Restoring the artistry of analog design

by Jeff Jussel, Ashutosh Mauskar, Magma Design Automation Inc. , TechOnline India - October 27, 2010

The fact is that analog design is the most difficult and detailed kind of electronic design. The scope of variables to be managed, the extreme sensitivities to circuit constraints, and the quality of results required make analog as much of an art form as it is a science. The engineers that choose to do analog design learn their craft over time and become experts in the nuance of each analog circuit & truly artisans in every sense of the word.

The fact is that analog design is the most difficult and detailed kind of electronic design. The scope of variables to be managed, the extreme sensitivities to circuit constraints, and the quality of results required make analog as much of an art form as it is a science. The engineers that choose to do analog design learn their craft over time and become experts in the nuance of each analog circuit – truly artisans in every sense of the word.


So, it is little wonder that analog design flows have resisted automation. There have been attempts of course. But most were either not generically applicable or required so much work to set up that they failed to deliver any productivity gain for seasoned analog designers. As a result, the basic analog design flow has remained constant for years.

Unfortunately, the increasing complexity of silicon processes and the pervasive growth in mixed-signal designs have combined to swamp analog design teams. As more projects pile on their plates, analog designers don’t have time to practice the creativity that originally attracted them to the field. To restore the artistry to analog design, new tool automation should focus on these major areas: design optimization, design closure, and design reuse.

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