Judy Warner (00:01.539) Hi, Yuriy. Thanks so much for joining the podcast. I'm delighted to have you. Yuriy Shlepnev (00:07.007) Thank you for inviting me. Judy Warner (00:09.803) It's been a while since we've had a chance to talk and recently on LinkedIn, I saw you had some pretty exciting updates to Symbior. So I wanted to share you with my guests on a hopefully a little bit larger scale. So why don't you start out with a brief introduction of who you are, and what your background is, and then tell us about Symberian and particularly Simbeor. Yuriy Shlepnev (00:33.998) Okay, thank you. I'm president and founder of Simberion. Well, we founded Symbirion in 2006, but before this, I worked with four mentor graphics and on power integrity tools over there. And before this I worked for Eagleware Corporation and Riffle Microwave Analysis. and electromagnetic analysis of RF and microwave tools. Judy Warner (01:08.399) Mm-hmm. Yuriy Shlepnev (01:13.091) So Symbirion was started with basically one idea to make electromagnetic software for signal integrity engineers. And if you remember 2006, there was no such software. There was software for ref and microwave applications, for antenna applications and so on, but not for signal integrity. So from the beginning it was a tool, kind of with the electromagnetic foundation, but for signal integrity engineers. So I guess we kind of built this foundation. And it was the first kind of one of the... One of the first things that were introduced in Symbiore since 2006, we had a kind of chain of new things introduced into the industry recognized by some awards like design vision. I put a list of things that we did what new for the industry in my last paper called the Flawless Interconnect Design. with SEMBUR software. Judy Warner (02:35.599) Where's that published jury? I'd like to share that with our audience. Yuriy Shlepnev (02:39.712) It was published by PCB 007, but also available, one version, latest version of it, available at our website. It's an application note section. Judy Warner (02:43.592) Okay. Judy Warner (02:53.994) Okay. Judy Warner (02:57.447) So where are you now with Symbiore? I tell us, I mean, you talked about the EMI and signal integrity, but talk a little bit more in depth about, you know, since you started till now, what kind of problems does it solve for engineers and really who, who's it for? Yuriy Shlepnev (02:57.684) Um... Yuriy Shlepnev (03:20.49) Well, that's a good question. We always kind of fall away from beginning till now. We're always trying to figure out who is this tool for, what does it solve, what problems does it solve. So back then, the challenge was 10 gigabit per second. And only signal integrity, serious signal integrity practitioners were designing those 10 gigabit per second links. But now data rates in PCBs are well over 10 GB per second. You take any signaling standard, PCI, Ethernet, OEF, and so on. Even DDR is over 10 GB per second. Everything is kind of over 10. And some of them are close to 100 and over 100 GB per second. So that's the problem. The problem is. Judy Warner (04:02.243) Mm-hmm. Judy Warner (04:09.463) Right. Yuriy Shlepnev (04:13.302) Basically designed based on some rules, simply geometrical, doesn't work anymore at those data rates and all those signal distortions from reflection, dissipation, crosstalk and they cause degradation of a signal up to the point of failure. Essentially, if you design now something at 30 gigabit per second and didn't use tools for this and you turn product on and it works, it's just pure luck. It was difficult to make interconnect better 10 gigabit per second, but 30 gigabit, it's very easy to make them wrong. Judy Warner (04:49.635) Yeah. Yuriy Shlepnev (05:02.486) That basically is a problem we're trying to solve with Symbiore. It's a compliance analysis and interconnect optimization, basically, to verify compliance to specific signaling standards. So it's... I would say we started as an electromagnetic, started Symbiore as an electromagnetic signal integrity tool. Now it's turned into an electromagnetic compliance verification tool with the last two releases, especially in the last release. It turned into an electromagnetic compliance verification tool. Basically all you need to make sure that things connected in your schematic like... Judy Warner (05:38.25) Hmm. Yuriy Shlepnev (05:52.79) FPGA with some memory chip and lay it out with your layout software, then they will actually work. Judy Warner (06:03.503) Okay, so do you do these simulations at the board level or at the... okay. Yuriy Shlepnev (06:08.582) Exactly, yes. All our latest efforts are in basically making the post-layout process as