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The key software for an analog electrical circuit designer is a simulator. There are two types of simulator; one is referred to as a device-level simulator (or Spice simulator), and the other is generically referred to as a logic simulator (or digital simulator). Some simulators integrate both device-level and logic simulation as a so-called mixed-mode simulator. Logic simulators use standard languages (hardware description languages, the most common being Verilog or VHDL) which allow different levels of circuit abstraction, namely behavioral, structural (RTL), and gate-level. Advanced logic simulators wrap in analog and system-oriented variants of the hardware description language (including Verilog-A, VHDL-AMS, SystemC, ABCD) so that a true mixed-mode simulation at a level higher than device-level may be run.
The necessity for mixed-mode simulation and for analog hardware description is to accommodate the need to develop circuits of ever-increasing complexity. As circuit complexity increase, so does the simulation time. Traditional gate-level only simulations could become unwieldy for example, except perhaps for some fully analog circuits.
To work with leading-edge technologies, however, it is vital that the simulation tool adopted must have certain characteristics.
For example, a device-level simulator:
• must fully support the latest standard device model parameter formats
• must converge satisfactorily
• must offer straightforward approaches to analysis (provide a graphics viewer, and handle jitter and power consumption analysis)
• must be closely integrated with the schematic capture tool to allow back-annotation of simulated parameters onto the schematic display
A mixed-mode simulator:
• must have the logic module be fully integrated with the device-level simulator module
• should use a multi-domain single-kernel approach rather than a co-simulation technique and a co-simulation back-plane
LayTOOLS offers a number of simulation interfaces for the user:
|LaySIM-A || Integrated Full-featured Analog simulator (SPICE transient analysis, Verilog-A)|| Powered by SMASH kernel |
|LaySIM-LMS|| Integrated Logic and, mixed signal simulator - LaySIM-A with Verilog-HDL and Verilog-AMS|| Powered by SMASH kernel |
|LaySIM-MSIM|| Interface to Analog and PCB simulator with IBIS support|| Powered by MSIM kernel |
|LaySIM-ADS|| Interface with Agilent-ADS RF simulator|| Requires Agilent ADS|
|LaySIM-SMX|| Interface for SiMetrix simulator|| Requires SiMetrix simulator|
|LaySIM-SYM||Interface for SymSPICE simulator from Symica|| Requires SymSPICE simulator|