By Nayan Chandak, Director of Application Engineering, Ansys
We are witnessing a Silicon Renaissance era! Massive investment & innovation in Silicon technology is enabling development of transformational electronic products & applications like 5G, IoT, Autonomous vehicles, Mobile, HPC, AI.
There is great interest among system companies like Cisco, Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Amazon to design their own Silicon, in addition to the mainstream chip suppliers. Idea being to design and optimize the entire system across chip-package-board to achieve the best performance, power, reliability, and other goals.
Fundamental enablers for these innovation & development include advancements in Silicon-technology (shift from Planar to FinFET to GAA devices) and advancements in packaging technologies such as WLP & 2.5D/3D ICs (multiple chips / chiplets stacked in a single system).
To deliver these transformational products using the latest Silicon and Packaging technology, the industry has unprecedented challenges to solve. The most complex SoCs are packing over a trillion transistors in a single system. On-chip signal speeds are hitting 112 Gbps. Operating voltages are near threshold in 500 mV range. And these high-speed systems, with extremely dense packed transistors, are burning high power ranging from tens of Watts to 15 KWs! It is a huge challenge to meet the desired PPA matrix. In addition, we need to ensure reliability (reliable operation over designed lifetime), and now increasingly security as systems go into mission critical areas like autonomous vehicles and defense.
Risk is all around us – while meeting the time-to-market, PPA matrix, and time-to-yield. But we are not powerless. There are proven strategies that shed risk and give you more predictability and more control. That is where Ansys Semiconductor simulation products kick-in. Multiphysics nature of these problems make Ansys uniquely situated to address them. Our mission is to empower customers to deliver these transformational electronics products, by using the best computational sciences and multiphysics simulation.
Let us take an example of simulating a 3DIC system where multiple chips & chiplets are stacked horizontally / vertically in a single system. We are consuming massive amount of power in very small footprint, which introduces power-integrity & thermal challenges, and in-turn mechanical stability issues like warpage. High speed signals running in close proximity introduces electromagnetic effects & signal-integrity issues. Similarly, power-noise has a clear impact on performance/timing, and it is very severe at advanced nodes like 7 nm & below.
Traditional approaches to solve these challenges in Silos is clearly inadequate. One needs to look at Multiphysics aspect to assess and address complex interdependencies.
For example, one needs to read in data for these trillion transistors & rest of the pieces (package, interposer, TSVs, etc) and compute power/timing/voltage/temperature/etc. for each of them. This is extremely data and compute intensive.
To solve these, Ansys developed a new platform called SeaScape, based on big-data and elastic compute principals, as shown in image. Multiple engines to analyze power/timing/variability/reliability are tightly integrated allowing one to solve for complex interdependencies & Multiphysics problems. In the center you see Ansys RedHawk-SC, meant for power-integrity analysis for SoCs. And then the other pieces like 3DIC and Chip-Package-Board analysis extension, Thermal Analysis, Thermo-Mechanical analysis, Electromagnetic analysis (with integration of industry’s gold standard Ansys HFSS & Ansys RaptorX solutions), Early Power Analysis and power-optimization, Analog-Mix-Signal simulation, ESD, and Variability Analysis.
Seascape platform allows you to intelligently visualize this massive data and perform actionable analytics, similar to other big-data system like Google Search and Maps. It enables modeling comprehensive workflows to capture failure mechanisms and deliver signoff confidence.
The database is completely open and allows design/CAD teams to build custom applications for Chip-Package-Board design, like Mobile App development.
All the major foundries, including TSMC and Samsung, have certified Ansys RedHawk-SC and other Multiphysics solutions across all advanced process technologies. There are number of customer proof-points, with over 40 presentations from top-semiconductor companies in DAC (Design-Automation-Conference) in last 2 years.
So where does Ansys solutions fit in SoC design-cycle? There are multiple EDA tools enabling RTL to Layout Design flow shown in the airplane image below. Ansys solutions comes in play when simulating complex Multiphysics problems. To deeply simulate and analyze, establish golden reference and actionability for Electromagnetics, Mechanical, Thermal, Power & Power-Integrity, Reliability, and more. Ansys provides the necessary sign-off confidence or the wings for your Electronic design to take off!
Nayan Chandak is Director of Application Engineering at Ansys. He has over 17 years of experience in EDA/Semiconductor Industry with a primary focus on solving Power-Noise-Reliability challenges for advanced SoCs, 3DICs, and Custom-designs.
He works with top Semiconductor design companies across the globe to help them build Multiphysics Simulation flows & methodologies. Nayan holds a Masters degree in Microelectronics from IIT Bombay and Bachelors in Electronics Engineering from NIT Nagpur.