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Synopsys’ Galaxy Custom Designer tackles analog mixed signal (AMS) challenges

October 11, 2008

Synopsys Inc. recently unveiled its Galaxy Custom Designer solution, the industry’s first modern-era mixed-signal implementation solution. Architected for productivity, the Galaxy Custom Designer leverages Synopsys’ Galaxy Design Platform to provide a unified solution for custom and digital designs, thereby enhancing designer efficiency.

Galaxy Custom Designer delivers a familiar user interface while integrating a common use model for simulation, analysis, parasitic extraction and physical verification. It is the first-ever implementation solution built natively on the OpenAccess database for legacy designs as well as a new componentized infrastructure offering unprecedented openness and interoperability with process design kits (PDKs) from leading foundries.

Subhash Bal, Country Director, Synopsys (India) EDA Software Pvt. Ltd, highlighted three key features: One, it is architected for productivity. Two, it is a complete custom design solution. And three, it is based on an open environment.

The key question: why the Galaxy Custom Designer, and why now? Simple! The modern AMS era is characterized by interdependent custom and digital functions; analog IP is now mainstream; and there is the phenomena of an increased embedded memory. Current solutions are said to possess limited horizon. Hence, Galaxy!

A new solution is said to be the need of the hour, which is complete — verification and implementation, with common models, extraction, analysis. Re-spin is not an option. Next, unified implementation, which addresses both custom and cell based needs. Custom and cell based functions are highly interdependent. Also, close to 100 percent of designs today are AMS.

Finally, the solution has to be open and portable. This accelerates the design cycle and IP portability. Also, quicker access to process details is a must! Architected for productivity, Galaxy Custom Designer has a similar look and feel, and works using fewer clicks — three as against six!

Galaxy Custom Designer’s Schematic Editor has productivity enhancers such as real-time connectivity, on-canvas editing and smart connect. Similarly, productivity enhancers for its Layout Editor include push button DRC and Extract, standard TCL and Python PCells, and auto via and guard ring generation. The WaveView Analyzer has features such as highest capacity and performance, complex analysis toolbox, and an automated TCL verification scripting.

A unified platform for cell and custom means superior ease of use, performance, capacity and data integrity. Open and portable, it facilitates plug-and-Play IP as well as standards based PDK, which means one PDK for all tools, added Synopsys’ Bal.

The IPL (Interoperable PDK Libraries) is an industry alliance established on April 2007 to collaborate on the creation and promotion of interoperable process design kit (PDK) standards.

Wipro Technologies has been among the early users of the Galaxy Custom Designer. I also managed to speak with Anand Valavi, Group Head, Analog Mixed-Signal Group, Wipro Technologies.

Valavi said: “From an EDA tool perspective, in AMS area, the amount of productivity is a lot less than in the digital area. The per transistor productivity for a digital designer is several magnitudes higher than an analog designer.”

The methodology is definitely not as evolved as in the digital area. According to him, ‘This productivity will now increase for analog and AMS areas, and people can do a lot more complex designs in a shorter period of time. There has been a lot of integration.”

On the salient features or enhancements, he said there have been reasonably good improvement in several areas. One, there is an alternative, now, and that brings a lot of advantages. Two, when you take it down to next level, there are several other technical reasons.

Valavi added that an integrated environment definitely improved the productivity. There are other minor things. When you start using it, there are things that helps technical users — for example, an on-canvas editing. Also, the usage or collaborative results in the iPDK libraries will improve the effectiveness in chips designs that are churned out. “It will surely give people working in analog design area a choice,” he noted.

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