07 May 2009

Charles Blackwood, UK sales manager, Ansoft

Charles Blackwood, UK sales manager, Ansoft talks with Chris Shaw

CS: How does Ansoft's technology meet the challenges of modern high performance IC design?
CB: Ansoft LLC is a leading developer of high performance EDA software. Our software is based on more than 1000 man years of research and development from the world renowned experts in electromagnetics, circuit, and system simulation. Engineers use Ansoft products to quickly and profitably deliver high performance electronic designs found in the computer, communications, automotive, semiconductor and consumer electronics sectors. We built our solution based on the firm foundation of electromagnetics. Because all electrical engineering is based upon the underlying behaviour of electromagnetic fields, Ansoft can provide unprecedented accuracy and rigor when simulating the performance of electronic systems. Models created by performing electromagnetic field simulation are used in advanced circuit and system simulation to accurately predict behaviour in the time and frequency domains.
Your readers may know that Ansoft was acquired by ANSYS last year. ANSYS is a leader in advanced engineering simulation. Our technology is used by engineers to design and simulate products on the computer without resorting to physical prototypes. Our vision is to provide OEMs with a single platform in which all of their physics can be analysed - from electromagnetics to thermal to structural to mechanical, whether singly or interactively. We have a very strong presence in the automotive, aerospace, chemical processing, power, and semiconductor industries. The Ansoft acquisition allowed the best in class electromagnetic simulation capabilities for high performance electronics and electromechanical design to become part of the broader ANSYS multiphysics solution.
For IC design, Ansoft products are used to extract accurate models for IC packaging, on chip components, and coupled electromagnetic circuit simulation. Our solution is particularly well suited for sensitive analogue and rf circuits that must have accurate modelling of on chip capacitors, on chip inductors and packaging. The oscillation frequency of a VCO circuit, for example, is highly sensitive to the inductance in the tank circuit and coupling between on-chip inductors and other layout structures. Ansoft's coupled electromagnetic circuit solution can predict the oscillator frequency accurately by including all of the parasitics computed by rigorous electromagnetics.

CS: What effect has the recession had on Ansoft in the last two quarters?
CB: We have exceeded revenue expectations for the last two quarters. However, we do see the challenging economic environment continuing until at least the third quarter of this year. Many of our top customers actually increase R&D spending during economic downturns in order to increase their competitive advantage. We still see significant activity from these elite customers who will be the likely leaders out of this current recession.

CS: What are the challenges that Ansoft's signal integrity design products look to address?
CB: Our solution is popular for very high speed serial signalling found in today's telecommunication, high definition video, gaming and data storage systems. SoC designers integrate specialised serial I/O buffers to take advantage of modern serial interfaces such as PCI Express, Serial ATA, Gigabit Ethernet, and HDMI. Adopting these standards is now a requirement, but sending gigabit speed signals from the IC die, into the package and across a system pcb can be a challenge. Impairments along the signal path such as lossy pcb traces, via structures, connectors, and cables reduce the signal quality. Ansoft software is used to analyse and design interconnects to minimise the impairments.
We also have tools that simulate entire printed circuit boards for signal integrity, power integrity, and EMI. Engineers can perform post route simulation for serial interconnect, memory interfaces, simultaneous switching output noise and radiation.

CS: How can Ansoft help designers of high frequency systems meet performance specifications?
CB: Because our tools are based on electromagnetics, we can predict performance of high frequency designs with remarkable accuracy. We worked with CEA Leti on a 60GHz CMOS radio project. Our Ansoft Designer circuit simulation environment was used to build custom distributed elements and an associated component library for millimetre-wave design. Electrical models in that library were generated by dynamically linking to electromagnetic solvers. By performing parametric simulations we developed a complete parameterised component useful for design and optimisation of the interstage matching networks. Comparisons to measurements showed that we predicted full radio performance accurately all the way up to 105GHz. Of course, this is also a testament to the careful measurement methods performed by the CEA Leti engineers as making measurements at such high frequencies is a discipline all in itself. The higher the frequency, the more important is coupled electromagnetics - circuit simulation.

Author
Chris Shaw

Supporting Information

Websites
http://www.ansoft.co.uk

Companies
Ansys UK

This material is protected by Findlay Media copyright
See Terms and Conditions.
One-off usage is permitted but bulk copying is not.
For multiple copies contact the sales team.

Do you have any comments about this article?


Add your comments

Name
 
Email
 
Comments
 

Your comments/feedback may be edited prior to publishing. Not all entries will be published.
Please view our Terms and Conditions before leaving a comment.

Related Articles

Updated P&R package

Following a 'ground up' redesign of its IC Compiler place and route software, ...

Mentor buys BDA

Mentor Graphics has bought EDA specialist Berkeley Design Automation (BDA) in ...

'Significant' layout launch

Looking to address a range of PCB design challenges, including growing ...

Models move into mainstream

The general idea behind model based system engineering, or MBSE, is that it ...

The system architecture jigsaw

Is a system architecture created from the apocryphal clean sheet of paper any ...

Protecting embedded systems

An embedded system can be attacked by injecting malware at some point. Once ...

Design-to-cost visibility

Design decisions have an accumulative impact on the life cycle cost of a ...

On-chip debug logic

This whitepaper outlines Altera and ARM's latest innovations in on-chip debug ...

Next Generation System Design – Platforms ...

This paper from Altium examines the unified design platform as a new ...

OCXO module with GPS

IQD's new IQCM-100 GPS advanced OCXO module, designed for use in LTE and 4G ...

PCIe clock buffers

Texas Instruments has introduced a pair of four and eight output current ...

Programmable clock generators

The VersaClock 5 family, announced today by IDT, is designed to offer best in ...

Control Theory Seminar pt.1

The Control Theory Seminar is a one-day technical seminar covering the ...

Control Theory Seminar pt.2

The Control Theory Seminar is a one-day technical seminar covering the ...

Control Theory Seminar pt. 3

The Control Theory Seminar is a one day technical seminar covering the ...

The Heartbleed glitch

Last week we were awakened to the news of a new software 'glitch' called ...

Do we need frequency accuracy?

Precision crystal oscillators, typically high performance temperature ...

Cadence targets IP leadership

In a report from December 2012's IPSoC conference in Grenoble, Louise Joselyn ...

Colin Smithers, Plextek

Plextek's group chairman Colin Smithers tells Graham Pitcher how it's time for ...

Aart de Geus, Synopsys

Some 15 years ago, Synopsys bet on the idea that third party intellectual ...

Wally Rhines, veteran, EDA

EDA veteran Wally Rhines tells Graham Pitcher that system design is the future ...