Cadence® system design and verification solutions, integrated under our System Development Suite, provide the simulation, acceleration, emulation, and management capabilities.
Verification Suite Related Products A-Z
Cadence® digital design and signoff solutions provide a fast path to design closure and better predictability, helping you meet your power, performance, and area (PPA) targets.
Full-Flow Digital Solution Related Products A-Z
Cadence® custom, analog, and RF design solutions can help you save time by automating many routine tasks, from block-level and mixed-signal simulation to routing and library characterization.
Overview Related Products A-Z
Driving efficiency and accuracy in advanced packaging, system planning, and multi-fabric interoperability, Cadence® package implementation products deliver the automation and accuracy.
Cadence® PCB design solutions enable shorter, more predictable design cycles with greater integration of component design and system-level simulation for a constraint-driven flow.
An open IP platform for you to customize your app-driven SoC design.
Comprehensive solutions and methodologies.
Helping you meet your broader business goals.
A global customer support infrastructure with around-the-clock help.
24/7 Support - Cadence Online Support
Locate the latest software updates, service request, technical documentation, solutions and more in your personalized environment.
Cadence offers various software services for download. This page describes our offerings, including the Allegro FREE Physical Viewer.
The Cadence Academic Network helps build strong relationships between academia and industry, and promotes the proliferation of leading-edge technologies and methodologies at universities renowned for their engineering and design excellence.
Participate in CDNLive
A huge knowledge exchange platform for academia to network with industry. We are looking for academic speakers to talk about their research to the industry attendees at the Academic Track at CDNLive EMEA and Silicon Valley.
Come & Meet Us @ Events
A huge knowledge exchange platform for academia. We are looking for academic speakers to talk about their research to industry attendees.
Americas University Software Program
Join the 250+ qualified Americas member universities who have already incorporated Cadence EDA software into their classrooms and academic research projects.
EMEA University Software Program
In EMEA, Cadence works with EUROPRACTICE to ensure cost-effective availability of our extensive electronic design automation (EDA) tools for non-commercial activities.
Apply Now For Jobs
If you are a recent college graduate or a student looking for internship. Visit our exclusive job search page for interns and recent college graduate jobs.
Cadence is a Great Place to do great work
Learn more about our internship program and visit our careers page to do meaningful work and make a great impact.
Get the most out of your investment in Cadence technologies through a wide range of training offerings.
Overview All Courses Asia Pacific EMEANorth America
Instructor-led training [ILT] are live classes that are offered in our state-of-the-art classrooms at our worldwide training centers, at your site, or as a Virtual classroom.
Online Training is delivered over the web to let you proceed at your own pace, anytime and anywhere.
Exchange ideas, news, technical information, and best practices.
The community is open to everyone, and to provide the most value, we require participants to follow our Community Guidelines that facilitate a quality exchange of ideas and information.
It's not all about the technlogy. Here we exchange ideas on the Cadence Academic Network and other subjects of general interest.
Cadence is a leading provider of system design tools, software, IP, and services.
Get email delivery of the Cadence blog featured here
First, the good news. Mixed-signal design is everywhere, enabling exciting new applications in medicine, communications, transportation, solar power, and the "smart" energy-efficient home. The bad news: As we scale down to advanced process nodes, design at the analog/digital interface is more challenging than ever.
This good-news, bad-news situation was explained in depth by Prof. Terri Fiez (right) at the Mixed-Signal Technology Summit held at Cadence San Jose headquarters Oct. 10, 2013. Fiez, professor of electrical engineering and computer science at Oregon State University, gave an "academic keynote" titled Challenges in Emerging Mixed-Signal Systems and Applications. Following her keynote, an industry keynote was given by Geoff Lees, senior vice president and general manager for microcontrollers at Freescale (see Brian Fuller's blog post for more information about the Lees keynote).
Fiez opened on an optimistic node, telling the audience that "many of the things you are working on have changed the world." Existing and upcoming technologies include medical devices such as pacemakers, communications facilitated by wearable computing, the energy-efficient "smart" home, and the pervasive electronics systems in cars.
