Fast Transient Simulation of High-Speed Channels Using Recurrent Neural Network

25 Jan 2019  ·  Thong Nguyen, Tianjian Lu, Ken Wu, Jose Schutt-Aine ·

Generating eye diagrams by using a circuit simulator can be very computationally intensive, especially in the presence of nonlinearities. It often involves multiple Newton-like iterations at every time step when a SPICE-like circuit simulator handles a nonlinear system in the transient regime. In this paper, we leverage machine learning methods, to be specific, the recurrent neural network (RNN), to generate black-box macromodels and achieve significant reduction of computation time. Through the proposed approach, an RNN model is first trained and then validated on a relatively short sequence generated from a circuit simulator. Once the training completes, the RNN can be used to make predictions on the remaining sequence in order to generate an eye diagram. The training cost can also be amortized when the trained RNN starts making predictions. Besides, the proposed approach requires no complex circuit simulations nor substantial domain knowledge. We use two high-speed link examples to demonstrate that the proposed approach provides adequate accuracy while the computation time can be dramatically reduced. In the high-speed link example with a PAM4 driver, the eye diagram generated by RNN models shows good agreement with that obtained from a commercial circuit simulator. This paper also investigates the impacts of various RNN topologies, training schemes, and tunable parameters on both the accuracy and the generalization capability of an RNN model. It is found out that the long short-term memory (LSTM) network outperforms the vanilla RNN in terms of the accuracy in predicting transient waveforms.

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