FTL Systems' engineering software suite grew out of FTL's internal engineering software requirements. These requirements and tool technology evolved over more than 20 years of FTL Systems designing high end processors, complete computer systems, telecommunications, energy systems and autonomous robotic systems. In 2016, 2017 and 2018 we are partially re-writing and re-packaging portions of the Engineering Suite to meet the needs of mainstream industry customers. Modules are available to the market in phased releases.
Developed by a single team virtually all competing engineering tool systems are developed as point tools by those who focus on tools rather than advanced product design using the tools. Usually such point tools are purchased and integrated into a tool suite by a third party. The resulting tools often have a variety of user interfaces and limited design communication between point tools. FTL Systems' engineering software suite was developed by a single, long-term, user team to meet their needs based on real, high-end designs.
We are now offering the modules as an integrated, end-to-end design flow from conceptual design through manufacturing. Direct sale as an integrated design suite provides greater end customer value and ease of use. As a suite intended for mainstream users, some capacity and functionality limitations apply. Modules are available to the market in phased releases.
End-to-end design flow Previous versions of the engineering software suite were resold as point tools, bundled with other third party components from firms such as Analogy, Avanti, Synopsys, Siemens, Infineon and OneSpin. Over 6,000 of these point tools were resold over the last 20 years. With the 2016 and 2017 releases we offer the modules as an integrated, end-to-end design flow from conceptual design through manufacturing. Direct sales as an integrated design suite provides greater end customer value and ease of use. As a suite intended for mainstream users, some capacity and functionality limitations apply.
Intrinsically Multilingual FTL Systems uses a patented, language neutral database technology to represent design data. This enables separating the language-specific design modules and the back-end tools such as synthesis and routers. This both reduces the development effort and provides an intrinsically multilingual, collaborative design experience including restricted design language translation capability.
Industry-Standard Interfaces Where feasible, the engineering software suite reads and writes industry standard textual interfaces. To facilitate migration, the suites also read a limited set of proprietary, legacy interfaces however these are not intended to be complete or supported for ongoing usage.
Integration of Real-World Devices FTL's many patented features include ways to accurately integrate existing digital and even analog devices into a system-level simulation. For example, FTL Systems' SpiceMillertm technology creates new analog models from actual analog devices running on conventional device characterization tools. Embedded ARM processors and FPGA devices can be integrated, enhancing both verification accuracy and performance.
Economically Modular Mainstream industry customers vary widely in their engineering software needs over time. Therefore in the rewrite, FTL Systems adopted a highly modular structure and financial model. Modules can be readily and economically licensed for a time period, perpetually with the option of ongoing software updates or as a secure, cloud-based service (SaS). Users can get exactly what they need, when they need it.
Linux-Centric FTL Systems focuses on making the best uses of Unix, specifically Ubuntu Linux. Although we have supported other Unix, Linux, AIX, Solaris, HPUX, OSX and Windows versions over the last 20 years, we believe that focusing on Ubuntu Linux provides users with the highest productivity and most cost-effective design environment possible.
Strong and Timely Platform Support FTL Systems recognizes the need for strong and thus focused platform support. With Ubuntu Linux, X86-64 processors and AMD GPU hardware there are many potential hardware platforms. However in order to improve quality, FTL's focus is on hardware platforms built and sold by FTL Systems using X86-64 processors, AMD GPU hardware and FTL's own processor systems. Intel and AMD processors must implement X86-64 (64 bit only), optionally with one of several instruction set extensions. AMD GPU architectures are supported (Nvidia GPU are not supported).
Designed to Effectively Use Distributed and Cloud Computing for Collaboration FTL Systems has a long history developing parallel, high performance computer systems. During the recent re-write of the mainstream tool suite we adopted a distributed and cloud computing methodology. Many designers work on a system providing a high-end user experience, often with multiple screens and multimedia capability. Other designers in the test laboratory and field access the common design environment from tablet or other mobile devices. Back-room servers provide the required engines for computationally complex modules.
Many of the following illustrations are drawn from FTL Systems' own designs. We develop the engineering tool suites based on in-house experience.