easy as possible. So compliant or not, one question we have to answer. For each high-speed standard, essentially the last version was achieved with a couple of clicks so far. Judy Warner (06:21.471) Okay. Yuriy Shlepnev (06:38.63) from import of ODB or some other formats into Symbior to pass-fail analysis at the end, so with the electromagnetic analysis in between at each stage. So essentially Symbior is... In the beginning, it was built on top of electromagnetic analysis technology. So we didn't know what technology needed to answer the question pass-fail. And the reason is simple. There was no industry. If you take high-speed signal now, it was running at 30 gigabit per second, 112 gigabit per second. Judy Warner (07:16.876) Right. Yuriy Shlepnev (07:34.786) It requires analysis almost from DC to frequencies at microwave bandwidth and millimeter bandwidth. And none of such problems existed in ref and microwave. So from the beginning we start kind of research and development. Basically, what it takes to... Judy Warner (07:43.838) Right. Judy Warner (07:50.498) Right. Yuriy Shlepnev (07:57.986) do accurate analysis of such interconnects up to 50 GHz and now up to 70 and higher GHz. And the result was a kind of set of tools and symbols that basically supports the process and give you accurate answer at the end. But a few years ago, when... Yuriy Shlepnev (08:25.686) this COVID and self-isolation started, we realized that we have now kind of very established set of tools, a foundation that we can use to build tools for average PCB designers, not for signal integrity engineers only. And with signal integrity engineers, they are also not really familiar with electromagnetic analysis. They require some kind of. Judy Warner (08:43.787) Mm. Right. Judy Warner (08:52.644) Mm. Yuriy Shlepnev (08:54.93) encapsulation of electromagnetic tools or isolation. But with layout engineers we encountered that they need answer faster and they don't have time and desire to learn signal integrity. So we start planning Yuriy Shlepnev (09:20.61) how to build the tool for those PCB developers, average. So it required acceleration of everything, starting from geometry import, geometry conversion into models, analysis, acceleration of electromagnetic analysis. And simplification of interface. Just keep everything that is important for a particular signaling standard within one environment. So that started around 2020. And now with the last release, we're basically finishing this development kind of with the with this signal integrity compliance analyzer was automatic check of pass-fail of compliance metrics from pretty much all signaling standards. That's basically where we are. Judy Warner (10:22.427) So when we first got acquainted, I was at Altium and Altium and Symbiore were working together. And one thing I remember being impressed by your tool as compared to some others was that it's physics based and there's a lot of mathematics and that it was quite accurate. And particularly, I remember Eric Bogaton coming to me when Symbiore had some integrations with Altium. He's like, this is really good. Like, you know what, I model and what comes out is like almost dead on. And he was using with some of his students. And I was sort of glad to get that real world feedback. And so now since 2020, you're saying that now you can simply take your ODB++ and run it through this very Yuriy Shlepnev (11:03.86) Mm-hmm. Judy Warner (11:21.871) powerful software and get a pass fail and you don't have to spend years learning about EMI and signal integrity. It's like signal integrity modeling for everybody. Yuriy Shlepnev (11:28.86) No. Yuriy Shlepnev (11:37.15) Exactly. That's what our goal now is to make it accessible to... Well, all PCB designers do not care basically about signal integrity. They do not want to learn it. They just need pass-fail. And... Well... And another thing is as soon as it fails, we help them with our tools to find and pinpoint the problem. What is the location of the problem? And then basically, Simeon doesn't automatically fix the problems so far. But knowing where the problem is coming from, so is it dissipation losses or... Judy Warner (12:11.83) Okay. Judy Warner (12:21.578) Right. Yuriy Shlepnev (12:31.09) reflection, design of some views, design of some component breakout structures and or crosstalk. Symbior helps to find those problems and then we provide some advice on how to generic advice is how to fix it and then you can go and do a voptimization for instance in Symbior. Get back into layout tool, fix it, get layout back and check it again versus compliance metrics. So, the last stage obviously requires some skills. When it fails... Judy