editor's blog
Subscribe Now

Parallel Accurate SPICE

SPICE has got to be one of the oldest tools still being used by designers. So you might expect it to be a mature market, with a few well-established tools battling for the best performance/capacity and/or accuracy (and occasionally even collaborating).

In fact, it’s typically been more about “or” than “and,” as there are generally two SPICE camps: the fast, high-capacity versions that are “good enough” for everyday repeated use as you explore design options, and sign-off-quality versions that are more accurate, but take longer to complete and can’t handle as large a design.

The tradeoffs between the fast/big and accurate versions are usually about simplifying assumptions and models and such. Parallel execution has also helped, although it’s entirely possible that long-in-the-tooth engines were not designed for effective parallelization.

So ProPlus has announced a new SPICE tool, NanoSpice, that leverages its BSIMProPlus high-accuracy engine for analysis of large designs with quick turnaround. They claim they can handle designs of 50-100 million elements 10-100 times faster than competing “traditional” approaches (many of which can’t complete the larger designs in ProPlus’s benchmarking suite).

While they have made some improvements to the performance of the underlying engine, they give most of the credit to parallelization, which scales relatively well (depending on the design – 24 cores giving 8-12x speed-up on most of their examples, with a multiplier design actually achieving around 20x). But what they underscore with this is that it still uses the model that BSIMProPlus uses, suggesting equivalent accuracy.

They also say that they’ve got a better licensing model for using parallelism. Traditional schemes simply use more licenses as you use more machines, but they say that this was largely configured for occasional bursty usage. If everyone is always using parallelism, then you typically run out of licenses that way.

Their solution? Well, I actually don’t know. They are keeping mum about that. So they say it’s different and better; you’ll have to be the judges of that.

You can find out more in their release.

Leave a Reply

featured blogs
Nov 20, 2018
Samtec’s full line of high speed interconnect products was on display and in demonstrations at Electronica 2018.  Focus products included high speed mezzanine high speed cable assemblies high speed backplane connectors active optical cable assemblies 28 G Product Demon...
Nov 20, 2018
In yesterday's post I gave the details of the TPU hardware from Cliff Young's keynote on the second day of the recent Linley Processor Conference. Today, I'll look at what Cliff said about software and co-design, creating both the hardware and the software as a...
Nov 14, 2018
  People of a certain age, who mindfully lived through the early microcomputer revolution during the first half of the 1970s, know about Bill Godbout. He was that guy who sent out crudely photocopied parts catalogs for all kinds of electronic components, sold from a Quon...
Nov 13, 2018
Podcast Interview with the authors of The Hitchhikers Guide to PCB Design eBook by Mike Beutow with PCB Chat....