With the recent release of unified custom/analog flow that is based on the latest version of the Virtuoso IC 6.1.5 technologies (see Virtuoso IC 6.1.5 press release here), it is time to revisit the strengths of Virtuoso IC 6.1 platform and find out how new capabilities enable designers with the productivity gains they have been clamoring for.
Open Access and SKILL
One of the major changes in Virtuoso IC 6.1 is the database. For the last 20 years, the Cadence Data Base (CDB) has been used. However, starting from IC 6.1, keeping pace with the "open source" movement and the Cadence goal of an open environment, we have started using the Open Access (OA) database. This allows custom/analog teams to save the data in a format that can be accessed by applications from different EDA vendors without the need for translation.
The OA database was built by Cadence and was donated to Silicon Integration Initiative (Si2) to encourage the adoption of it by other EDA vendors. The OA database was architected and developed to handle larger designs, offer faster response and enable easier implementation. Cadence works closely with customers who are migrating to Virtuoso IC 6.1 technology by providing technical help and application resources to make the migration as seamless as possible.
Cadence users know that the SKILL language plays a central role in our technologies. All the PDK and GUI development is done in SKILL and many tools that integrate into Virtuoso technologies do so using SKILL. SKILL is ubiquitous in PDK development with each and every major foundry supplying SKILL PCells as part of their PDKs.
In Virtuoso IC 6.1, we greatly improved the functionality of SKILL. Cadence recognizes that a new crop of CAD engineers and software developers are more in-tune with object oriented programming concepts. To let engineers take advantage of these techniques in customizing their design flows, Cadence has made SKILL++ available to developers. Like other object oriented programming languages, SKILL++ lets CAD teams take advantage of latest developments in software programming in customizing their design flows and methodologies.
Virtuoso Schematic Editor
The Industry leading Cadence Virtuoso Schematic Editor provides custom/analog engineers with an easy to use design entry tool with various capabilities to enable fast, intuitive, and comprehensive schematic capture. To ensure a smooth and easy transition to Virtuoso IC 6.1, the same look and feel and a similar use model was maintained, at the same time providing engineers with features and capabilities to increase the productivity in their day-to-day design activities. Features include:
- Easy-to-use, lockable Navigator, Property Editor, Search, Annotation Browser, World View assistants, etc... to increase designer efficiency
- On-canvas editing capability to edit, modify object properties without the need to open multiple forms
- Multi-window multi-tabbed schematic canvas, bookmarks, and history provide an intuitive editing environment, allowing designers to open multiple schematics, or different views of the same design, consequently enabling effective design management
- A magnifier to explore and enlarge an area under the mouse cursor, read and edit labels and save zoom-in/out commands
- HTML publisher for schematics - Create multi-frame HTML/XML document, with all top-to-bottom schematic views, an index and hyperlinks, to walk through the design with the preferred browser
- Power Intent Export Assistant and Common Power Format (CPF) file creation capability to set power domains in a hierarchical schematic
Virtuoso IC 6.1 is the first release to enable constraint-driven design. Constraints are design rules that allow design teams to maintain design intent throughout the design cycle. Instead of relying on schematic notes, emails and various other documents, constraints provide a systemic methodology to maintain consistent information between front-end designers and back-end physical implementation teams. Easy-to use constraint entry mechanism and constraint notes in Virtuoso IC 6.1 allows for formal communication mechanism across the team members.
To know more about Virtuoso Schematic Editor, click here
In the next few blogs, I will showcase the Virtuoso Analog Design Environment and give you detailed look at its capabilities so that users can find out how the new and improved Virtuoso Analog Design Environment enables designer productivity.
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