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The System Analysis Knowledge Bytes blog series explores the capabilities and potential of the System Analysis tools offered by Cadence®. In addition to providing insight into the useful features and enhancements in this area, this series aims to broadcast the views of different bloggers and experts, who share their knowledge and experience on all things related to System Analysis.
Electronic design engineers face many multi-physics and multi-domain design challenges every day. These challenges tend to arise when signal integrity, power integrity, and electromagnetic interference issues are treated independently and not as a single system. We at Cadence recognized the need for system-level analysis and created a complete system-level signal and power integrity (SI/PI) solution, called Cadence® SigrityTM X.
In this interview, Brad Griffin, Product Management Group Director for Sigrity Marketing shares his views about product innovations, specifically, Sigrity X, and the future of system analysis.
So, let’s get started!
Hello Brad, could you share your professional journey in electronic systems, and how you became part of the Sigrity and Systems Analysis team?
Brad: Fresh out of college, I worked as a software engineer creating control software for business machines and large disk drives used on supercomputers. After several years of working on embedded software, I was lucky enough to get into an EDA startup that was working on signal integrity and timing tools. Once the startup was acquired, I was asked to represent our tools on the business side, and I have been associated with product management ever since. I joined Cadence before we acquired Sigrity, so it has been my pleasure to merge the talents from Sigrity with the overall Cadence design and analysis solution. I have had various leadership roles as our team has created the very successful product line that is central to our Multiphysics Systems Analysis group.
Q: There has been a lot of buzz around Sigrity X. Could you tell us more about it?
Brad: Sigrity X includes a full set of tools for analyzing system-level designs, whether it is serial link, parallel bus, or PI analysis. The main highlight of Sigrity X is the efficient distributed computing that enables large simulations to be much faster than previously possible.
As you know, most of the EDA code was written during the days of single core computers. We made a big effort at Cadence and started supporting distributed computing across multiple cores and multiple computers with Voltus. We then created a full-wave 3D field solver called the Cadence® ClarityTM 3D Solver, which is extremely memory-efficient and is able to solve problems across multiple computers. It is not the only tool in the market that can accomplish that task; however, it is probably one of the better ones in doing so, because of how efficient it is in the way it uses memory and handles inter-process communication. After Clarity, we came up with a thermal tool for electrical engineers called, CelsiusTM Thermal Solver. Both Clarity and Celsius are helping our customers simulate beyond a single PCB or IC Package, thus enabling true-3D system-level simulations.
With all these developments, the focus of the Cadence Product Development team was to support system-level signal and power integrity analysis.
With the Sigrity X product line, we took distributed computing to another level. Now, we have all three—Clarity, Celsius, and Sigrity—able to handle much bigger problems because they are able to utilize all the available resources.
Q: How is Sigrity X redefining signal and power integrity analysis?
Brad: As a signal and power integrity engineer, you want to exhaustively analyze everything that includes optimizing the design so that you have the most margin available for signal quality. Sigrity X redefines the engineer’s job by taking advantage of all the simulation capacity available to them so efficiently that something that used to take overnight can be now done over a short break. So, it gives an opportunity to fully optimize the design and take simulation to another level. With Sigrity X, all Sigrity tools finish simulations up to 10X faster when the number of cores remains consistent and there’s near-linear scalability performance improvement when more cores are added.
Q: What are some of the power integrity and signal integrity improvements enabled by Sigrity X?
Brad: PowerSI, PowerDC, and SystemSI are the core Sigrity tools. PowerSI is also an extraction tool much like Clarity 3D as it does interconnect extraction using a hybrid 2D/3D solver approach. System-level Signal and Power Integrity often covers multiple boards, or it could be a package on top of a board. Therefore, the advantage with Sigrity X is that you no longer need to divide your problems into smaller chunks to get results in a reasonable time period.
SystemSI allows you to put together the I/O and interconnect model blocks from where the signal originates, at the transmitter(s), to where the signal ends, at the receiver(s). This is where all the pieces in the interconnect go through, whether it is the redistribution layer in the chip or it is the package, a PCB, a connector, or a cable. All those different models can be plugged together in SystemSI and then you can simulate and see what your signal looks like from point A to point B. Another exciting thing you can do with SystemSI is before you have all the detailed interconnect, you can put dummy models in place and run simulations that sweep characteristics whether it is driver characteristics or transmission line characteristics, to find out the solution space. With Sigrity X, there can be thousands of simulations that can potentially be run to get the full solution space much faster.
Also, a new tool called SystemPI is now added to Sigrity X. This tool is on the power integrity side and can plug all the pieces together from the voltage source (the VRM) to the voltage sink. Similar to System SI, you can validate all the models to see if the power integrity will be met across the full system.
Q: Could you tell us more about the user interface of Sigrity X. How does it improve the user experience?
Brad: In Sigrity X, the Sigrity user interface has been revamped significantly and the tools in the product portfolio have been moved into a unified graphical user interface (GUI) for a common, consistent user experience. Additionally, all workflows have been migrated into the same environment, called the Layout Workbench, enabling engineers to easily switch from one tool to another without the need to open each tool separately. Layout Workbench supports both light and dark themes, and many of the panels can be configured interchangeably.
We have two other workbenches. One is called the Topology Workbench, which has SystemSI and SystemPI. The other workbench is called the 3D Workbench that has Clarity 3D and Celsius 3D. All these workbenches provide a consistent look and feel in Sigrity X.
Q: What is unique about Sigrity X? Why should somebody invest in Sigrity X as compared to the tools that any of your competitors offer?
Brad: The depth and breadth of tools and options available at Cadence is remarkable. We offer the broadest, most integrated end-to-end solutions to help today’s electronic designers. Another thing that sets us apart from our competitors is that we don’t just design tools for our customers, we also use our own tools within Cadence. So, we know what kind of problems the designers face and have designed our solutions around those.
Q: What do you see as the future of system analysis?
Brad: Our goals are all focused on helping our customers address their design challenges efficiently and maximizing engineering productivity during the design cycle. For some customers that may be shrinking their design cycle, for others that may be optimizing a product for cost and performance. With analysis tools integrated into the design environment that provide simulation results accurately, customers are empowered to produce better products. I believe that Cadence system analysis technology is essential to achieving these goals.
Q: So, what's next for you at Cadence?Brad: I love what I do at Cadence, so I don’t see any big changes in my future. I am confident that our business will continue to see rapid growth which means our product management team will need to grow as well. I look forward to sharing my passion with others that join our team.
Q. What activities do you enjoy when you are not working on EDA innovations? Tell us something about your hobbies and interests.Brad: Work keeps me pretty busy, but I do my best to take time for family and fun. I look forward to family vacations and always enjoy when I get a chance to take my golf clubs out to a golf course.
Thank you, Brad, for sharing your views on Sigrity X. We look forward to getting more insights from you on future innovations in the Sigrity and Systems Analysis space.
Sigrity X - Redefining Signal and Power Integrity
Sigrity Release Overview and Common Tools What's New
System Analysis Knowledge Bytes: Sigrity X the Next-Generation Signal and Power Integrity Solution
For more information on Cadence Sigrity and Systems Analysis products and services, visit www.cadence.com.