Those old familiar screens (via Cadence)
The complexity and phenomenally small scale of today's transistors and integrated circuits (ICs) demands a need for simulation, run them before the manufacturing process. SPICE ( Simulation program with integrated circuit emphasis) is a program designed to meet our needs. However, engineers have stated on multiple occasions that a faster running SPICE program is needed to test and verify modern circuits.
Cadence Design Systems Inc is the leading electronic design automation (EDA) company, and they are currently working relentlessly to create a faster running program. Senior vice president Tom Beckley made the announcement May 15 after Cadence had brought in a handful of senior developers from Nassada to help work on the project. Currently, SPICE works incrementally to find a convergence solution solving multiple node equations. Trying to simulate large designs or circuits that resonate at high frequencies can require millions of calculations and thus, lots of time and processing power.
Simulating complex circuits before committing to them is an important part of today's design process. A faster SPICE may help persuade analog designers to start using digital tools to help in their design process. Beckley stated, “the new program being worked on can simulate a 29-Gigabyte memory in a matter of hours.” Along with speed, Candence is looking to improve user functionality and the ability to work with flash memory and various transistor types. The improvements in the program will offer a very useful open-source tool for engineers to use in their design process. All strutting and touting aside, we can expect to hear more about the program's progress later in the year.