Developments in automated analog layouts are hinting new opportunities in the domain of chip manufacturing.
FREMONT, CA: Sophisticated digital ICs have today become feasible owing to the continuous developments in digital layout automation. While the same has not been true in the case of analog layouts, some recent headways point at changing scenarios. Evaluating these developments can provide significant insights regarding the feasibility of introducing automation into analog layouts. Automation of analog layouts can unleash several benefits for chip manufacturers in the analog domain. Besides, the insights can also shed light on why Electronic Design Automation (EDA) in analog has not followed the same trajectory as EDA in digital layouts.
Although some technological improvements did impact analog layouts, many of the routing functions are still manual. This slowness in adopting technological breakthroughs can be attributed to the lack of initiatives from analog layout engineers in using automated tools, as well as the complexity associated with analog layout designs. These hurdles are now being removed one by one, paving the way for the implementation of automated analog layouts.
The factors that have to be considered while customizing automation for analog layouts are very different from those that are considered during the automation of digital layouts. Therefore, a few approaches have to be first mastered in order to effectively automate analog layout. Once these approaches, which include automatic recognition of constraints, visual interaction of constraints, rapid placement of components adhering to rules and automated editing capabilities, evolve sufficiently, EDA will become feasible for analog layouts as well.
In addition, automation should also make the work easier for designer s and engineers. EDA solutions for analog that will allow flexibility and customization options are poised to become a reality soon. Many modern tools have already become a part of the design flow, helping accelerate the process of fabrication. More such tools are also expected to find their way into the market in the near future, thereby revolutionizing analog layout.