FREE subscription
Subscribe for free to receive each issue of Semiconductor Today magazine and weekly news brief.


5 May 2008


Agilent announces 10x faster planar 3D EM simulation

Agilent Technologies Inc of Santa Clara, CA, USA has announced a 10x speed-up of its planar 3D electromagnetic (EM) simulator, which is part of the Update 1 release of its Advanced Design System (ADS) 2008 electronic design automation (EDA) software platform.

The speed improvement can help RFIC, RF module and high-speed gigabit serial-link designers to take advantage of EM simulation for faster, more accurate design and signal integrity verification, says the firm.

“The cumulative effect of our EM technology improvements means our customers can use our Momentum simulator for accurate, interactive design, and not just for limited sign-off verification,” says Jan Van-Hese, EM R&D project manager with Agilent’s EEsof EDA division, which provides RF-mixed signal circuit and system-design software. “The 10x speed improvement and meshing accuracy makes EM problem-solving possible for even very large and complex designs.”

Momentum is the planar 3D EM simulator in ADS 2008. Significant enhancements to its speed and capacity for analyzing large multigigabit serial-link signal integrity, RFIC and RF module design include:

  • a fast and memory-efficient solver based on the NlogN matrix compression techniques that tackle problems up to six times larger than previously possible;
  • multicore computer use through parallelizing the solve process across all available PC-processor cores;
  • distributed simulation over networked computer clusters to perform multipoint EM simulation in parallel and;
  • a robust mesher that intelligently pre-processes layouts imported from other systems to guarantee mesh-related simulation accuracy.

The ADS 2008 Update 1 is expected to be available for download in July, with prices starting at about $10,000. See:

RF/mixed-signal simulation coverage expanded for wireless communications IC design

Agilent has also released the latest version of its GoldenGate RFIC simulation and analysis software, representing an expansion in RFIC simulation coverage for wireless communications products, with 5x transient simulation speed improvements and new mixed-signal simulation capabilities resulting in shorter RFIC product development times.

“RFIC designers have limited simulation coverage today - simulating a fraction of what they need to before the tape-out deadline,” says Marc Petersen, product marketing manager with the EEsof EDA division. “They are missing design problems and incurring costly re-spins. GoldenGate 4.2 enables more simulation coverage with increased speed and capacity, and takes advantage of new ways to uncover RF/mixed-signal problems early in the design cycle.”

In RFIC design, transient (SPICE) simulations provide time-domain results. GoldenGate 4.2 features improvements to transient simulations, achieving faster speeds of 2x to 4x on single-core computers and typically 5x for quad-core computers. The transient improvements also help speed up the frequency-domain simulation process. Faster simulations allow for more extensive use of statistical design throughout the RFIC design cycle, without compromising tight development schedules.

Digital State Sweeping (DSS), a new GoldenGate 4.2 feature, provides an automated solution to the problem of sweeping an RF design through its many digital control states. Performing the sweep manually is a tedious simulation task. DSS automates operational verification of the control states and provides interface and connectivity testing as well as digital-RF connectivity debugging, allowing digital and RF teams to work concurrently.

GoldenGate 4.2 also includes:

  • the ability to perform mixed-signal simulations on a combination of RF and digital circuits represented by Verilog-AMS blocks;
  • new wireless sources from the Agilent Ptolemy simulator, including transmit/receive waveforms for 802.11(WiFi), 802.16 (WiMAX/WiMAN), TDSCMDA, 3GPPFDD, and custom, user-defined wireless sources, and;
  • improved Monte Carlo algorithms (Latin Hypercube Sampling and Hammersley Sequence Sampling) for faster Monte Carlo coverage with 5-10x fewer trials.

Prices for GoldenGate Release 4.2 start at about $42,000. A demonstration is available at:

Search: Agilent EDA RFIC