Synopsys Tools: What they do

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Synopsys Tools - Mike Henry

  • Astro
    • Integrated circuit floorplan/layout/P&R tool. Does place and route of netlists and interfaces with other Synopsys tools for tasks such as LVS, Sign-off, and DRC. Synopsys is replacing the Astro with IC Compiler so there hasn't been an update in a while.
  • CosmosScope
    • Waveform viewer. Views waveforms generated from a number of tools, including HSPICE, HSIM, and NanoSim
  • Synthesis Library
    • A package of tools for synthesizing HDL. Includes the following tools:
      • Design Compiler: Synthesizes Verilog, can do some static timing analysis. Most other tools in this sublist are run through either the Design Compiler shell (dc_shell-t) or Physical Synthesis shell (psyn_shell-t).
      • Design Vision: GUI version of Design Compiler (good for beginniners). Includes interactive static timing analysis tool, as well as schematic viewer
      • BSD Compiler: Boundary Scan synthesis (use from DC shell or PSyn Shell ).
      • DFT Compiler: Inserts scan chains (use from DC shell or PSyn Shell.
      • Library Compiler: Used for creating standard cell libraries for use with Synopsys products
      • Power Compiler: Used for synthesizing circuits with multiple supply voltage domains, and dynamic voltage scaling circuits
  • Formality
    • Verification tool
  • Hercules
    • Does two things: Design rule checking and Layout Vs. Schematic checks
  • HSIMPlus
    • One of Synopsys' two fast SPICE programs.
    • Circuit simulation
  • IC Compiler
    • Very powerful integrated circuit layout tool that replaced Astro. Does place and route of synthesized netlists and interfaces with other Synopsys tools for tasks such as LVS, Sign-off, and DRC.
  • JupiterXT
    • Tool that does floorplanning and manages hierarchies of complex circuits.
  • Milkyway Environment
    • Milkyway is a Synopsys library format that stores all of circuit files from synthesis through place and route all the way to signoff. Most Synopsys tools can read and write in the Milkyway format including Design Compiler, IC Compiler, StarRCXT, Hercules, Jupiter, and PrimeTime.
  • NanoSim
    • Fast spice tool. This tool can do full circuit simulations of a post-layout design. Parasitic RC's can be extracted using Star-RCXT, and annotated onto an extracted spice netlist generated by Hercules LVS, which can then be simulated using NanoSim. The NanoSim documentation has the tool flow and steps for doing this.
  • PrimeRail
    • Analyzes the power network of a circuit and determines if there is any portions of the power network that may cause enough of an IR drop to cause problems. Also does noise analysis of power networks. A lot of the functionality is built into IC Compiler, but its still a useful tool on its own.
  • PrimeTime
    • Sign off tool. Can do static and dynamic power and timing analysis of pre and post layout circuits. Parasitic RCs can be extracted using Star-RCXT, then annotated into PrimeTime for post-layout static timing analysis. Can also do cross-talk and signal integrity analysis. Very powerful tool and is a must for signing off on a design.
  • Star-RCXT
    • Extracts parastic RC's from a post-layout circuit. These RC's can be read in either by a fast SPICE tool such as NanoSim, or a static timing analysis tool such as PrimeTime. Reads in either GDSII files or Milkyway libraries.
  • TetraMax
    • Automatic test pattern generation.
  • VCS
    • Verilog and VHDL compiler. Use vcs program to compile verilog or VHDL into executable files, use vlogan and vhdlan to run standalone simulations, or use vcs -RPP to bring up a GUI that views VCS and signal dump files.
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