ANSYS grows EMAG offering, acquires Helic

Jan 21, 2019 | Hot Topics

ANSYS just fired the next shot in the battle to control the electromagnetic (EMAG) simulation landscape, announcing that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Helic, which makes electromagnetic crosstalk solutions for systems on chips (SoCs).

ANSYS says that the combination of Helic with its with EMAG and semiconductor solvers creates a “comprehensive solution for on-chip, 3D integrated circuit and chip-package-system electromagnetics and noise analysis”. Helic, per the press release, has around 50 employees in the US, Europe and Japan, and products in use by global customers in applications ranging from radio-frequency wireless transceivers, graphics processing units, high-speed I/Os in multi-core processors and image sensors and other internet of things connected devices.

Why do this deal? Because 5G cellular and data services, cloud computing and the intensive data crunching in artificial intelligence create the need for complex chips that increasingly include “on-chip signal frequencies past 2 gigahertz (GHz) and complex multiple silicon die in a single package”. (That’s ANSYS-talk. I don’t know what that means or why those, specifically, matter. I do know this:) Chips need to be smaller, use less power and be more conscious of cooling and signal interference — all of which need to be simulated, quickly, because of the very fast cycle times for chip designs.

ANSYS says that Helic’s solutions address the interference problem by simulating this electromagnetic crosstalk and that, “[w]hen combined with ANSYS’ solutions for electromagnetics and power-integrity noise analysis, engineers can deploy an electromagnetic-aware design methodology to design devices in all advanced nodes, optimize the die size and precisely capture electromagnetic and parasitic effects from direct current up to 110 GHz.”

Yorgos Koutsoyannopoulos, Helic CEO says that “[t]his acquisition will bring significant benefits to both ANSYS and Helic customers. ANSYS customers will gain easy access to on-chip electromagnetics solvers, integrated with the flagship ANSYS electronics and semiconductor tools. Helic customers will benefit from inclusion in the ANSYS platform for multi-physics and chip-package-system.”

I like the idea of an “electromagnetic-aware” design methodology. Very minor, I know, but the fact that my WiFi ceases to work when the microwave is on shows why we need to ensure signal integrity and minimize crosstalk, especially in mission-critical devices. Starting from the EMAG perspective when designing these systems is an excellent start.

The transaction is expected to close this quarter. Terms of the deal weren’t made public in the announcement, but ANSYS said it will provide further details after the closing.