|Summary: Porting a multi-threaded SPICE simulator to a massively parallel GPU - interesting academic exercise or shape of things to come?|
Nascentric have just announced a hardware-accelerated version of their OmegaSim SPICE that offloads the computationally-expensive transistor evaluations from the main CPU(s) and onto an nVidia PCIe card holding a single GPU containing 128 multi-threaded processors.
This is an intriguing approach - using off-the-shelf acceleration hardware hasn’t been something the EDA industry has taken to, preferring instead to design and make their own (see hardware accelerators, emulators, and other attempts passim.) We’ve predicted here the move to distributed computing, multi-core and multi-threading, and OmegaSim GX is part of that move. Accelerating MOS evaluation is a great first step, and I’d be really interested to see some real, open and transparent benchmarking (something most EDA software licensing expressly prohibits, by the way.)
In addition, the number of MOS evaluations increase hugely in tightly-coupled circuits; fully-extracted post-layout netlists including a large number of fine-granularity coupling capacitors and a full power and ground distribution system create havoc in SPICE and Fast-SPICE alike. I’d be curious to see, as the solve-load ratio changes with increasing coupling, how GX performs.