Electrically Aware Design can speed IC design flow

July 11, 2013 // By Graham Prophet
Cadence's Virtuoso Layout Suite Electrically Aware Design (EAD) can save engineers days or weeks of design time by enabling real-time parasitic extraction during layout; a new product and methodology reduces need for multiple design iterations and “over design,” translating to better performance and less area.

Offering increased design team productivity and circuit performance for custom ICs, Cadence has updated its custom design flow with its Virtuoso Layout Suite for Electrically Aware Design (EAD). This in-design electrical verification capability enables design teams to monitor electrical issues while a layout is created, rather than wait until the layout is completed before verifying that it meets the original design intent. Virtuoso Layout Suite EAD allows engineers to reduce their circuit design cycle by up to 30% while optimising chip size and performance.

Engineers can electrically analyse, simulate and verify interconnect decisions in real time, resulting in layout that is electrically correct-by-construction. This real-time visibility lets engineers reduce conservative design practices – or “over-design” – that can negatively impact a chip’s performance and area. The tools embody;

• The ability to capture currents and voltages from simulations run in the Virtuoso Analog Design Environment, and pass that electrical information forward into the layout environment

• Management capabilities that enable circuit designers to set electrical constraints (such as matched capacitance and resistance) and allow layout designers to observe in real-time if these constraints are being met

• A built-in interconnect parasitic extraction engine that rapidly evaluates layout as it is created and provides an in-design electrical view for real-time analysis and optimisation

• Electromigration (EM) analysis that alerts layout engineers to any EM issues that are being created as the layout is drawn

• Partial layout re-simulation that helps prevent errors from getting buried deep in a packed layout, thus minimising re-spins and reducing the need to “over-design”

• A greater level of collaboration between circuit designers and layout designers to achieve electrically correct-by-construction layout, regardless of where the team members are located

“Virtuoso Layout Suite EAD represents a big leap forward for automating custom design, enabling layout designers and circuit designers to work together more efficiently and effectively through greater real-time visibility into electrical issues,” said Tom Beckley, senior