Berkeley Design Automation: Building the Next Analog RF Company

Date:   Monday , January 05, 2009

As the world becomes more digital, greater is the need for analog. Analog gathers the sights, sounds and textures of the real world—the temperature in a room, images from our body, radio waves, and our voice—so that they can be converted into a digital signal that can be processed efficiently and transmitted- over the air, across a wire, on a circuit board, onto a screen- before being converted back to analog.

"Who says we live in a digital world?" rightly questions Ravi Subramanian, President and CEO of Berkeley Design Automation, a company that thinks and breathes analog. He explains, "As the world gets more digital, the paradox is that there is a lot more analog." For instance, be it the audio or the display or the memory peripherals of an iPod—analog processing is essential; digital music and movies means so much more analog stuff.

So, asserting the growing value of analog in a digital world, California-based Berkeley Design Automation remains a leader in new design technologies for advanced analog, RF, and mixed signal integrated circuits. By leveraging its mathematical theory that solves integrated circuit and noise analysis equations by a factor of 5x to 10x faster with no loss of accuracy, it has enabled breakthrough analog and mixed-signal solutions critical in a digital world.

Founded by Amit Mehrotra and Amit Narayan in 2003, the company is funded by Bessemer Venture Partners, Woodside Fund, Panasonic, and NTT. By delivering breakthrough versions of analog/RF and mixed-signal circuit simulators and innovative noise analyzers for analog and RF IC verification, the company has been able to tap over 50 customers and partners, including twelve of world's top 20 semiconductor companies and nine of Japan's top 10 consumer-electronic companies. With analog's growing importance, semiconductor and consumer electronics firms cannot afford to be left behind in their design tools. Thus looking at the future, Berkeley can be expected to continue to walk away with delivering compelling and unique value to the world’s leading analog/RF and mixed-signal IC companies via continued execution and innovation to maintain a sustained growth.

The company is well known for developing new age precision circuit analysis tools that combine innovative applied mathematics and new software architecture with advanced numerical optimization techniques. The company's award-winning Analog FastSPICE and Noise Analysis Option, as well as RF FastSPICE and PLL Noise Analyzer have contributed significantly to advancing the state-of-the-art in the digital consumer electronics and wireless industries. The company has been consistently recognized as one of the top 200 influencers in the wireless industry. In fact, the majority of the company’s revenues are generated from the wireless and digital consumer markets. Some of its valued customers include Qualcomm, Samsung, Broadcom, Panasonic, Texas Instruments, NEC, NXP, Toshiba, and LG Electronics.

While reviewing some of the recent major developments in the company, Subramanian highlighted one of particular importance, "Our technology has been certified by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) as part of their Active Accuracy Assurance program to the most advanced 40 nm technology nodes." TSMC has also selected the company's Analog FastSPICE circuit simulator for complex-block characterization and full-circuit performance simulation of its analog and mixed-signal design environment. TSMC selected Analog FastSPICE based on the tool's SPICE accuracy and performance.

Well, according to iSuppli, a market intelligence provider, at the beginning of the present decade less than 10 percent of the chips shipped worldwide had significant analog content as defined by the silicon area. By the end of this decade at least 90 percent of the chips shipped will have significant analog content. So now, more than ever, analog is here to stay!

This opens up exciting possibilities for Berkeley Design Automation. Subramanian is quick to latch on. "We are here to build the next analog RF Company," he concludes.