Key trends powering electronic design automation (EDA) adoption in 2021 and beyond

The growth of electronic design automation market is a pivotal driving force for many industries the world over. EDA comprises a mixture of tools deployed to design and verify electronic systems, integrated circuits (ICs), and printed circuit boards (PCBs). With a projected 35 billion IoT devices likely to be installed globally by the end of 2021 (Source Credit: techjury.net), the demand for advanced electronic design automation software will be more than ever.

 

“Electronic design automation industry size may exceed USD 20 billion by 2027.”

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As the number of connected devices worldwide continue to increase, companies find themselves battling consistent changes in the EDA market. Some of the latest trends characterizing the electronic design automation industry are enlisted below:

 

#1 Increasing demand from the medical fraternity

The medical sector has incorporated the use of advanced technologies since a while now, making it convenient for conducting treatments and surgeries once considered impossible. Endoscopic and laparoscopic surgeries have become commonplace only due to the assistance of electronic design automation tools. Companies come up with high-powered, AI-enabled devices for advanced diagnostics and treatment methods by deploying electronic design automation software in the manufacturing process.

 

In order to enable medical organizations to come up with state-of-the-art AI technologies, EDA companies are helping to develop and design AI-enabled diagnostic devices. In addition, EDA application helps to improve IC design tools by leveraging machine-learning algorithms to deliver faster results. For instance, Ibex Medical Analytics and KSM recently announced that they have started using Galen™ Gastric, an-AI-enabled diagnostics and quality control solution to detect cancer in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract – possible majorly due to the deployment of EDA at the production level.

 

#2 Growing popularity of miniaturization

As the popular adage in the electronics industry goes – small is the new big. Miniaturization of large devices is a major factor that has enabled electronics to penetrate deeper in varied industrial applications. Using devices that are smaller, compact, and more functional is found to be beneficial, especially in the automotive, medical, and consumer electronics fields.

 

The trend of downsizing electronic equipment has led to the evolution of slimmer mobiles, tablets, laptops, wearables, and nano-sized, sophisticated surgery equipment for medical professionals. As the trend continues to maintain traction, the demand for EDA tools will continue to be on the rise.

 

Researchers at Northwestern’s Engineering wing have recently come up with a flying microchip / microflier – the smallest flying structure to be made by humans. It is embedded with highly miniaturized technology like antennas, sensors, routers, etc., and can be used to monitor air pollution and airborne diseases. The miniaturization has been possible only due to the advancements in electronic design automation software and the impact they have on the final semiconductor chip design.

 

#3 Rising requirement for advanced technologies in manufacturing

The influx of robotics and automation in the manufacturing sector is not new. Today, robots are deployed in manufacturing for activities such as pick and place, physical testing, packaging, semiconductor production, soldering, etc. Electronics manufacturing is becoming increasingly complex as miniaturization takes effect, leading to the requirement of precise replacement and flawless design. In consequence, the demand for EDA software becomes even more vital as they are used to ensure that all the stages in the electronics production cycle – such as material handling, assembly lines, and testing, are carried out seamlessly.

 

In what may be conceived as a breakthrough, Synopsys, the global leader in electronic design automation (EDA) and semiconductor IP, and TSMC recently joined hands on an advanced design enablement deal. Through this partnership, TSMC will be able to leverage Synopsys’s vast EDA solutions portfolio for its latest version of 3 nanometer (nm) process technology DRM and SPICE models to be used across mobile, 5G, and AI applications.

 

#4 Shift to online platforms

With digitalization going mainstream, EDA vendors are now shifting to online platforms to optimize their workflows. Conventionally, semiconductor companies used on-premise data centers to verify semiconductor designs. However, EDA workflows are complex and include design, simulation, verification, and more for chip production. In order to reduce costs, balance schedules, and avoid the use of precious data center resources, it is practical to migrate EDA workloads to the cloud, which boasts of high-performance computing infrastructure that’ll help scale the number of simulations.

 

A few months earlier, Arm announced it plans to shift its EDA workloads, inclusive of design validation at the production level, to AW. With this move, the semiconductor conglomerate will be able to scale its computing storage and power and storage much faster and at reduced costs, as opposed to purchasing servers and other software. According to the company, shifting EDA workloads to the cloud at the production level is a first for the semiconductor industry – a move that will lead to a major transformation in this market, as it helps to lower costs, schedule risks, and increase throughput.

 

Electronic design automation companies work to build advanced tools, platforms, and software products to reduce the costs associated with the testing, simulation, and verification of semiconductor chips prior to the actual manufacturing. EDA tools are also deployed to optimize and prepare the chip layout ready for manufacturing. At present, despite challenges, the EDA industry is at the heart of innovation and will help pioneer vital innovations in the future.