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A waveform viewer is a software tool for viewing the signal levels of either a digital or analog circuit design.
Waveform viewers comes in two varieties:
In integrated circuit design, waveform viewers are typically used in conjunction with a simulation. A waveform view allows an IC designer to see the signal transitions over time and the relation of those signals with other signals in an IC design, which is typically written in a hardware description language. Simulators can be used to interactively capture wave data for immediate viewing on a waveform viewer; however, for integrated circuit design the usage model is typically to save the output of simulation runs by running batch jobs and to view the waveforms off-line as a static database.
Integrated circuit design, or IC design, is a subset of electronics engineering, encompassing the particular logic and circuit design techniques required to design integrated circuits, or ICs. ICs consist of miniaturized electronic components built into an electrical network on a monolithic semiconductor substrate by photolithography.
In computer engineering, a hardware description language (HDL) is a specialized computer language used to describe the structure and behavior of electronic circuits, and most commonly, digital logic circuits.
Waveform viewers allow you to zoom in and out over a time sequence, and take measurements between two cursor points. In addition, the waveform view has many ways of displaying signal information, such as in hexadecimal, binary, or a symbolic value.
In mathematics and computing, hexadecimal is a positional numeral system with a radix, or base, of 16. It uses sixteen distinct symbols, most often the symbols "0"–"9" to represent values zero to nine, and "A"–"F" to represent values ten to fifteen.
A binary code represents text, computer processor instructions, or any other data using a two-symbol system. The two-symbol system used is often "0" and "1" from the binary number system. The binary code assigns a pattern of binary digits, also known as bits, to each character, instruction, etc. For example, a binary string of eight bits can represent any of 256 possible values and can, therefore, represent a wide variety of different items.
Most waveform viewers can read an industrial standard waveform database known as Value Change Dump (VCD) or a proprietary wave format. The proprietary wave formats usually have faster record and playback speeds or require smaller memory store space, or save additional signal information for viewing, such as bus transactions.
These are built into most logic analyzer, data acquisition cards, and automatic test equipment. In-circuit waveform viewers are included with products from:
A logic analyzer is an electronic instrument that captures and displays multiple signals from a digital system or digital circuit. A logic analyzer may convert the captured data into timing diagrams, protocol decodes, state machine traces, assembly language, or may correlate assembly with source-level software. Logic analyzers have advanced triggering capabilities, and are useful when a user needs to see the timing relationships between many signals in a digital system.
Data acquisition is the process of sampling signals that measure real world physical conditions and converting the resulting samples into digital numeric values that can be manipulated by a computer. Data acquisition systems, abbreviated by the acronyms DAS or DAQ, typically convert analog waveforms into digital values for processing. The components of data acquisition systems include:
Automatic test equipment or automated test equipment (ATE) is any apparatus that performs tests on a device, known as the device under test (DUT), equipment under test (EUT) or unit under test (UUT), using automation to quickly perform measurements and evaluate the test results. An ATE can be a simple computer-controlled digital multimeter, or a complicated system containing dozens of complex test instruments capable of automatically testing and diagnosing faults in sophisticated electronic packaged parts or on wafer testing, including system on chips and integrated circuits.
A signal generator is an electronic device that generates repeating or non-repeating electronic signals in either the analog or the digital domain. These generated signals are used as a stimulus for electronic measurements, typically used in designing, testing, troubleshooting, and repairing electronic or electroacoustic devices, though it often has artistic uses as well.
Verilog, standardized as IEEE 1364, is a hardware description language (HDL) used to model electronic systems. It is most commonly used in the design and verification of digital circuits at the register-transfer level of abstraction. It is also used in the verification of analog circuits and mixed-signal circuits, as well as in the design of genetic circuits. In 2009, the Verilog standard was merged into the SystemVerilog standard, creating IEEE Standard 1800-2009. Since then, Verilog is officially part of the SystemVerilog language. The current version is IEEE standard 1800-2017.
SPICE is a general-purpose, open-source analog electronic circuit simulator. It is a program used in integrated circuit and board-level design to check the integrity of circuit designs and to predict circuit behavior.
Electronic design automation (EDA), also referred to as electronic computer-aided design (ECAD), is a category of software tools for designing electronic systems such as integrated circuits and printed circuit boards. The tools work together in a design flow that chip designers use to design and analyze entire semiconductor chips. Since a modern semiconductor chip can have billions of components, EDA tools are essential for their design.
