NI moves Spice to FPGA for faster simulations

By Chris Edwards |  No Comments  |  Posted: August 6, 2014
Topics/Categories: Blog - PCB  |  Tags: , , ,  | Organizations:

National Instruments has found a way to speed up Spice simulations that does not involve changing the algorithms. Instead, the company’s MultiSim tool can now download the matrices used to calculate circuit performance to the FPGA inside the company’s CompactRIO hardware that is normally used for prototyping and testing electronic systems.

Ben Black, market development manager for real-time and physical test, said in a keynote session on Wednesday (6 August) at the company’s NI Week conference that the tool does not need to compile circuits to run on the FPGA. Instead it downloads the circuit parameters as a matrix to the FPGA which is programmed during Spice simulation with the core equation-solving algorithms.

During a demonstration, Black used the tool to simulate a power circuit intended for use with smart-grid applications. “This could scale up to grid-level simulations across many different CompactRIOs,” he said, potentially mixing SPICE and behavioral models of different elements of the grid network. Black added that the company is looking to get feedback on the usability of the tool that will be posted on the NI Labs site next week (week commencing 11 August, 2014).

NI has also created a version of MultiSim that will be provided by catalog components distributor Mouser Electronics. Engineers can download the free version from Mouser’s website and use it to create schematics, simulate them, lay out the PCB and create a bill of materials (BoM) ready for ordering.

MultiSim Blue is included with a library of more than 100,000 electronic components that are available through Mouser.

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