Warner (13:14.375) Right. But what I like about what you're saying, Yuri, is that actually there's some learning that's happening that may go forward into their next designs because Symbior is actually teaching them where to look for potential. Is that, have you gotten some feedback on that or what has been your experience in regards to sort of that debugging function? Yuriy Shlepnev (13:39.684) Absolutely. Yuriy Shlepnev (13:44.222) Absolutely. We've got very good feedback and some kind of customers are amazed with what they can see now with Symbior. For instance, you load the board, you select some dozens of net and run electrical rule checking based on analysis in Symbior, and you immediately see what the impedances of your interconnect everywhere, including vehicles. That's a kind of... Including VS, yes, we compute the impedance of the VS and visualize it. And on my YouTube channel, you can see... SinBior YouTube channel, sorry. You can see all those short videos, like in one minute you get a snapshot of your impedance. But most important, where the impedances are off. Judy Warner (14:14.663) including VIAs, which is amazing. Judy Warner (14:29.888) Okay. Judy Warner (14:42.851) Right. Yuriy Shlepnev (14:43.146) So, and then you can go back, redesign your stackup, change stackup or change trace width and so on, and get your impedance right. Before this, it basically starts not like, some interconnects are not even simulatable to start with. And that's all about the via holes, where the via holes do not have enough stitching views. Judy Warner (15:06.689) Yeah. Yuriy Shlepnev (15:11.838) or the stitching vias are not close enough. And the very first path in Symbior is ensure reference integrity, which include localization of the vias. So at what data rate via, for instance, works. And at this point, it shows you that this vias has to be redesigned. Then impedance goes on top of this and then... Judy Warner (15:12.611) Right. Yuriy Shlepnev (15:40.442) cross talk goes on top of this and then you proceed with every level of complexity, you can figure out actual problem, not jumping right into pass fail for a particular standard. If it passes, you don't care, right? But then it fails, if it fails, you start looking closer. And Judy Warner (15:55.552) Right. Judy Warner (16:06.739) You actually know where to look. Yuriy Shlepnev (16:09.43) We had to look and continue this trend of visual presentation, of impedances, of localization breakout, of crosstalk. We actually added in the very last release, we put all measurements requested by a customer, like insertion loss, return loss, TDR, eye diagram. We put them directly where they belong. at the location of pins. So it's not even just pass fail, but also which metric failed. And then you can click and see what failure looks like, basically, a graph of s-parameters or i-diagrams that doesn't fit them. Sorry. Uh-huh. Judy Warner (16:56.179) Okay. I have a question about that. Okay. So my question about that, particularly as it has to do with vias, you mentioned you take different standards. So because I've had years in PCB manufacturing, does it take into account the tolerances for say plating and things like that? Does it take those things into consideration? Yuriy Shlepnev (17:29.051) Good question. When we claim that Symbior is an accurate tool, it's just a part of the story. Unlike other tools, Symbior supports some kind of process that ensures accuracy. The very important building blocks are there, are material models, first, especially conductor roughness. Judy Warner (17:54.888) Okay, good. Yuriy Shlepnev (17:56.99) and then manufacturing adjustments or very important part. So Symbior provides first. Judy Warner (18:02.217) Oh wow. Yuriy Shlepnev (18:10.278) kind of four supports, four different methods for material model identification with separation of losses between dielectric and conductor outness, which is unique. And it can be automated and now enterprise customers use it extensively. So all analysis of interconnect, if it has to be accurate, should be based on material identification. So far, material vendors do not provide, they provide. Judy Warner (18:20.832) Wow. Yuriy Shlepnev (18:38.602) usable model for dielectrics but nothing for conductor roughness and 30 gigabit per second conductor roughness maybe showstopper that's for sure so and then you have to simulate things that are manufactured and boards are not manufactured as designed as you pointed out and Symbior provides very simple interface to do those adjustments just before the analysis Judy Warner (18:49.033) Okay. Judy Warner (18:57.507) Right. Yes, that's what yes. Yuriy Shlepnev (19:06.678) So