The Week In Review: Design

New companies focus on digital PLLs and Simulation as a Service; VIP for AMBA; UFS 3.0; Cadence, Rambus results.


Two new companies unveiled this week – Metrics Technologies and Movellus.

Metrics Technologies is providing a Software-as-a-Service SystemVerilog simulator and verification manager that are available as pay-per-minute. This allows companies to have fully elastic system capabilities to accommodate peak simulation demand.

“Cloud technology and Software as a Service business model have already been a disruptive force in many industries,” said Jim Hogan, Metrics Board Chairman. “Just as the EDA software industry transitioned from perpetual licenses to term licenses over two decades ago, it is inevitable that EDA will ultimately embrace SaaS via cloud solutions. I’ve joined the Metrics board of directors because they have the vision and the technology basis to pioneer this shift.”

The Metrics service runs on Google Cloud. The API enables companies to integrate custom software elements into their cloud verification environment. It is being offered at $.04/minute/simulation job.

The second company is Movellus, which is providing software and IP that transforms what once was analog design into a digital design process. Initially launching with a 100% digital PLL, Movellus enables codesign between the traditional digital circuitry and the PLL, which can now be generated in hours and is portable between process nodes. This will be especially important with the latest technology nodes, where analog has been having difficulties scaling and where analog components can add risk to a project.

“Semiconductor companies are facing aggressive schedules and increasing design complexity in advanced process nodes,” said Muhammad Faisal, President and CEO of Movellus. “By expanding existing digital design tools to create functionality previously only achievable in analog design, Movellus dramatically improves efficiency and reduces development and verification time by months.”

Later this year Movellus expects to add to the portfolio with both an LDO and DLL generator and IP.

Tools & IP
Synopsys uncorked verification IP and a source code test suite for Arm AMBA ACE5 (AXI Coherency Extensions) and AXI5. The VIP provides performance metrics for latency and throughput analysis, configurable interconnect model, a reference verification platform and system level checks for protocol, data integrity, and cache coherency.

Ansys released the latest version of its simulation suite, with key improvements to reliability, performance, speed and ease of use. Ansys 19 supports functional safety analysis in applications for safety-critical industries with step-by-step modeling, analysis and verification. It also supports AADL-compatible avionics systems modeling, while the electromagnetic suite adds RCS analysis using HFSS SBR+.

Synopsys launched a development kit for its ARC HS processor family. The software development platform includes access to the embARC open source software package as well as a multicore ARC HS-based chip, implemented in a TSMC 28 HPM process, that integrates a wide range of interfaces including Ethernet, USB, SDIO, I2C, SPI, UART, and GPIO, as well as a Vivante GC7000 Nano Ultra GPU. The kit also features an on-board WiFi and Bluetooth module.

Silex Inside extended its family of Audio/Video over IP OEM boards to include JPEG 2000 encoding and decoding, supporting higher bandwidth video signals including 4K 60fps 4:4:4 over a single 1G Ethernet cable with visually lossless quality. It allows for compression of video signals while keeping latency below one video frame.

Xylon debuted the logiJPGE Motion JPEG Encoder IP core, which decreases the data throughput required for the video transport and is compliant to the ISO/IEC 10928-1 baseline DCT JPEG standard. The IP is optimized for Xilinx Zynq-7000 All Programmable SoC and FPGA devices. The company says for a FullHD (1920×1080@60) resolution video camera, the required bandwidth of 2400 Mbps can be decreased to 100 Mbps.

Horizon Robotics licensed NetSpeed’s Orion and Gemini Interconnect IP for use in its artificial intelligence chips for embedded AI applications including autonomous driving and smart cameras. Horizon Robotics cited performance, full coherency support, configurability, and scalability as behind the choice.

Arteris IP teamed up with Synopsys to integrate its Ncore Cache Coherent IP with Synopsys’ Platform Architect virtual prototyping solution. The collaboration aims to to provide designers of neural network and autonomous driving SoCs with the ability to analyze system-level performance and power consumption earlier in the design cycle.

AMIQ EDA, a provider of IDEs for hardware design and verification languages including SystemVerilog, VHDL and e, joined the ESD Alliance.

JEDEC published Universal Flash Storage (UFS) version 3.0, which introduces MIPI M-PHY HS-Gear4 with a data rate of up to 11.6 Gbps per lane, a 2x performance increase over prior versions of the specification. UFS 3.0 also includes two features specifically for the automotive market: the ability to function at an extended temperature range and refresh operation. Additionally, updates to related standards, JESD223D UFSHCI and JESD220-2A UFS Card Extension, have also been published.

Cadence released fourth quarter results for 2017, with revenue of $502 million for the quarter, compared to revenue of $469 million reported for the same period in 2016. Net loss for the fourth quarter of 2017 was $14 million, or $(0.05) per share, compared to net income of $38 million, or $0.14 per share, for the same period in 2016. Non-GAAP net income for the quarter was $111 million, or $0.39 per share, as compared to net income of $95 million, or $0.34 per share, for the same period in 2016.

Overall, the year’s revenue came out to $1.943 billion, compared to revenue of $1.816 billion for 2016. On a GAAP basis, Cadence saw net income of $204 million, or $0.73 per share, in 2017, compared to net income of $203 million, or $0.70 per share for 2016. On a non-GAAP basis, net income for 2017 was $393 million, or $1.40 per share, compared to non-GAAP net income of $351 million, or $1.21 per share for 2016.

Rambus reported financial results for the fourth quarter 2017, with revenue of $101.9 million for the quarter, 4% higher than a year ago, with GAAP net loss per share of $0.29 and non-GAAP diluted net income per share of $0.19. Total revenue for the year was $393.1 million, 17% higher than a year ago. Throughout the year, Rambus posted royalty revenue of $289.6 million and licensing billings of $289.6 million.

—Brian Bailey contributed to this report.

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