"Finally, the world of energy is really waiting for the mixed-signal community to dive in, and in many ways it already has," said Fiez, who is a co-founder and past CEO of Azuray Electronics, a startup that was launched to develop smart panel electronics for solar energy systems.
The Challenges of Scaling
With scaling, more and more functionality can be placed on a single chip - and it's not just digital functionality. Full system integration also encompasses analog and RF, and it should extend to high-voltage and high-power circuits. It's becoming more important to integrate passives to get the cost down. "So with Moore's Law," Fiez said, "the biggest challenge is incorporating a lot more technologies in order to get full system integration."
Moore's Law holds that microprocessors will double in relative performance every 1.5 years, but analog-to-digital converters (ADCs) don't follow the same curve, Fiez said. In fact, there is a "big lag." According to a graph she showed, it takes ADCs 4.7 years to double in relative performance.
When it comes to scaling for analog processes, "most of it is not good news," Fiez said. For example, reduced supply voltages make it harder to get the dynamic range that's needed for high-power, high-voltage operations. "What this means is that there needs to be a lot of ingenuity," she said. "We need good models and good tools to overcome limitations."
Making Solar Smarter
Drawing on her experiences at Azuray, Fiez talked in depth about the "smart solar panel." In a traditional solar power system, the solar panels produce DC and this goes through an inverter. The inverter is a separate box that converts the DC to AC, producing energy that can be used in the building or home, or fed into the grid. (I have one of these systems myself - see photo at left).
But what if we could put this intelligence on the solar panels themselves? A smart panel does the conversion to AC right on the panel, and synchronizes with the grid. As a result, you can get information about the panel that was never available before - monitoring how much energy is harvested out of every panel, for instance. And if one panel is shaded, you don't lose the entire row, as is typical today. Finally, an inverter box has electrolytic capacitors that are prone to failure, and the smart panel gets rid of these.
To interface with the grid, however, you need devices that run up to 1,000V. Power electronics have normally been discrete, and have not typically worked with digital intelligence and control. It's also important to minimize the number of passive components in order to reduce costs. So how do we architect all this?
"The Holy Grail is when we can integrate high-voltage devices, and it's all a complete SoC," Fiez said. "But it's not just the analog, digital, or RF circuitry; there's also a software component. So the challenge is, how do we design, simulate and validate the entire system?" Being able to model the grid, and to develop an interface that operates with the grid, is a tough challenge, she added.
Wireless Sensor Networks - Making Their Own Energy
You really don't want to replace batteries on a wireless sensor. For this reason, Fiez and other researchers are looking for ways to "harvest" energy from the environment. Fiez identified several energy-harvesting methods, including RF energy, solar, piezoelectric and vibration, thermoelectric, and acoustic. All of these methods require mixed-signal interfaces.
In her keynote, Fiez focused mainly on RF and piezoelectric energy harvesting. In the direct piezoelectric effect, an applied force produces a charge. In a converse piezoelectric effect, an applied voltage produces a deflection. Fiez showed some results that were obtained from modeling piezoelectric circuits. She also showed how her research group determined that an active rectifier would be more efficient over a broader range of low current than a passive one.
With RF energy extraction, an RF power signal is generated and a harvester converts that signal to DC voltage. However, the available power drops off sharply as the distance from the transmitter increases. Harvestable RF energy is also limited by the diode threshold. But there are technologies that can make RF harvesting more possible. For example, a floating gate rectifier can reduce threshold voltage, and the use of "cascading" to increase the number of rectifier stages allows more energy extraction and long distance operation.
Finally, Fiez talked about trends in ADCs, a technology she has worked with for most of her career. ADCs are essential, she noted, to connect a system to a real-world signal of any kind. But ADC design is challenging due to analog "imperfections" such as non-linearity and mismatch of devices. Fiez looked at challenges and trends in various ADC types including flash converters, pipeline converters, successive approximation ADCs, and delta-sigma ADCs.
In conclusion, Fiez said, work is still needed in technology, tools and education. "I think that tools are the biggest challenge because it's a moving target," she said. "Every time Cadence gets it figured out, there's a whole new technology. So they have a lot of opportunity in the future and they have done a great job already. I think it's an exciting space going forward."
Related Blog Post
"The Last Simple Node" and its Profound Consequences