The Evolution of System Design Enablement
Cadence’s goal is to empower engineers at semiconductor and systems companies to create innovative, intelligent and highly differentiated electronic products that transform the way people live, work, and play. Our customers are under extreme pressure to deliver new products faster and more efficiently than ever before. And the pressure, over the years, will get more intense as data demands grow and products get much more complex.
To succeed in their highly competitive markets, our customers need to develop new systems with unique features that stand out in the marketplace. This is why so many systems companies now are developing their own specialized chips rather than purchasing them from semiconductor companies. If they use the same chips as their competitors, they won’t have an advantage in the marketplace.
Systems companies use the basic tenets of System Design Enablement to design everything from the software down to physical chip design. Semiconductor companies are also paying attention to the entire system by providing their customers with much more systems-oriented solutions.
Initially, mobile and consumer products led the way for holistic system design optimization. More recently, the automotive, aerospace and defense, industrial, and medical segments are among those segments undergoing tremendous digital transformation. These rapid shifts are directly leveraging advances in hyper-connectivity and artificial intelligence from the edge to the cloud and are spurring development of custom systems and SoCs optimized for their particular application requirements. As part of this trend, our System Design Enablement strategy has evolved to its next phase—Intelligent System Design.
Intelligent System Design
Design Excellence—Leading EDA and IP products for ICs
At the core of electronics systems are the ICs that deliver the functionality of the system within the design envelope for performance, power, and form factor. The pace of innovation and application-specific requirements demand more than designs at a new process node. This means higher performance, lower power, smaller area, faster bug triage, higher quality, shorter schedules, fewer resources and IP that speeds the overall process and produces superior products. Cadence delivers industry-leading digital, custom/analog, IC package and PCB tool flows, and semiconductor IP that enable systems and semiconductor companies to achieve optimal results to meet these demanding requirements.
Growth of System Innovation
Smartphones ushered in an era of systems optimization for all aspects of function and form factor, to squeeze every possible feature into the smallest cases with the longest battery life, and have driven the enhancements in IC package and board technology. A similar digital transformation, plus growing safety and security requirements are transforming the automotive, aerospace and defense, industrial, and medical market segments. Designers seeking to differentiate their products by developing custom systems and SoCs need to develop and model hardware and embedded software together, optimize them together to achieve best system performance and power characteristics, and ensure that they are safe and secure. System physical design and analysis of electromagnetic, thermal, and other effects also become crucial for product success. Both of these trends place new requirements on the hardware and software components individually and in combination.
Artificial Intelligence Becomes Pervasive
Across many different fields, AI and machine learning are becoming pervasive technology trends that are implemented in different ways to improve or speed functionality, or to implement functionality that was previously impossible in many different types of systems. Examples include autonomous driving, visual surveillance, smart voice-controlled assistants, industrial and medical applications, financial applications, and, of course, electronic design and system analysis applications and platforms.
Cadence has implemented machine learning as a key technology in several of its products to automatically improve the quality of results and the turnaround time for our products to produce these results. In addition to employing machine learning in our products, we also enable the implementation of machine learning hardware systems with our AI processor IP for edge computing (also known as on-device neural network inferencing) and other intelligence-enabled applications.
Looking forward, we envision that all systems and applications implemented in just about every vertical segment will depend in some way on pervasive intelligence through machine learning and other techniques. Companies that realize this change and plan for it will have huge potential advantages. Cadence has the expertise in computational software to leverage intelligence at all levels of the system stack for many of these vertical segments and is planning for a future in which we enable them.
Examples of System Design Enablement Innovations
The results of this teamwork with systems companies can easily be demonstrated by advancements made within the last few years:
- Our Full Digital Flow offers massive parallelization that works to help you meet power, performance, and area (PPA) targets and deliver your products on time
- Cadence® Verification Suite combines best-in-class core verification engines with a verification fabric that provides automation, debug, tracking, management, and measurement of verification tasks
- Advanced IC Packaging enables your products to take advantage of “more than Moore” technologies
- Cadence Cloud Portfolio delivers industry leading EDA and IP technology using leading Cloud providers, enabling hybrid cloud environments and can be Cadence-managed or customer-managed
- Virtuoso® System Design Platform enables engineers to design concurrently across chip, package, and board, saving time and minimizing errors
- Our library of configurable and pre-designed IP speeds chip design by allowing your team to drop in ready-made components
- We partner with hundreds of software, silicon, and hardware companies to provide comprehensive IP solutions
- Clarity™ 3D Solver lets you tackle the most complex electromagnetic (EM) challenges when designing systems for 5G, automotive, high-performance computing (HPC), and machine learning applications with gold-standard accuracy
- Our Green Hills Software partnership leverages both companies respective strengths to drive embedded system safety and security
- Our National Instruments collaboration on RF simplifies next-generation semiconductor and RF development
- Protium™ S1 FPGA-Based Prototyping Platform speeds early firmware development and debug
- Palladium® Z1 Enterprise Emulation Platform accelerates the verification of SoCs, subsystems, and IP blocks, as well as system-level validation
- Our MathWorks partnership provides system-level simulation solutions for mixed-signal IoT and automotive applications
- Our board-level OrCAD® and Allegro® software products are continually enhanced with more capabilities for system-level analysis
- Tensilica® DNA 100 AI processor IP is well suited for on-device neural network inference applications spanning autonomous vehicles (AVs), ADAS, surveillance, robotics, drones, augmented reality (AR) /virtual reality (VR), smartphones, smart home, and IoT
- Our DARPA collaboration leverages machine learning to create a foundation for system design enablement by introducing greater autonomy within the design process and developing truly design-intent-driven products
This is just a sampling of the successful execution of our System Design Enablement strategy. We help engineers look at the high-level issues that drive major implementation decisions.
We provide a broad portfolio that focuses not just on SoC development but also on the design, integration, analysis, and verification of system-level components including packaging, boards, software, and system-level IP. We analyze how these tie into the mechanical and thermal aspects of the system, and expand our ecosystem partnerships accordingly.
We believe that giving our customers a systems-level perspective and product portfolio throughout the design cycle pays off in faster and better design, shorter verification cycles, software that works with the hardware, and ultimately successful products.
Taking the Next Step
You can learn more about some of the markets we’re actively engaged in by going to our solutions pages on 5G, automotive electronics, photonics, aerospace and defense, machine learning, mixed-signal design, Arm® -based solutions, 3D-IC design, low-power design, and advanced-node design.
See the full library of customer success testimonials.