Faster computational methods could simulate the power and signal integrity of next-generation electronic systems

Mar 29, 2012 By Lee Swee Heng
Wire traces delivering power and routing signals among active components in printed circuit boards can limit performance if not designed properly. Credit: iStockphoto.com/sitox

The overall performance of modern computers and communications networks is dependent on the speed of electronic components, such as transistors and optical switches, as well as the quality of the wire network that powers and relays signals between these electronic components. Power and signal integrity are two important parameters for gauging the quality of a wire network, but simulating these parameters for next-generation electronic systems can take a considerable amount of time, particularly when there is a large number of components involved. Zaw Zaw Oo at the A*STAR Institute for High Performance Computing and co-workers have now significantly decreased the amount of computer time needed by developing a modelling technique that is much more efficient.

In general, there are two different approaches to simulating power and of a wire network. One approach is to use exact equations to describe the power and supply networks. This approach is computationally efficient, but the exact equations are difficult to derive for — for example, those that involve irregularly-shaped ground planes. The other approach is to use numerical methods to describe these complex networks. However, this approach not only requires considerable CPU time and memory, but also becomes unworkable for very large networks.

The researchers therefore used a hybrid approach to combine the benefits of analytical and computational models. They had previously developed a hybrid model capable of describing the power networks in multi-layer circuit boards. In their present work, they extended this model to include the signaling network, as well as loads attached to the circuit board. The researchers considered circuit boards which include one or more pairs of parallel plates that serve as electrical grounds, or deliver power. Their model treats each pair of plates as an individual circuit, in which signal and power flow can be calculated using parallel-plate and transmission line theory. Once each of the individual network have been characterized, they are combined together to describe the entire, original circuit board.

Oo and colleagues tested their model on a case consisting of a multilayer circuit board measuring 35 mm by 30 mm, which included multiple ground plates, signal traces and vias connecting different layers, and capacitors decoupling different power supply circuits. The reaction of the circuit board to input signals with frequencies up to 20 GHz was calculated using both their new hybrid model, and a numerical finite element model. While the results matched well over the entire frequency range, the new hybrid model required only 48 seconds of CPU time and 0.71 Mb of computer memory to run, compared to 1960 seconds and 74.2 Mb for the finite element approach.

Explore further: HiSIM-SOTB, compact transistor model, selected as international industry standard

More information: Research article in IEEE Transactions on Components, Packaging and Manufacturing Technology

Provided by Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR)

5 /5 (2 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

DOCOMO develops compact multi-band power amplifier

May 20, 2011

NTT DOCOMO today announced that it has developed a prototype power amplifier for six frequency bands between 1.5 GHz and 2.5 GHz in a form factor smaller than multiple single-band power amplifiers conventionally ...

New DRAM circuit design approach for gigabit-era DRAM

Feb 16, 2005

Hitachi, Ltd., in cooperation with Elpida Memory, Inc. announced that they have developed a new methodology for memory-array design, Concordant Memory Design Using Statistical Integration, which gathers statistics on device ...

Recommended for you

How we can each fight cybercrime with smarter habits

59 minutes ago

Hackers gain access to computers and networks by exploiting the weaknesses in our cyber behaviors. Many attacks use simple phishing schemes – the hacker sends an email that appears to come from a trusted ...

Catch the northern lights with your mobile

1 hour ago

Updates on the best opportunities to spot the Northern Lights in the UK are now available on a mobile phone app developed in association with scientists at Lancaster University.

Practicing nursing care in a virtual world

1 hour ago

Oculus Rift, a gaming headset, can  help teach nurses how to communicate better, researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology have found.

Converting olive mash into cash

1 hour ago

An experimental system to create heat and power with waste from olive oil processing is up-and-running in Spain. Carina Lagergren, a researcher from Sweden's KTH Royal Institute of Technology, says the system ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.