Intusoft Uses OLE Technology to Integrate Analog Simulation with Protel

Dateline June 30, 1997 -- Intusoft announced this month...

Intusoft has announced a new analog and mixed signal design system. The new software package uses OLE technology and Protel's EDA Client/Server architecture to transparently integrate analog and mixed signal capability into the Protel Schematic3 schematic entry program. The new product is called ICAP(TM) for Protel.

Each ICAP(TM) package includes the IsSpice4 natice mixed mode (analog/digital) circuit simulator, SPICE models libraries with over 10,000 analog and digital parts, the IntuScope graphical waveform analyzer, the SpiceMod SPICE modeling program, a set of symbol libraries, and a new "magical" component - called the Intusoft Integration Module - that integrates a host of features. It is this new technology that allows engineers to run SPICE simulations directly from their Protel schematics and cross-probe the results in real time.

Presently, the most common schematic-SPICE interface is text based. More often than not, the SPICE netlist must be edited in order to run a simulation, thus breaking the link between the simulation and the schematic. In addition, most schematics do not have full support for the myriad of features/analyses that state-of-the-art SPICE simulators now offer (Monte Carlo analyses, cross-probing, AHDL/behavioral models, etc.). This is mainly because analog simulation is much less a driving factor than PCB layout or digital simulation for most EDA vendors. The lack of sufficient support has forced many SPICE vendors to create their own schematic front-end tools in order to support advanced simulation features. In turn, this forces engineers to learn more than one schematic entry program.

"What engineers want is to do their work, not learn more tools. That means they need tight integration of state-of-the-art analog and mixed signal simulation tools with the same schematic entry program that they use to do their layout tasks." states Charles Hymowitz, vice president of Intusoft. "Intusoft has had its own schematic front-end for its IsSpice simulator for over nine years. During that time we have learned what it takes to drive SPICE from the schematic. While SpiceNet is ver easy to use, customers are reluctant to learn more than one schematic." The Inutsoft Integration Module alleviates the multiple schematic problem by seamlessly integrating key SpiceNet features with other schematic packages. "Our aim is to provide the best in class simulation tools, at an affordable price, integrated with whatever schematic the customer is using."

The Integration Module uses OLE technology to hook a general set of functions into third party EDA tools. For example, features like SPICE Part Browsing and Model Editing, custom SPICE attribute dialogs for each element, special dealogs for SPICE analysis statements waveform cross-probing from both the schematic and layout, and the ability to launch and control the simulator from the schematic are provided. The Integration Modules makes use of Protel's EDA Client/Server technology to take advantage of many of Schematic3 features. With this combination, Intusoft was able to produce the First Simlation Server Ever available for Protel's EDA Client/Server architecture. What the Integration Module means for Protel and Schematic3 users is that they won't have to update their schematic capability to keep up with the latest SPICE enhancements. The OLE interface paradigm allows Intusoft to add capabilities independent of the schematic software. The result is that Schematic3 will become vastly easier to use for analog/mixed signal simulation and much more tightly coupled to SPICE.

Each ICAP(TM) package is available in two versions. The RF Designer's version has a special SPICE library for RF parts while the Power Supply Designer's version has a special SPICE library for power electronic parts. This is the only difference.


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