CEO interview: The importance of being agile

May 19, 2020 // By Peter Clarke
CEO interview: The importance of being agile
We asked Tim Ramsdale, CEO of Agile Analog Ltd. (Cambridge, England), to say more about the core of Agile Analog's technology and also how he sees the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

On the telephone call Ramsdale was accompanied by Andrew Farrugia, vice president of marketing, and they revealed a Cambridge startup that has many software engineers seeking to model and accelerate the analog design process.

The company also has numerous senior executives with experience gained at the such employers as ARM, Broadcoam, Alphamosaic, CSR, STMicroelectronics, TSMC and Cadence. The company includes Sir Hossein Yassaie, former CEO of Imagination Technologies, as a non-executive director. Ramsdale is himself a former vice president of engineering and general manager of the imaging and vision business at ARM.

Tim Ramsdale, CEO of Agile Analog Ltd.

Agile Analog has not given out much information about its internal processes preferring to let its analog IP available for license do the talking. The company has now started to bring out analog IP at a rapid rate and is also making it configurable (see Configurable analog IP wins slots in IoT wireless transceivers).

One thing that Agile Analog is not doing is analog synthesis, said Ramsdale. There have been previous attempts to try and recreate the original success of Synopsys with design compilation, but in the analog rather than the digital world. However, the digital domain has a circuit isolation that allows blocks to be joined together easily and a generality in terms of circuit equivalence that is just not present in the analog world.

And even within classes of similar analog circuit, such as families of amplifiers, there can problems. "Previous attempts to automate analog design have used a brute force exploration of the design space using genetic algorithms and similar approaches. But the space is complex and this approach can produce local minimum solutions that are not optimal," observed Farrugia.

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