System Design for the AI Age

What is the Problem?

Paradigm Shift in System Design

In the 1980s

  • IC Chips before VLSI
  • Use IC Chips Datasheets for System Design
  • Function Focus on PCB Design (large number of small ICs)


  • Vertical Market Constraints
  • Complex Software Ecosystem
  • Complex Programmable Devices with embedded EDA
  • Integration Focus on PCB

In the past, semiconductor devices were fairly simple, so the process of system design focused on creating function. However, after 40 years of Moore’s law, semiconductors consist of large complex platforms. Thus, the actual process of system design has changed significantly to one focused on managing large and complex components at several levels of abstraction (AI, SW, and programmable HW). This fundamental shift in system design is not captured by any EDA tool today!

System Design Challenges

Massive complicated datasheets

Increasingly complicated design information is communicated through English text. This is a burdensome, tedious, and error-prone method for communication between semiconductor and system designers. The result: massive productivity loss.

Tracking function, drivers, AI/SW

Today, hardware, software, supply, certification, and other information is spread across different websites and documents. Also, the mapping from desired function to its mapping in hardware components is held in the best case inside of word files. 

Visibility of system lifetime cost

In the LLC realm, maintenance cost overwhelms initial design and product costs. Often, maintenance revenue drives the profitability of the system. In this situation, looking at lifetime costs in designing the product is very important.

There is a need for a System EDA solution.

Paradigm Shift for LLC Products

Products whose lifecycle is shorter than 5 years are called short lifecycle products. Products like computers, laptops, cell phones are examples of products in short lifecycle markets. Products whose life is 5 to 25 years are called Long Lifecycle (LLC) products. Telecom, Automotive, Medical, Defense industries have products that have a life cycle greater than 5 years and require special attention during the design process. For LLC markets, volumes may not be high, but their design must address future requirements needs, enhanced reliability and a supply chain that can support them for the life of their products.

Enhanced Reliability​

Requires extended lifetime under extreme operating conditions. Most semiconductor IC parts used in LLC products are designed for SLC products and rated for only five years. LLC products require 5 to 20 years of service. Maintenance costs and customer satisfaction are significant issues.

Supply Chain Management

Requires IC parts to be available during the long production lifecycle of LLC productsi n the face of vendor churns and IC part obsolescence. The LLC product’s IC parts churn every 2 to 3 years leading to end-of-life obsolescence notices. Without intervention, product viability puts at risk with very few alternatives.

Future Function Evolvability

Requires upfront design consideration to allow for future feature and performance enhancements and ease of serviceability. LLC products need to EVOLVE over time as the external context changes. Without thoughts on evolvability, either system functions cannot keep up with requirements or upgrade costs skyrocket.

There is a need to integrate System EDA and PLM

How to Solve these problems?

Design For LifeTime Profitability: Using below techniques Anew addresses the need for Enhanced Reliability, Supply Chain Management and Specification/Functionality Evolvability with AI Enablement, LLC Design System, and Dynamic Reconfiguration.

AI Enablement

Design PCB Systems with AI-enabled parts selection.

LLC Design System

Manage evolvability, reliability, and obsolescence concurrently with other design parameters.

Dynamic Reconfiguration

Automatically introduce and manage redundancy to enhance LLC properties.