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Analog EDA Finally Automated

Bosch transferred method to Cadence
4/1/2015 09:59 AM EDT
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With notion
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April first
With notion   10/5/2015 8:08:58 PM
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Well, April 1st is the ideal day to say that Analog Design is finally automated.

JSCHEIBLE
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JSCHEIBLE   4/4/2015 8:43:47 AM
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As the presenter of the invited talk „Automation of Analog IC Layout – Challenges and Solutions" I'd like to give one comment to the article and another one to the discussion.

1. The „continuous design flow" and the „bottom-up meets top-down design flow" are long-term visions of how the analog layout design flow could be significantly improved. (The first one was not part of my talk.) The latter shows a way of conflating the advantages of „top-down" optimizing algorithms (e.g. placers, routers) and „bottom-up" procedural approaches (e.g. pcells for entire analog modules) to a really fully automated layout flow which also has the potential of being accepted by industrial users. A first very promising tool supporting the „bottom-up" part of this approach is the „PCell-Designer" of Cadence, which provides a new visual way of pcell programming. The thing Bosch has transferred to Cadence was the idea to do a pcell programming in this manner. Although there was already a running inhouse tool on Bosch side, Cadence developed this novel tool completely from scratch and implemented many helpful additional features. Thus, the PCell Designer is an excellent example of a successful cooperation between EDA-industry, EDA-customers and academia.

2. Jens Lienig and I investigated the reasons why the majority of analog layout designers in industry have not accepted tools for an automated layout synthesis so far. One of these reasons is the fact, that especially for crucial analog designs it is too hard or even impossible to do a complete explicit description of all requirements (i.e. „constraints") an optimization based tool needs to generate a satisfying solution. OK – in this regard „satisfying" in practice often just means „being in accordance with an analog layouter's expection". Nevertheless an expert's expection is based on experience and should not been neglected just because he or she can't explain the reasons for them in all details.

For more details, please see our paper:

http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/2717764.2717781

R_Colin_Johnson
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Re: Analog Auromation
R_Colin_Johnson   4/2/2015 3:05:38 PM
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Yes, you are right. There are many excellent automation tools for available to "new age" analog designers today. I guess the "experts" at ISPD are referring to the old-school analog designers who have their favorate ways of doing things. One comment made by Rutenbar was that whenever he pitches the new analog tools to  old-school designers he gets the same question every time "why did it put this via over there" to which he has no answer. The tool doesn't tell you its "reasoning" making old-school designers nervous. At least that's how they described it at ISPD. Thanks for your fresh perspective.

Keith Sabine
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Analog Auromation
Keith Sabine   4/2/2015 2:37:28 PM
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This used to be true, but new tools like Pulsic Animate can simultanously place and route analog designs using new algortithms.Multiple placed and routed layouts can be generated in seconds. No other tool can do this.

R_Colin_Johnson
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Re: All the Details
R_Colin_Johnson   4/2/2015 2:23:16 PM
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No the headline refers to automation of the layout phase of analog design, which analog experts are only now beginning to use in earnest, according to Jurgen Scheible from the Robert Bosch Center and Rob Rutenbar at the University of Illinois, both quoted in the story.

jgamble
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Re: All the Details
jgamble   4/2/2015 1:24:09 PM
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Wait, you mean that the headline wasn't just an April Fool's joke?

R_Colin_Johnson
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All the Details
R_Colin_Johnson   4/1/2015 3:08:30 PM
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All the details regarding automating the analog design flow can be downloaded free at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/2717764.2717781

R_Colin_Johnson
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Re: yes and
R_Colin_Johnson   4/1/2015 1:13:09 PM
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Yes, all the EDA companies are automating their analog tools, but few have completely automated layout front-ends and even fewer analog designers use them.

alex_m1
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yes and
alex_m1   4/1/2015 11:32:29 AM
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I think they already have an automated analog tool:

 

http://www.thalia-da.com/

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