How mixed-signal design can mess up a perfectly good SoC

The EDA360 Insider blog recently talked about a statement made in a presentation on SoC design given at the recent International SoC Conference in Newport Beach, California. The speaker was Cormac O’Sullivan from the S3 Group in Cork, Ireland. O’Sullivan is the RF and Mixed Signal Engineering Team Lead and S3 is a design house specializing in RF and mixed-signal SoC design. The official title of his presentation was “RF SoC Design Flow.”

Why worry about RF and mixed-signal SoC design? O’Sullivan cited figures indicating that more than 80% of SoCs designed today have more than 20% analog/mixed-signal (AMS) content, which is way beyond what you might expect from the usual omnipresent AMS blocks such as PLLs and USB drivers. O’Sullivan also expects that the amount of AMS content on SoCs will zoom up substantially in the next three years. There’s no getting away from on-chip AMS, said O’Sullivan, “ICs need to touch and feel their surroundings.” Increasingly efficient digital signal processing can reduce on-chip AMS requirements but they cannot eliminate them. To read more on this blog post please visit http://eda360insider.wordpress.com/2010/11/05/70-of-re-spin-issues-are-ams-in-nature-how-mixed-signal-design-can-mess-up-a-perfectly-good-soc/