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EDA-Electronic Design Automation

EDA-Electronic Design Automation

Electronic design automation (EDA) is a term for a category of software products and processes that help to design electronic systems with the aid of computers. These tools are often used to design circuit boards, processors and other types of complex electronics. Electronic design automation is also known as electronic computer-aided design.

Electronic design automation tools have largely replaced manual methods for circuit board and semiconductor design techniques. In the past, technicians used tools like a photoplotter to render drawings of circuit boards and electronic components. Many engineers and others would say that EDA automation has really improved the construction of electronic components, mainly through universal design techniques that eliminate different kinds of bugs or defects in chips, circuit boards, etc. However, there are still trade-offs – and some experts point to situations where a circuit board might work despite not being transparent to modeling in an EDA software. In general, these tools have standardized and streamlined the creation of circuit boards and chips through automation processes.

The electronic design automation market is divided up into a number of segments:

  • Chip Design and Verification
  • Printed Circuit Board (PCB) and Multi-Chip Modules (MCM)
  • Semiconductor Intellectual Property (SIP)
  • Services

The EDA industry is closely related to the semiconductor manufacturing industry, the embedded software industry and increasingly to industries such as photonics and micro-mechanical that are seeing continued miniaturization and integrations into electronic systems.

While the bulk of electronic design automation software is still primarily utilized within the semiconductor industry, the emergence of several trends associated with digital transformation has brought IC and complex PCB design to a much broader market.  

In the automotive industry, original equipment manufacturers are investing in EDA design automation to develop the next generation of electrified, autonomous vehicles.  In aerospace & defense, powerful EDA capabilities are becoming more and more important as avionic systems grow in complexity.

Across all industries, technologies such as 5G telecommunication, machine leaning, cloud computing, edge computing, and cybersecurity have become key components of strategic roadmaps.  This is putting further pressure on semiconductor and high-tech electronics suppliers to innovate, which in turn drives the EDA  electronics software market.   

The most popular products in category EDA-Electronic Design Automation All category products

ALTIUM Designer
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F.A.Q about EDA-Electronic Design Automation

EDA Electronic Design Automation : What’s Next?

Electronic Design Automation Industry has been a crucial driving force behind the growth of the Semiconductor Industry. EDA electronic design automation companies deliver software products, tools, and platforms which assist in designing and verifying Integrated Circuits(ICs) and Printed Circuit Boards (PCB). Today, computers have billions of transistors and manual design and layout are not a feasible option anymore. EDA electronic design drastically reduces the cost and time as the chips can be tested, verified and simulated before the actual manufacturing.

To explore this industry from the lens of first design principles, we need to know a high-level overview of the chip design process. The process starts by writing the specifications for a chip using a Hardware Description Language. Chips can have millions of lines of specifications. The next step is to generate gates from these specifications and make the chips testable by using techniques like adding special gates to send signals to the chip. This is followed by simulations and several rounds of verification of the schematic. Next, we have the blueprint and actual layout of all the gates and their connections. As we can imagine, the sheer number of components have made it mandatory to use software automation for most if not all of these steps. EDA tools are also used in further steps for optimizing and making the layout ready for manufacturing.

Despite being at the heart of innovation, the electrical design automation industry faces its own set of challenges which it needs to overcome in order to increase its growth rate. One of the major challenges that restrict the growth of the EDA industry is its limited customer base. The primary customers of EDA are big semiconductor companies, and with acquisitions happening inside the semiconductor industry EDA consumer base is further declining. While EDA companies try to solve complex design automation challenges of ever-evolving semiconductor technologies, it also needs to attempt to make software tools more powerful.

EDA should attempt to leverage the power of open source software, crowd-sourced developments, and standard platforms. Some computation intensive tools could be made available as web services to users. Another interesting future perspective is the design and verification of IoT devices. IoT consists of several connected devices that gather information from the environment and possibly performing some actuation. Majority of these individual devices are less complex and current EDA tools can be used for their design. However, a lot of these devices will be created by individuals, communities and small companies.

EDA attempts to solve a really complex problem and requires knowledge from various other domains like physics, manufacturing processes, application software, etc. EDA tools have to support increasing chip design complexity, new semiconductor technologies, enhanced debugging and verification techniques while improving the performance of their tools and maintaining ease of use.

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