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RF/Microwave??

Circuit optimization tool tailored for analog/RF

Posted: 10 Mar 2010 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:analog? optimization tool? RF circuit? IC design?

From AgO Inc. comes the AnXplorer tool designed to optimize analog and RF circuits and uses either simulation or equations.

Starting with an unsized SPICE netlist, variables for device dimensions and a set of design objectives and constraints, AnXplorer optimizes device sizes by rigorously exploring the design space.

It uses an optimization approach based on either simulation or equations. The tool works with industry standard SPICE netlists and supports industry standard simulators including Synopsys HSPICE, Cadence Spectre and Legend Design Technology MSIM. It runs on the Linux OS.

By centering the design across all specified, process, temperature and voltage corners, AnXplorer achieves a robust design thereby enhancing the yield and improving the probability of first time silicon success.

According to AgO CEO Hillol Sarkar, analog and mixed-signal segment is growing much more rapidly than the rest of the semiconductor market. This trend is unlikely to change with the current massive growth in mobile data communications requiring both RF and mixed-signal design.

"Despite this, analog design automation has remained largely unchanged for many years," he said. "Circuits are usually entered by schematic capture and device sizes are manually tuned over many transistor-level simulation runs."

With it, he said, a designer can create an unsized circuit, design variables and objectives. AnXplorer will then generate an optimized, centered circuit that meets or exceeds the design objectives across all corners specified by the designer, using a new multi-algorithmic optimization strategy aided by an expert system."

A major challenge facing developers of analog and mixed-signal ICs is the frequent failure of analog circuits to meet their requirements. Design respins not only significantly inflate the IC's development costs but also adversely impact the final product's market entry.

Sarkar said the company's new tool is designed to help analog designers converge on their design objectives rapidly. "Analog circuits are responsible for 50 percent of all IC design respins; by automating the analog circuit optimization, the tool's optimization approach rigorously explores the design space searching for robust solutions over all process, temperature and supply voltage corners thereby improving yield.

Users can control the way optimization takes place by defining a hierarchy of design objectives. Unlike weighted-based handling of multiple objectives, the tool tries to meet high priority objectives before optimizing lower priority ones.

AnXplorer's design exploration database records all points during the optimization process. This enables designers to undertake "what-if" analysis or to trade off conflicting objectives if all objectives cannot realistically be met.

- Bernard Cole
Embedded.com





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