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Bridging the gap between digital, mixed-signal verification

The demand for analog and mixed-signal content continues to grow in next-generation systems-on-chips (SoCs) serving 5G, automotive, imaging, Internet of Things (IoT), computing, and storage applications. For instance, 5G massive-MIMO radios are integrating the analog signal chain with the digital front-end. Next, image sensors are combining analog pixel read-out circuits with digital image signal processing.

Then, there are digital RF-sampling data converters in radar systems and ever more data-using advanced mixed-signal circuits that deliver PAM4 signaling in data center computing systems. That, in turn, calls for driving mixed-signal verification methodologies toward more digital-centric approaches. That’s primarily because modern mixed-signal SoCs integrate analog circuits with logic gates operating at very high clock speeds.

As a result, high-frequency bi-directional signal flow at the boundary of analog and digital creates limitations for manual debug methodologies, significantly impacting the overall time-to-results. Here, the question is whether we can take advantage of digital speed with analog accuracy. In other words, can digital verification methodologies be extended for analog and mixed-signal designs?

Source: Siemens EDA

Siemens EDA claims that the answer to the above question is now yes. The company’s new Symphony Pro platform supports Accellera and other advanced digital verification methodologies for today’s mixed-signal designs. It does this by providing a seamless debug experience across the entire mixed-signal design hierarchy. Symphony Pro is built around the premise of fast simulation performance in a unified environment for higher throughput and capacity.

It’s an advanced tier of Symphony, which Siemens launched four years ago. It’s important to note that Symphony Pro is not replacing Symphony. Instead, Symphony Pro supports new and advanced verification methodologies with an intuitive visual debug cockpit. That, according to Siemens EDA, can result in productivity improvements of up to 10x compared to legacy mixed-signal verification solutions.

STMicroelectronics, which participated in the early access program for Symphony Pro, validates its advanced debugging capabilities and multi-layer support for mixed-signal design hierarchies. Silicon Labs, another partner in the early access program for Symphony Pro, has used the verification toolset in IoT chips that are analog intensive and mixed-signal in nature.

“Symphony Pro Visualizer mixed-signal technology accelerated debug turnaround time for our digital on top UVM test suites,” said Jayanth Shreedhara, senior CAD manager at Silicon Labs. “That has enhanced our verification productivity from days to hours and dramatically improved our coverage closure.”

The fact that Symphony Pro accelerates mixed-signal verification with comprehensive visual debug is a key differentiator when compared to the Symphony platform launched in 2018. And it fulfills the need for a debug solution that caters to both analog and digital engineers, claims Siemens EDA.

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