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Compliance Validation Software for Complex IO

By Wayne Kawamoto (Send Email)
Posted Aug 9, 2002


Silicon Metrics Corporation announced the availability of SiliconSmart IO, a commercial toolset that's designed to perform detailed characterization, modeling and electrical specification compliance verification. The company says that SiliconSmart IO provides a bridge between the digital world of the system-on-chip (SOC) core and the analog world of the board. This commercial toolset, which is now available for Solaris, is designed to perform detailed characterization, modeling and electrical specification compliance and verification

According to the company, many firms expend substantial time and effort in the development and characterization process of I/O cells, only to discover that they fail to meet electrical specification across all operating corners. The failure of these time-critical components requires expensive redesign.

SiliconSmart IO is specifically designed to recover the lost time. Combining automated electrical compliance validation, SPICE-accurate characterization, and vendor-certified model generation, SiliconSmart IO should enable the accurate static timing and dependable power analysis required by design teams to close timing and power faster. The compliance validation feature of SiliconSmart IO is designed to provide a comprehensive report across all operating corners that identifies instances of non-compliance to electrical specifications.

SiliconSmart IO's measurement acquisition technology should account for the complex mixed-signal entities within I/O cells. Various analog characteristics and measurements such as state voltage, drive current, differential sensitivity, hysteresis, crossover voltage, and non-monotonic waveform detection are just a few of the parameters that should be automatically verified. The company says that these measurements are performed in realistic settings that take into account bond wire inductance, off-chip transmission line loads, and non-idealized supplies.

According to the company, I/O designers need to address a variety of end-user environments to ensure that their design is compliant with published electrical specifications. SiliconSmart IO's compliance verification is designed to encode the interpretation of complex industry standards that govern the functional and electrical characteristics of most I/O circuits. The embodiment of these standards into a commercial tool, such as SiliconSmart IO, coupled with the uniform application of the compliance criteria may produce consistent results for I/O characterization and specification compliance, regardless of the design or source of the I/O library.

Silicon Metrics' packaging of the compliance knowledge base into a standard tool may relieve designers of repeated, tedious, error-prone, and controversial interpretation of these complex standards documents. SiliconSmart IO strives to address this problem by enabling designers to automatically model, analyze and verify cells with a 3rd party verification tool.

Availability
The software is currently available on Solaris and HP-UX. Linux platform support will be available in the second half of the year. Electrical specification compliance validation is currently available for USB Low Speed, Full Speed and LVDS cells. Support for SSTL and USB High Speed will be available in Q4. Other I/O specifications such as HSTL, I2C, I2S, PCI, PCI-X and AGP will be available in subsequent releases.

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