SiSoft Discusses Signal Integrity Drivers and Challenges

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KATZ: In the past, SI engineers became pretty good at exporting data to Excel or writing custom scripts to filter, sort and visualize their results. And, when it makes sense, we output CSV data directly to your spreadsheet of choice. But for many SI tasks that doesn’t make sense. So we’ve taken a two-pronged approach:  First, allow customers to customize which data is saved and in what order, and second, incorporate advanced sort, filter, and roll-up capabilities directly within our tools. My view is that if you can imagine ways you’d like to visualize your data, then you should be able to make it happen. The tools should evenBarry Katz designcon.JPG challenge you to think about the data in new ways, and I think we’ve achieved that too. I really enjoy watching customers find new ways to plot and visualize data because that’s when important discoveries and breakthroughs are made. Of course, it’s great to see them performing more efficiently in their routine tasks too. And because a picture is worth a thousand words, we’ve created a series of on-line videos so customers can see how this (and our other new features) works. A video is worth a billion words, and so is data visualization and trend analysis done right.

SHAUGHNESSY: Tabbed routing is another issue we hear a lot about from engineers working with DDR designs. Why has tabbed routing been so tough to model, and how do you address that?

KATZ: That’s an interesting question, because our team took an alternative approach like we did with via modeling. In both situations, you might be inclined to think these structures require generalized 3D solutions. But, if you look closer you see fairly consistent structures getting designed and manufactured. We find that once we comprehend and model the relevant pieces of the structure we arrive at solutions that are orders of magnitude faster than conventional 3D solvers and correlate well with measurement. My team has actually published quite a bit in this space, including the paper, “Fast, efficient and accurate: via models that correlate to 20GHz,” and I view it as an arena where SiSoft really shines. Customers like the approach because analysis is fast enough to sweep through layout alternatives and derive the best solution for both signal performance and manufacturing. Our approach also enables large batches of post-route simulations to complete without a perceptible change when tabbed routing is used.

SHAUGHNESSY: What do you have coming up in the next few years or so?

KATZ: We have a lot of excitement over the future of our products. Enabling our customers to run more simulations smarter and faster with optimization and supporting advanced visualization and data mining techniques is key. SiSoft will continue to make significant investments in electromagnetic and algorithmic modeling as well as leverage our technology and expertise amongst our products. We see serial links moving towards speeds of 56Gbps with PAM4 modulation and detailed modeling of vias and crosstalk being critical to accurate analysis. We see statistical analysis becoming a requirement on both serial and parallel interfaces. One thing we will continue to do better than any of our competition is work closely and collaboratively with our customers and their suppliers to ensure we bring the capability they need for their next generation designs.

SHAUGHNESSY: I appreciate your time.

KATZ: Thank you, Andy.


  1. “New SI Techniques for Large System Performance Tuning,” by Donald Telian, SiGuys, and Michael Steinberger and Barry Katz, SiSoft, DesignCon 2016.
  2. “Understanding IBIS-AMI Simulations,” by Douglas Burns, John Madsen, Todd Westerhoff, and Walter Katz, SiSoft, DesignCon 2015.



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