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I had the great opportunity to represent Cadence at the Design Automation Conference (DAC) at Austin a few weeks back. In my role as a Mixed-Signal Solutions evangelist at Cadence, I was thoroughly amazed by the excitement from the ever growing design community at this year's DAC. For Cadence, this was an excellent opportunity to showcase the various technologies covering system, IP and SoC designs.
A common theme I found among the customers was that most of them were involved in designing cutting-edge and complex mixed-signal devices targeting the Internet of Things (IoT) era. Given the technology focus on intelligent, connected devices, there has been an increased focus on mixed-signal designs. The analog and digital portions of SoCs have been increasingly integrated into the same die to meet the growing need for faster data processing, and the lower power requirement demanded by the mobile world we live in.
At DAC, the Cadence Theater -- an open theater arrangement, where we had our customers talk about their challenges and experience in designing chips with Cadence technologies -- was an overwhelming success. In the mixed-signal space, Texas Instrument's Nan (Kristin Liu) presented an OpenAccess (OA) based Inter-operable flow that is being used for mixed-signal implementation. The talk clearly showcased the OpenAccess (OA) database as the common database model between the Cadence Virtuoso platform for custom/analog design and Encounter Digital Implementation System for digital cell-based design.
The above flow diagram illustrates a typical concurrent mixed-signal implementation flow. The word concurrent is very key because the OpenAccess (OA) database eases the data transfers between the Virtuoso and the Encounter Implementation cockpits. This helps designers have access to the analog and digital view in real-time and does not yield any surprises created using the data translation. The OpenAccess (OA) based flow enables the design teams to either go with Analog-On-Top or Digital-on-Top methodologies based on their design style.
Apart from the seamless Implementation flow, the signoff flow required for Ppwer analysis and extraction deck use the same tech files to extraction and power grid analysis.
Key advantages of the OpenAccess based interoperable flow are:
o Reduces data translation between custom and digital interface
o Applies advanced Virtuoso wire editing capability in pre-route
o Interoperable constraint driven implementation
o Seamless routing constraint passing
o Static timing analysis (STA) across the boundaries
o Visibility into analog details from digital cockpit
o Unified look and feel for easy debugging
o Late stage ECOs for digital and analog
o Single design database
o Smoother and fewer A-D iterations
For analog centric designs, Cadence also offers specific packages such as Virtuoso Design Implementation(VDI) in L and XL packages. For digital centric users, the EDI -GXL advanced mixed-signal option package combines the needed analog implementation features with Encounter Digital Implementation system. If you are interested in learning more about the OpenAccess (OA) based mixed-signal flow, please contact your Cadence technical representative.
Cadence Online support has several documents to address your mixed-signal implementation needs. Another great resource is the recently released industry first Mixed-Signal Methodology Guide authored by Cadence and key Industry experts.