JTAG is an industry standard for verifying designs and testing printed circuit boards after manufacture.
Silvaco, Inc. designs, develops, sells and supports software tools used for electronic design automation (EDA). The company is headquartered in Santa Clara, California, and has a global presence with offices located in North America, Europe, Japan and Asia. Since its founding in 1984, Silvaco has grown to become the largest privately held EDA company. The company was referred to in 1999 as a leading company in the EDA software domain, alongside a number of competitors: Library Technologies, OEA International, Silicon Metrics and Synopsys. The company has been known by at least two other names: Silvaco International, and Silvaco Data Systems.
TARGET 3001! is a CAD computer program for EDA and PCB design, developed by Ing.-Büro Friedrich in Germany. It supports the design of electronic schematics, PCBs, and device front panels. It runs under Windows and is available in English, German and French.
An arbitrary waveform generator (AWG) is a piece of electronic test equipment used to generate electrical waveforms. These waveforms can be either repetitive or single-shot in which case some kind of triggering source is required. The resulting waveforms can be injected into a device under test and analyzed as they progress through it, confirming the proper operation of the device or pinpointing a fault in it.
OrCAD Systems Corporation was a software company that made OrCAD, a proprietary software tool suite used primarily for electronic design automation (EDA). The software is used mainly by electronic design engineers and electronic technicians to create electronic schematics, perform mixed-signal simulation and electronic prints for manufacturing printed circuit boards. OrCAD was taken over by Cadence Design Systems in 1999 and was integrated with Cadence Allegro since 2005.
In integrated circuit design, hardware emulation is the process of imitating the behavior of one or more pieces of hardware with another piece of hardware, typically a special purpose emulation system. The emulation model is usually based on a hardware description language source code, which is compiled into the format used by emulation system. The goal is normally debugging and functional verification of the system being designed. Often an emulator is fast enough to be plugged into a working target system in place of a yet-to-be-built chip, so the whole system can be debugged with live data. This is a specific case of in-circuit emulation.
CircuitLogix is a software electronic circuit simulator which uses PSpice to simulate thousands of electronic devices, models, and circuits. CircuitLogix supports analog, digital, and mixed-signal circuits, and its SPICE simulation gives accurate real-world results. The graphic user interface allows students to quickly and easily draw, modify and combine analog and digital circuit diagrams. CircuitLogix was first launched in 2005, and its popularity has grown quickly since that time. In 2012, it reached the milestone of 250,000 licensed users, and became the first electronics simulation product to have a global installed base of a quarter-million customers in over 100 countries.
Electronic circuit simulation uses mathematical models to replicate the behavior of an actual electronic device or circuit. Simulation software allows for modeling of circuit operation and is an invaluable analysis tool. Due to its highly accurate modeling capability, many colleges and universities use this type of software for the teaching of electronics technician and electronics engineering programs. Electronics simulation software engages the user by integrating him or her into the learning experience. These kinds of interactions actively engage learners to analyze, synthesize, organize, and evaluate content and result in learners constructing their own knowledge.
Simulation software is based on the process of modeling a real phenomenon with a set of mathematical formulas. It is, essentially, a program that allows the user to observe an operation through simulation without actually performing that operation. Simulation software is used widely to design equipment so that the final product will be as close to design specs as possible without expensive in process modification. Simulation software with real-time response is often used in gaming, but it also has important industrial applications. When the penalty for improper operation is costly, such as airplane pilots, nuclear power plant operators, or chemical plant operators, a mock up of the actual control panel is connected to a real-time simulation of the physical response, giving valuable training experience without fear of a disastrous outcome.
A Bus Functional Model or BFM is a non-synthesizable software model of an integrated circuit component having one or more external buses. The emphasis of the model is on simulating system bus transactions prior to building and testing the actual hardware. BFM's are usually defined as tasks in Hardware description languages (HDLs), which applies stimulus to the design under test/verification via complex waveforms and protocols. A BFM is typically written in an HDL language such as verilog, VHDL, SystemC, or SystemVerilog.
CAMeL-View TestRig is a software application developed by iXtronics, which is used for the model based design of mechatronic systems.
The Proteus Design Suite is a proprietary software tool suite used primarily for electronic design automation. The software is used mainly by electronic design engineers and technicians to create schematics and electronic prints for manufacturing printed circuit boards.