Cadence Expand into System Analysis Market

Article By : Dylan McGrath

Cadence is moving beyond EDA into the systems analysis market, initially with an electromagnetic field solver but with plans to add other tools

SAN FRANCISCO — Cadence Design Systems is moving beyond semiconductor EDA and expanding into the system analysis market, initially with an electromagnetic field solver but with plans to add other tools with the capability to analyze complete systems.

Cadence’s new 3D Solver is the first product in its Clarity line of system analysis tools. The tool boasts electromagnetic simulation capability that delivers up to 10 times the performance of Cadence’s previous-generation field solver. The Clarity 3D Solver also offers a distributed multiprocessing architecture that gives it “virtually unlimited capacity” along with “gold-standard accuracy,” according to Cadence.

Like all EDA vendors, Cadence is keen to expand beyond the relatively stagnant market for EDA tools and grow into adjacent areas where its technology may find broader adoption. Clarity 3D Solver was announced by Cadence CEO Lip-Bu Tan at the company’s annual CDNLive users’ group event Tuesday in San Jose.

According to Brad Griffin, a product management director at Cadence, the architecture of Clarity 3D Solver allows the tool to be run across hundreds of CPUs optimized for both cloud and on-premises distributed computing. This architecture gives the product the capability to work on 3D structures beyond a chip to address packaging, boards, connectors, and cables, providing analysis of the EM properties of the entire system.

Cadence technology
Test case showing performance of Clarity 3D Solver versus legacy Cadence technology on a 112G connector-PCB interface. (Source: Cadence)

“I think that what we are doing is enabling those companies that build products for automotive, aerospace, high-performance computing, 5G, and other applications to be able to look at problems that they wouldn’t have been able to see until they got to the lab and [the design] failed,” Griffin said in an interview with EE Times. “It really empowers them to take a more comprehensive view of the systems that the products they are designing go into.”

According to Griffin, field solvers on the market today are very much limited by the amount of compute resources at their disposal. Existing field solvers have failed to keep pace with rapidly increasing performance demands imposed by challenges such as those posed by 112G SerDes interfaces requiring dozens of complex extractions and simulations, he said. To accommodate such workloads, these tools must run on expensive high-performance servers.

Clarity 3D Solver, on the other hand, uses a distributed adaptive meshing approach to partition a job across multiple low-cost computers at the same level of efficiency as when running across a more powerful server that has terabytes of memory, he said.

Cadence technology DDR4
Test case showing performance of Clarity 3D Solver versus legacy Cadence technology on a DDR4 interface. (Source: Cadence)

“Because we can distribute adaptive meshing across multiple machines, it’s more efficient and it allows you to throw 300 to 400 cores at a design, whereas an existing solution is just not going to be able to scale across that many machines,” Griffin said.

The tool also has significantly smaller memory requirements when compared to legacy 3D solvers, according to Griffin.

Clarity 3D Solver is also available on Cadence’s new CloudBurst, the company’s platform for providing customers with access to pre-installed Cadence tools in a ready-to-use cloud environment built on either Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure. Cadence announced the CloudBurst platform Monday.

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