Silvaco buys EDA pioneer Simucad
Aiming for the mixed-signal IC design market, Silvaco Int. has purchased the assets of Verilog simulation provider Simucad Inc., one of the oldest commercial EDA companies. Silvaco will combine Simucad's digital simulation technology with its SmartSpice analog offering.
Simucad was founded in 1981, and the company claims a current user base of around 2,500 maintained users and 9,000 design engineers. Simucad developed and sold Silos, an IEEE 1364 Verilog simulator, and HyperFault, a Verilog fault simulator.
In the 1980's, Simucad was purchased by HHB Systems and eventually became part of Daisy Systems, only to reemerge in 1990 following an employee-leveraged buyout.
Silvaco provides technology CAD, analog simulation, and IC physical design tools. The company's SmartSpice simulator claims widespread use by physical library developers. Silvaco recently won a judgment against Circuit Semantics Inc. for the alleged theft of SmartSpice trade secrets.
The Simucad purchase is part of a long-standing plan to move into mixed-signal simulation, said Ivan Pesic, Silvaco CEO. "The money today is in mixed signal," Pesic said. "If I don't have good mixed-signal, it hampers my SmartSpice sales."
Pesic said Silvaco expects to field a mixed-signal simulator in four to six months. The company is also working on an analog/digital schematic entry product, and a "chip-level" simulator that will offer fast analog simulation, Pesic said.
Meanwhile, he said Silvaco will continue to support Silos and HyperFault. "These people have been in business for 23 years, and they have about 2,500 maintained users, a pretty big space," Pesic said. "They're very popular in the university environment, which is important to Silvaco." Silos student version CDs are included in some digital logic textbooks.
"The beauty of using Silos," said Ken Brock, Silvaco VP of marketing, "is that it's a very interpretive, interactive Verilog environment. That might not meet all the high-speed requirements for system verification, but for working with analog, it's absolutely perfect."
Pesic declined to say how much Silvaco paid for privately-held Simucad. He said about a "half dozen" Simucad developers are joining the Silvaco staff.
- Richard Goering
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