editor's blog
Subscribe Now

Algorithms or Methodologies?

You see it two to four times a year from each EDA player: “x% Productivity Gains with y Tool!” Cadence recently had such an announcement with their Incisive tool; Synopsys has just had a similar story with FineSim.

As I was talking with the Cadence folks about this, I wondered: How much of this productivity gain comes as a result of engine/algorithm improvements, and how much as a result of methodology changes? The answer is, of course, that it comes from both.

But there’s a difference in when the benefits accrue. Engine improvements are immediately visible when you run the tool. Methodology changes: not so much. And there are actually two aspects to methodology.

The first is that, of course, a new methodology requires training and getting used to. So the first project done using a new methodology will take longer; the next one should be better because everyone is used to the new way of doing things. This is a reasonably well-known effect.

But there may be an extra delayed benefit: some methodology changes require new infrastructure or have a conversion cost. If, for example, you replace some aspect of simulation with a new formal tool, you have to modify your testbench and create the new test procedure from scratch. There may be, for instance, numerous pieces of IP that need to be changed to add assertions. These are largely one-time investments, with incremental work required on follow-on projects.

In this example, it may be that, even with the conversion work, things go faster even on the first project. But productivity will be even better next time, when much of the infrastructure and changes are ready and waiting.

As to the engines, I was talking to the folks at Mentor yesterday, and wondered whether improvements to the tools themselves become asymptotic: does there come a point when you just can’t go any faster? Their answer was, “No,” since there’s always some bottleneck that didn’t used to be an issue until the other bigger bottlenecks got fixed. The stuff that got ignored keeps bubbling up in priority, the upshot being that there’s always something that can be improved to speed up the tools.

Leave a Reply

featured blogs
Dec 2, 2022
A picture tells more than a thousand words, so here are some pictures of CadenceLIVE Europe 2023 Academic and Entrepreneur Tracks to tell a story. After two years of absence, finally the Academic Dinner could take place with professors from Lead Institutions and Program Chair...
Nov 30, 2022
By Chris Clark, Senior Manager, Synopsys Automotive Group The post How Software-Defined Vehicles Expand the Automotive Revenue Stream appeared first on From Silicon To Software....
Nov 30, 2022
By Joe Davis Sponsored by France's ElectroniqueS magazine, the Electrons d'Or Award program identifies the most innovative products of the… ...
Nov 18, 2022
This bodacious beauty is better equipped than my car, with 360-degree collision avoidance sensors, party lights, and a backup camera, to name but a few....

featured video

Unique AMS Emulation Technology

Sponsored by Synopsys

Learn about Synopsys' collaboration with DARPA and other partners to develop a one-of-a-kind, high-performance AMS silicon verification capability. Please watch the video interview or read it online.

Read the interview online:

featured paper

Algorithm Verification with FPGAs and ASICs

Sponsored by MathWorks

Developing new FPGA and ASIC designs involves implementing new algorithms, which presents challenges for verification for algorithm developers, hardware designers, and verification engineers. This eBook explores different aspects of hardware design verification and how you can use MATLAB and Simulink to reduce development effort and improve the quality of end products.

Click here to read more

featured chalk talk

Current Sense Amplifiers: What Are They Good For?

Sponsored by Mouser Electronics and Analog Devices

Not sure what current sense amplifiers are and why you would need them? In this episode of Chalk Talk, Amelia Dalton chats with Seema Venkatesh from Analog Devices about the what, why, and how of current sense amplifiers. They take a closer look at why these high precision current sense amplifiers can be a critical addition to your system and how the MAX40080 current sense amplifiers can solve a variety of design challenges in your next design. 

Click here for more information about Maxim Integrated MAX40080 Current-Sense Amplifiers