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 15, 2019
As we seek to go faster and faster in our systems, heat grows as does the noise from the cooling fans. It is because of this heat and noise, many companies are investigating or switching to submersible cooling (liquid immersion cooling) options. Over the last few years, subme...
Nov 15, 2019
Electronic design is ever-changing to adapt with demand. The industry is currently shifting to incorporate more rigid-flex circuits as the preferred interconnect technology for items that would otherwise be off-board, or require a smaller form factor. Industries like IoT, wea...
Nov 15, 2019
"Ey up" is a cheery multi-purpose greeting that basically means "Hello" and "Hi there" and "How are you?" and "How's things?" all rolled into one....
Nov 15, 2019
[From the last episode: we looked at how intellectual property helps designers reuse circuits.] Last week we saw that, instead of creating a new CPU, most chip designers will buy a CPU design '€“ like a blueprint of the CPU '€“ and then use that in a chip that they'€™re...
Nov 15, 2019
Last week , I visited the Cadathlon@ICCAD event at the 2019 International Conference on Computer Aided Design . It was my first CADathlon and I was quite intrigued , since the organizers webpage... [[ Click on the title to access the full blog on the Cadence Community site. ...