EDA / PCB Design

The world of electronic design automation is broad, covering everything from the simplest PCB to the most complex custom device. But without such tools, designers would be unable to create innovative consumer and industrial products.

In this section, New Electronics provides technical insight on the latest PCB design packages, as well as on the design tools essential to the creation of devices such as FPGAs and ASICs.

Balanced approach matches analogue design requirements

Despite its continuing – and, in many cases, increasing – importance in modern chips, analogue and mixed signal (AMS) design has proved difficult to automate. While digital design automation has seen rapid advancement during the last 30 years, the only major step forward for AMS designers has been the introduction of foundry verified cells, termed by various eda vendors as T-Cells, PCells, Mcells, Flexcells or Pycells. Beyond this, remarkably little has changed: it is not uncommon to find AMS designers relying on their expertise, experience and 'feel' to perform polygon based layout by hand. But, as design complexity has increased, this approach is becoming increasingly untenable.

FPGA-PCB codesign; a 21st Century approach to integrating fpgas into the pcb design process

Integrating advanced fpgas on a pcb is becoming increasingly challenging, with issues including generating optimal fpga pin assignments that do not add layers to a pcb or increase the time required to integrate the fpga with the pcb design. Because of this, fpga designers, schematic engineers and pcb designers struggle to create fpga pin assignments that meet the goals for the entire system.

Chip designers move up to the next level of abstraction

Engineers recognised years ago that increasing chip complexity meant they had to move to a higher level of abstraction. The problem has been determining precisely what this 'next level up' is and then making the connection back down to rtl code for physical hardware implementation.

Starting out

SAME offers a good showcase for start ups; particularly those offering eda tools. By Louise Joselyn.

Digital takeover

Analogue designers are having to be increasingly innovative to overcome process scaling problems. By Chris Edwards.

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