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SyEna to take analogue to higher automation

Posted: 23 Feb 2009     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:analogue design  analogue circuits  automation 

Analogue circuit design could be heading for a quantum leap with the SyEna project (Synthesis-supported design of analogue circuits), which aims to bring a higher degree of automation to analogue. Project researchers promise fewer faults in the designs and therefore more reliable chips.

The SyEna project focuses on automatable design methodologies. While state of the art in digital circuit design, these methodologies have yet to be adopted in the analogue realm, explained a spokesperson of EDAcentrum research centre in (Hanover, Germany), which coordinates the project. The methodologies in question embrace the entire value chain from writing the specs to manufacturing.

Since the automation, in particular the automatic topology synthesis aimed at in the project, will greatly decrease the number of errors in analogue circuitry, the reliability of the chips is expected to increase. Thus, the new design methodologies will enable products that can be used in safety critical applications such as automotive and medical electronics, the researchers believe.

"The project will lift analogue design engineering quality and productivity to a new level", explained project coordinator Thomas Hoetzel, Chief Technology Officer of fabless chip vendor ZMD AG (Dresden, Germany). "Elementary things which already are used widely in digital design will become reality in analogue design as well." Besides better reliability, designers also will benefit by faster time-to-market and reduced number of re-spins, Hoetzel hopes.

The SyEna project is based on an earlier project called Structural Synthesis of Analog Circuits (SAMS). Involved in the SyEna project are a relative large number of semiconductor vendors and research institutes including Fraunhofer IIS/EAS, Infineon Technologies, Northrop Grumman LITEF GmbH, Melexis, MunEDA GmbH, Bosch group, the Dresden Technical University and ZMD AG. Designed to run until September 2011, the project is funded by the German federal ministry of research and technology by a sum that adds up to the equivalent of 100 person-years, the EDAcentrum spokesperson said.

- Christoph Hammerschmidt
EE Times

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