The Week In Review: Design

Updates, benchmarks for CFD tools; semiconductor content grows; teaching MIPS.


Mentor released the latest version of its FloTHERM CFD software for electronics cooling simulation, adding a new design window to create and solve variants of a model with features to improve scenario definition and design space exploration. Other enhancements include support for Phase Change Materials, more abilities for PCB designs, and an improved parallel solver.

IC Insights sees the worldwide semiconductor market growing by 15% this year to $419.1 billion, and predicts it will exceed $500 billion in 2021. While the firm doesn’t see global unit shipments of cellphones, automobiles, or PCs rising much this year (and the global electronic systems market growing by only 2% to $1,493 billion), it attributes semiconductor growth to the increasing share of semiconductor content in an electronic system, which will reach an all-time record of 28.1% in 2017.

Additionally, IC Insights expects DRAM and NAND sales to set record highs this year, driven by fast-rising average selling prices. DRAM unit shipments are actually forecast to show a decline this year, while NAND shipments are forecast to increase 2%.

Cadence won a deal with Toshiba, which used Cadence’s Genus Synthesis tool to complete a successful ASIC design tapeout. Toshiba cited reduced logic synthesis runtime and is evaluating the tool’s physical optimization flow for leakage power reduction.

Cadence’s Functional Safety Verification Solution was adopted by ROHM in its design flow for ISO 26262-compliant ICs and LSIs for the automotive market. ROHM cited the ability to handle various fault modes, including transient faults, as well as reuse of testbenches without additional modifications.

Certifications & Benchmarks
Ansys, Saudi Aramco and King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) teamed up to scale Ansys’ Fluent CFD software to nearly 200,000 processor cores, breaking the record set three years ago of 36,000 cores. The calculations were run on the Shaheen II, a Cray XC40 supercomputer hosted at KAUST. The project simulated a separation vessel, used in oil and gas production facilities.

Mentor’s Veloce Strato emulation platform software was certified for ISO 26262 compliance by SGS-TÜV Saar.

Imagination launched a new set of materials for teaching CPU architecture. MIPSfpga 2.0 includes open access to a MIPS CPU with a beginning lesson on setting up, programming, and debugging the core on an FPGA as well as 25 practical exercises. The materials are available free to academics.