Siemens extends mixed signal verification tool with 10x boost

New Products |
By Nick Flaherty

Siemens EDA has launched the latest version of its Symphony mixed-signal simulation tool that provides a productivity boost of up to 10x.

The Symphony Pro tool from Siemens Digital Industries Software now supports the latest Accellera standardized verification methodologies with a visual debug cockpit, resulting in productivity improvements of up to 10X compared to legacy solutions.  

The tool is designed to work with high level SPICE models that can speed up simulation of analog designs as part of a digital simulation of chips for automotive, imaging, IoT, 5G, computing and storage applications.

“Mixed signal is everywhere. Everything we see in the real world is analog, and with all the automotive electronics ramping up this feeds into the digital electronic control units. You then need to feed that back to the analog devices,” said Sathishkumar Balasubramanian, head of products for the analog mixed signal business unit at Siemens.

Symphony Pro is designed to address issues such as incorrect bus wires, polarity bias mismatch and analog IP behaviour during startup that can impact on the performance of the system on chip.

“One of the most important things is the lack of performance in golden SPICE models, so you need to strike a balance between accuracy and new methodologies to speed up the simulations,” said Balasubramanian.  

Instead the tool uses real number models, simplified models provided by the IP provider for elements such as DDR PHY, LVDS, SERDES, RF, PLLs and RFID blocks. “This models the analog circuit behaviour as a digital circuit which allows us to stay in a 100% digital flow,” he said. “You are doing top level modelling and taking advantage of the speed of the models so that when you assemble the IP you can take advantage of the verification suites.”

The tool combines Siemens’ existing Symphony, which has over 80 tapeouts with 100 customers,  and Questa Visualizer platforms and adds industry-standard Universal Verification Methodology (UVM) and Unified Power Format (UPF) driven low-power techniques.

“The Symphony platform really focusses on setup and ease of use to get all the new teams up and running with verification. There has not been much is tackling debug of mixed signal designs so what we see is almost 80% of design time is consumed on the debug side so we wanted to invest in this with new methodologies to speed up debug,” he said. “We wanted to be as flexible as possible in adding other solvers or existing scripts that can be converted into Symphony.”

Customers include STMicroelectronics and Silicon Labs.

“Mixed-Signal functional verification is increasingly vital for our sophisticated designs targeted for the imaging and automotive industries. We’ve participated in the early access program for Symphony Pro and have seen significant productivity gains thanks to advanced debugging capabilities and seamless support for multi-layer sandwich configurations in Symphony Pro,” said Stephane Vivien, senior CAD manager, Imaging Division, STMicroelectronics. “We look forward to using Symphony Pro as our sign-off solution for present and future mixed-signal verification projects.”

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