Benchmark Proves Model Results More Accurate Than Competitive Tools -- Parallel Execution Provides Higher Characterization Throughput
SAN JOSE, Calif., May 10, 2010 -- Magma(R) Design Automation, a provider of chip design software, today announced SiliconSmart(R) ACE Memory Characterization, the latest addition to the industry-standard SiliconSmart IP characterization and modeling product line. By embedding Magma's ultra-fast FineSim(TM) Pro simulator and leveraging Magma's proprietary optimization technology for memory circuits, SiliconSmart ACE Memory Characterization provides faster, more accurate timing, power and noise characterization of memory instances than competitive tools. With SiliconSmart ACE Memory Characterization, integrated circuit (IC) designers can reduce turnaround time and deliver better results for designs targeted at 28-nanometer (nm) and smaller process nodes.
Accurate timing, power and noise models for memory instances are required to achieve design closure in today's system-on-chip (SoC) designs. Memory compilers, which use data-fitting technology through interpolation and extrapolation to generate memory instance models, often fail to meet accuracy requirements. A complete simulation-based re-characterization of such memory-compiler-created memory instances has become the most critical capabilities for an IP characterization tool. The combination of Magma's SiliconSmart ACE characterization technology and FineSim Pro simulation technology provides an optimized characterization methodology with enough simulation power to acquire measurements for all arcs on all data points and to deliver the required accuracy in the created models.
"SiliconSmart ACE Memory Characterization provides ease of use through automation, efficiency through optimization and accuracy through simulation, significantly reducing the time and effort to model any memory instance," said Anirudh Devgan, general manager of Magma's Custom Design Business Unit. "With its simple and user-friendly functional description and multiple automation techniques, an IP characterization engineer can set up the flow quickly and characterize a memory instance without having deep knowledge of how the memory is designed. By integrating Magma's industry-leading FineSim Pro simulator into the SiliconSmart ACE characterization tool, Magma not only improves accuracy and speed, but also lowers our customers' overall cost of owning a memory characterization tool."
SiliconSmart ACE Memory Characterization: Faster, More Accurate Memory Characterization
Memory circuits pose a greater simulation challenge than other IP such as standard cells because they incorporate more devices and are more complex. To take into account the multiple power domains and signal coupling caused by the RC network, a memory characterization tool requires a simulator with the accuracy to handle the sensitive analog circuitry, as well as the speed to simulate the numerous simulation decks. At the heart of SiliconSmart ACE memory characterization are the FineSim Pro simulation technology, dynamic circuit reduction through smart netlist pruning, automatic internal node identification, constraint acceleration and template-guided function descriptions for vector generation. Each contributes to ease of setup and also provides unparalleled full simulation-based characterization throughput without loss of accuracy.
SiliconSmart ACE Memory Characterization addresses these requirements with the following capabilities:
FineSim Pro simulation technology blends both SPICE simulation and Fast-SPICE simulation into one single circuit simulator. SiliconSmart ACE Memory Characterization takes advantage of its "multi-mode" engine to make appropriate tradeoffs for accuracy and speed. For example, it assigns SPICE simulation to analog circuitry such as sense amps to ensure accuracy, and assigns Fast-SPICE simulation to digital circuitry such as control logic for speed. FineSim Pro's industry-leading technology for analyzing non-ideal power rails for memory circuits greatly increases overall simulation speed by intelligently partitioning the power rail RC network, signal RCs and MOS transistors.
Stimuli or vectors to excise a memory circuit for a specific measurement in characterization usually propagate through a specific portion of the circuit. To increase throughput, a memory characterization tool must have the capability to remove the inactive portions of the circuit from the simulation deck. Unlike the traditional simple-but-inaccurate path-based reduction methodology, SiliconSmart ACE memory characterization employs a smart netlist-pruning algorithm that utilizes FineSim Pro simulation for circuit structural analysis that identifies and eliminates non-essential active devices and RCs. The actual simulation deck after this highly efficient dynamic circuit reduction per measurement vector set is much smaller than the original netlist, shortening simulation runtime.
Constraint measurements such as setup and hold in memory characterization are not only very time-consuming, but also difficult to probe. This is because the data and clock usually meet at an internal node, which is hard to locate in a fully RC-extracted netlist. SiliconSmart ACE Memory Characterization runs the FineSim Pro simulation to monitor toggling behaviors of potential candidates and, after a thorough heuristic analysis, automatically identifies the right internal node for constraint measurement. In addition to the constraint acceleration technology included in SiliconSmart ACE for standard cells, SiliconSmart ACE Memory Characterization includes memory constraint acceleration technology that selectively saves memory states and then intelligently reuses these states to improve runtime over the multiple clock cycle iteration process without any loss of accuracy.
Like SiliconSmart ACE, which provides ease of use through automatic function recognition for standard cell characterization, SiliconSmart ACE Memory Characterization reduces the burden of setup by providing a template library to describe various memory functions. This high-level functional description automatically creates all control files and all the necessary simulation vectors for all the arcs for a re-characterization of a memory instance with the same model structure but more accurate numbers through simulation.
Pricing and Availability
SiliconSmart ACE Memory Characterization is an extension to SiliconSmart ACE and is available now.
Magma's electronic design automation (EDA) software provides the "Fastest Path to Silicon"(TM) and enables the world's top chip companies to create high-performance integrated circuits (ICs) for cellular telephones, electronic games, WiFi, MP3 players, digital video, networking and other electronic applications. Magma products are used in IC implementation, analog/mixed-signal design, analysis, physical verification, circuit simulation and characterization. The company maintains headquarters in San Jose, Calif., and offices throughout North America, Europe, Japan, Asia and India. Magma's stock trades on Nasdaq under the ticker symbol LAVA. Visit Magma Design Automation on the Web at www.magma-da.com.