The Odyssey of a Smashing Platinum simulator
The heart of a Virtual Platform!
Before DOLPHIN was even conceived...
Michel DEPEYROT had a dream: how about a multi-level simulator so that SPICE-level and logic simulation could be run jointly for the PDP-11 Tiny, the development of which he managed at DEC in Maynard, Ma.
At THOMSON-EFCIS in Grenoble, France, Michel DEPEYROT rephrased his dream as an objective for central research: to provide a mixed signal logic-analog simulator for modeling pin-to-pin a single-chip modem then in the making for the celebrated Minitel terminals. His express purpose was to facilitate test program development with the natural way to gather circuit knowledge and tester know-how. He was invited to "forget it", but the Minitel modem project flew properly.
During negotiations with NSC in Santa Clara, Michel DEPEYROT met with Jim SOLOMON who confided he was leaving to found his own company for developing a mixed-signal simulator (Silicon Design Lab was later acquired by a big league EDA supplier which canned... the simulator).
Then SMASH was born...
Michel DEPEYROT had a slight chance to partake in the commercialization of a locally designed electrical simulator, first with a relaxation algorithm, coming-out of the labs of now France Telecom: but they refused the goal of compatibility with MS-Windows, as well as the mixed signal goal… so the product went to a foreign start-up, later purchased by a member of the EDA big League.
DOLPHIN launched commercially the first ever seamlessly mixed signal single-engine simulator SMASH, with Cyril Desclèves, then chief engineer, with Christian DUPILLIER, analog design expert, as Development and Marketing Manager. They targeted at first transient analysis for high-speed logic design and innovated in interactive display. The structural level was initially HILO compatible.
Thierry VILLARD came on board as first Sales person at DOLPHIN focused on SMASH, for designers of both IC and PCB.
The first full-scale silicon-compatibility of SMASH was demonstrated on a spectral analysis on the SAFIR test chip: compatibility with random results of traditional simulators is irrelevant, what counts is physical significance of SMASH results with natural mixed signal netlists.
The SMASH era
IDM ELMOS of Dortmund, Germany selected SMASH as its operational simulator on both UNIX and MS-Windows.
A meeting in Paris with representatives from major EDA suppliers of the big League resulted in their refusal to join in the promotion of a standard mixing technique for SPICE + C or HDL + A, together with a refusal to promote any common mixed signal benchmark that would facilitate user-driven comparative evaluations. DOLPHIN alone promoted its Master benchmark ("Maître Étalon") with little impact of course.
Outmoded HILO was replaced in SMASH by the fast-growing VERILOG-HDL, now controlled by the top EDA actor, and prevalent in Japan and America.
Recently publicized competitor ATTSim was acquired by a big League player, but mostly ignored...
But why put successively aside all such mixed signal simulators with a single engine?
Seamless versus Cosimulated...
Because Cosimulation backplanes are not only much more profitable than such mixed signal simulators with a single engine, but they facilitate the stranglehold of EDA
Frameworks by justifying worrisome and cumbersome scripts, in some proprietary command language. And what for?
* Just for performing netlist composition tasks, absolutely unjustified, and pointless for fortunate users of SMASH.
But this is when the discovery of the "end-of-pain paradox" can be approximately dated: namely, because the big frameworks' approach to mixed signal netlisting is so unnatural and painful, all SMASH prospects fear the end of their pain, or simply can't believe they have unnecessarily suffered for years...
Multilingualism peaked with the emerging standard of VHDL implemented within SMASH 4.0 consistently with VITAL and previous languages for logic.
The development team was strongly restaffed and headed by Gilles Depeyrot, while SMASH passed the mark of more than 2,000 licenses sold worldwide, and its usage is becoming acceptable at a number of schools and universities, even though traditionalism in teaching habits still maintains a stiff boundary between logic and analog design.
The first VHDL-AMS implementation in SMASH remains the most complete! and paves the way to efficient Virtual Tests and Diagnostics, to Virtual Instrumentation as well as to integrated MEMS modeling...
SMASH 4.3 is launched on LINUX together with the implementation of a striking patent enabling "Virtual Yield Diagnosis"...
SMASH 4.4 is launched with dynamical ERC. It becomes the Platinum Reference. And to celebrate this important step and also to demonstrate the benefit of a true mixed-signal multilevel simulator, innovative solutions are presented for seven recurrent design problems.
Two major innovations dynamize SMASH to a new height of release 5: the first patent implements a fast detection of offsets, Imbalance Locate, while the available cosimulation interface serves to launch SUCCESS™ with any ISS, Instruction Set Simulator for hardware-software codebug.
Release 5.3 launchs capability for Transient Noise simulation with an exclusive capability for accuracy as needed by High Resolution mixed signal converters.
The long-awaited launch of VERILOG-A is synchronized with a significant increase in simulation speed with the SWIFT algorithms to accelerate all solvers.
At a time when users are concerned with low noise and low power performances, SMASH 5.7 is enriched with the capability for accurate Jitter tolerance assessment and with a new extension for dynamic and static power consumption assessment named SCROOGE.
The year 2007 withnesses a sharp improvment in design checking, both Debug and Coverage analysis are part of release 5.9.
And for ever SMASH is the vector for Virtual Platforms of Silicon IP, filling the gaps of EDA Frameworks for SoC Integration with a necessary hierarchical design flow, dealing simply with multi-level modeling with all standard design languages.
A word of wisdom
No EDA manager has ever been fired for choosing among the big league of suppliers, whatever their stranglehold on productivity and innovation.
For SMASH to unlock the stranglehold takes the form of displacing the traditional "Golden simulators" thanks to the daring and vital benefits of the "Platinum simulator" as explained in a recent Press release!
It is not so much because SMASH is so superior that its users end-up among our best customers for Virtual Components, but it is because they proved their worth when they evaluated SMASH. They indeed demonstrated that they were wise enough by understanding its superiority!
They demonstrated not only independence of judgement, but above all the kind of character strength necessary for innovating successfully in IC development...
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