I’d just chalk it up to heavy drinking. But interestingly enough, over my 30 years at Cadence, it’s been announced about every four years that analog is dead. I heard it in the 1990s, I heard it in the aughts, I heard it at DAC too many times to count.
Well, folks, analog and custom design have never been more in demand, more challenging, or more ingrained into our everyday existence. What has changed is the “concept” of analog. In some ways, it has aged like fine leather, but in so many other ways it has grown and been pushed to new limits. And each time the pundits declare “It can go no further.” I am here to assure you, with Cadence's new Virtuoso Studio, we have gone further. Think Darwin instead of extinction.
To remain modern, Virtuoso Studio modernized itself along three axes: infrastructure, integration, and innovation. Tools and flows were reassessed along each of these lines to see how we could improve the customer experience. Let’s take a look at example improvements in these three categories.
I don’t care if it is more Moore, more than Moore, or just MORE. Designs are getting bigger, not smaller. They are getting more complicated, not less. And that means analog/custom tools must evolve to accommodate designs where throughput is paramount. Trust me when I say I have never received a customer complaint that any software is too fast.
An example requirement of throughput comes from the need not to run a handful of simulations, but the need to run hundreds or, in many cases, thousands. The sheer volume of data being transferred through the Virtuoso ADE Product Suite necessitated a more novel approach to launching, managing, and resolving many simulations going on in parallel. It is easy to click on a button for 5000 simulations. The trick is how to corral them and make sense of them, particularly when they may have dependencies on each other.
The new ADE Services feature fits the bill by automatically managing your simulations through a hub that can be disconnected/reconnected to the UI. No more ADE UI being frozen and having no idea what is happening with the simulation jobs. It knows because it sees everything… including that extra cookie you took!
So, we all know analog design, right? Not right. Just like there were hundreds of different dinosaur species, the definition of analog or custom design keeps expanding to cover more technological territory to encapsulate a lot more design types. But even with that expansion, there isn’t a trick to it when you design everything separately and hope for the best. So, what happens when you bring the pieces together, and they don’t fit? That’s when the T-Rex starts eating everyone around it.
Let me remind you that hope is not a strategy. So, stop bringing pieces together and instead design them together. Heterogenous design is the new kid on the block who has been talked about forever but is able to be truly manifested for the first time with Virtuoso Studio. At Cadence, we don’t like design boundaries. Bring your analog and digital designs… Bring your RF and photonics designs… Bring your finFETs and advanced-node PDKs… Bring their packages and boards, too! Everyone into the primordial soup!
With deep integrations between Virtuoso Studio, the Spectre Simulation Platform, the Allegro PCB tools, and Cadence AWR Microwave Office, you choose your favorite working environment, and we do the rest. Have continuous visibility of your entire design from bottom to top, side to side, and everywhere in between. Oh, you want plant life on your planet, too? No problem—Virtuoso Studio has more than 50 third-party vendors integrated with it, full foundry support, and the power of additional Cadence tools ready to bring their magic to your design.
We’ve been doing this for a long time. And some of us remember when all the buzz was around “going sub-micron”…good times. Now in hushed corners, we are talking about angstroms. Regardless of the math, Virtuoso Studio remains committed to being on the leading edge of process technology breakthroughs, including the latest 5nm and 2nm technology support. And while many assumed going to finFETs would somehow simplify everything (anyone remember discrete resistors and transistors… anyone…sigh), the complexity of their rules quickly becomes mind-numbing. Pile on top of those rules all of the other rules for the other chips in the design, and you better have layout and verification tools that are up to the task.
Virtuoso Studio now offers our Pegasus Verification tools as part of our layout editor so you can have:
Innovation continues in both the Virtuoso ADE Product Suite and the Spectre Simulation platform to assist in your process migration needs, design centering and optimization, new statistical methods, and support for the latest hardware, including GPU and cloud.
At the end of the day, I know you will all try Virtuoso Studio. Some of you analog types might even like it, and I dare say, might crack a smile! The Virtuoso brand has been with you through the 1990s, the 2000s, and the 2010s. As we start our fourth decade of bringing you innovative solutions that let all of you build a better world, let’s make a promise to each other. My fellow dinos, let’s commit to knowing that the only thing extinct is the idea that analog is dead!
Learn more about Virtuoso Studio