Electronic-design-automation (EDA) software tools have become the voltmeter and the slide rule to the modern high-frequency engineer. But unlike those two hardware tools, software can be updated for improved performance, as is the case in recent releases from Applied Wave Research for Version 2008 of the firm's widely used Microwave Office design environment and Version 2008 of the Visual System Simulator (VSS) software tools. Both new software versions feature broad changes to the graphical user interface (GUI) for added flexibility and greater ease of use.

For example, the design environment in Version 2008 of the Microwave Office design environment is completely configurable to meet a user's individual preferences, with features such as projects, elements, layout tabs, and the status window fully dockable and floatable on the display screen. This type of flexibility helps save design time and increase design effectiveness by maximizing the usable screen space, allowing larger designs to be handled more quickly, and providing greater insights into design issues with larger available schematic and layout images.

Version 2008 of Microwave Office has over 100 enhancements, including an interface to ICED integrated-circuit (IC) design/verification software in addition to the existing interface to the Calibre IC design tool from Mentor Graphics (www.mentor.com). Version 2008 also has improvements to the EM Socket for seamless plug and play with third-party EM tools as well as to AWR's own ACE and AXIEM technologies.

Additional enhancements to Version 2008 of Microwave Office include improvements to the automatic-circuitextraction (ACE) tool for automatic interconnect modeling of transmission lines and the capability to tune, optimize, and perform yield analysis; support for APLAC harmonic-balance simulators and optional time-domain simulators to improve the performance of highly nonlinear and complex designs; support for parameterized subcircuit layouts as part of the overall design, including tuning, optimization, and yield analysis; and the availability (as an option) to AXIEM planar three-dimensional (3D) electromagnetic (EM) analysis to help optimize a circuit or IC design at the start and check for crosstalk and other design flaws at the conclusion of the design. In addition, Version 2008 of Microwave Office now provides new plotting capabilities that allow a measurement to be plotted versus any other measurement, such as power-added efficiency versus output power.

These are just a sampling of the enhancements to Version 2008 of Microwave Office. The company also announced new features and capabilities in Version 2008 of the VSS software suite. In addition to improving flexibility and usability through an enhanced GUI and similar user-interface modifications as made to Microwave Office, Version 2008 of VSS allows toolbars to be floated or docked along any edge of the main window, with the capability to place windows in an "auto-hide" mode that makes them disappear shortly after clicking almost anywhere on the screen. The menus in VSS have been enhanced to include icons on every toolbar, along with a thematic highlighting style.

Version 2008 of the VSS design suite features greater capabilities in its RF Budget Analysis and RF Inspector tools. It also offers added measurements, including improved thermal modeling. As part of its seamless co-simulation with Version 2008 of AWR's Microwave Office design suite, Version 2008 of VSS offers an interface to the APLAC harmonic-balance simulators (with an option to interface with APLAC time-domain simulators). For more information, visit the firm's web site. Applied Wave Research, 1960 East Grand Ave., Ste. 430, El Segundo, CA 90245; (310) 726-3000, Internet: www.awrcorp.com.