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Software tools speed up design process

Posted: 25 May 2009 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:software? EDA? design tool?

EDA software vendor Cadence Design Systems has introduced two tools aiming at speeding up the design process. The tools attack on different points: One provides a virtual hardware platform for software/hardware co-development, the other one speeds PCB routing for FPGA solutions.

Designers of complex embedded solutions frequently run into the problem that they cannot start developing the software before the hardware is available. By integrating virtual system-level platform Simics with its Incisive Software Extensions, the solution introduced allows application development even before the silicon is available, Cadence claims. Simics is a scalable software platform for modeling electronic systems, provided by Cadence cooperation partner Virtutech, Inc.

The combination of the two software platforms does not only cut the time-to-market in that it allows users to bring forward the start of the software development, but it also allows early hardware/software co-verification by supporting the Open Verification Methodology, claimed Cadence product marketing director Ran Avinum.

The other tool introduced at the user event in Munich aims at speeding up the design process for PCBs containing one or more complex FPGAs. The tool automates the FPGA pin assignment which today typically is done in a manual, time consuming process. Since the manual process is very complex error-prone, many iterations are required to optimize the layout. If PCBs are populated with multiple FPGAs, the complexity of the problem and thus the time necessary to design a board rises exponentially, explained Hemant Shah, Allegro PCB product marketing manager for Cadence. The software at hand offers a very high speed gain over the manual process, Shah promised.

Currently designers tend to solve the problem by adding additional layers to the printed circuit board, which drives the price for these PCBs higher. In contrast, the solution introduced reduces the number of layers and thus simplifies the PCB. The software was developed by Taray Inc. with whom Cadence maintains an OEM agreement.

The software supports FPGAs from vendors Altera and Xilinx, Shah said.

- Christoph Hammerschmidt
EE Times Europe

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