SAN FRANCISCODespite challenging times for his company and the industry as a whole, Magma Design Automation Inc. Chairman and CEO Rajeev Madhavan was upbeat about new products and his company's inroads in analog EDA during an interview with EE Times this week.
Madhavan said Magma is placing greater emphasis on tools for analog/mixed-signal design to address inadequacies in the current EDA tool flow. The company last year rolled out Titan, described as a full-chip mixed-signal design, analysis and verification platform.
"I'm not saying analog design is going to be push button," Madhavan said, adding that analog design does need greater automation and "what if" analysis.
Cadence Design Systems Inc. has long been the dominant player in analog design tools. Though Cadence stumbled last year, losing its standing as the No. 1 EDA vendor by revenue, the company's Virtuoso analog franchise is still considered formidable.
Madhavan, whose first job in EDA was working on analog tools at Cadence, said the Cadence tools provide layout and schematic editing but insufficient automation and simulation capabilities for deep-submicron design.
Last year Magma, Synopsys Inc. and startup Ciranova all introduced tools aimed at competing with Cadence in analog EDA.
Madhavan's comments echo those he made at the recent International Symposium on Quality Electronic Design in San Jose, Calif. There, Madhavan called analog design a "black art" with designs handcrafted by a designer and not transportable to new technology nodes.
"In digital, we can move designs from one node to another in a very predictable fashion," Madhavan said. "But doing this and putting them together in a mixed-signal chip is a very, very complex task today."
Today's analog design is done almost by brute force, adding margins that waste silicon area and performance, Madhavan said. Some of the design issues that were seen in digital 10 years ago, such as proximity effects, are now becoming a problem in analog, he said.
In the interview this week, Madhavan said he was excited by a review of Titan written by a TSMC engineer and published on EDA tool users' site Deepchip.com which says the foundry has achieved good results.