over the years we got to kind of figure it out what was our partners, customers, cutting a lot of boards, what gets kind of, what can go wrong over there and what is different from your original design. And we provided all adjustments that they needed for trace shape, for instance, plating, via drill adjustments. So... Judy Warner (19:07.087) Good. Judy Warner (19:36.527) That's amazing to me. That is amazing. Yeah. To me, that's really a unique benefit because often, you know, I used to say, because I have involvement with both, you know, complex high-speed digital boards and RF and microwave, particularly RF and microwave boards, are pretty persnickety from the material and, you know, our plating and our... Yuriy Shlepnev (19:36.866) typical things, back drilling and so on. That's... And Judy Warner (20:04.271) drilling and desmear and all those things we do. And often they come back and say, why would I simulate it does not match this? And everything we did would be within IPC standards. So unless engineers talk to us and we manually gave them that guidance, but it sounds like you have put those things right into the tool, which is fantastic. Yuriy Shlepnev (20:13.905) Mm-hmm. Yuriy Shlepnev (20:17.388) Yeah. Yuriy Shlepnev (20:27.07) Exactly. And you know, in PCB industry it used to be like this. Here's my board, it should be 50 ohm impedance, go and manufacture it. Then it evolved to the next stage, here's my board, 50 ohm or 100 ohm impedance now, differential mostly, and losses should not exceed such and such value at such and such frequency. Go and manufacture it. PCB manufacturers trying to fit all those requirements and in the process they do a lot of things that basically makes analysis before you know what actually going to be manufactured pretty much useless. So all those high speed standards, metrics, they're pretty tight, especially like Ethernet or EF, they're pretty tight on reflection, on cross-token. Judy Warner (21:08.301) Right. Yuriy Shlepnev (21:23.562) So, if you do whatever with just one value of loss or impedance is not sufficient, it can basically ruin the whole thing quite easily. We cannot do much about it, but at least provide adjustments that you can request what was the actual trace width, for instance, or shape of the trace. Judy Warner (21:49.429) Right. Well, Yuri, for years, all I've been doing is saying, talk to your board manufacturer. Talk to your board manufacturer. And they don't. Because they're too busy and nobody flies around the country to go visit their, you know, like everybody's too tapped out. And that's all I've been doing. And it just feels futile. But I love that you can get that kind of insight. without having to get on a plane or spend hours talking to a board manufacturer and trying to get some really talented front-end engineer to understand what your performance needs to be and you know have that very analog conversation that you've baked that intelligence at a physics level inside of a tool is to me amazing. I'm really impressed. We didn't talk about that before this podcast but I'm really truly very excited about it. that aspect of it. What else would you say differentiates Symbior from maybe other simulation tools? You know, and maybe you want to talk about some of the things you highlighted on LinkedIn recently. I know it showed a 3D model and but let's go through the list of what you think differentiates you. Yuriy Shlepnev (22:56.515) Oh, a lot. Yuriy Shlepnev (23:01.538) Yeah. Yuriy Shlepnev (23:08.554) Well, we mentioned accuracy and everything that it takes to make analysis accurate. Just claim that your tool is accurate based on electromagnetics. For me, it just doesn't work. It works for some people, but I always kind of question. They say, well, go ahead, forget about it and about the accuracy. But to make sure that our tool is accurate, Simbior. we ran a lot of validation projects and some of them are off-the-shelf boards like from Wild River Technology where our customer can purchase this board and do their own analysis, their own measurements and make sure that if they follow the process they achieve correlation between modeling and reality. And so this is... kind of one thing. Another thing is Symbiore is completely different because of it was built with a foundation form of electromagnetic analysis, multiple methods, multiple kind of techniques were used in Symbiore, but that was the foundation, unlike in the other tools. You take any other tool on the market and they were built from signal integrity core. Judy Warner (24:26.869) Mm. Mm-hmm. Yuriy Shlepnev (24:34.578) And on top of this, they put electromagnetics. And it's like kind of airplane engine on a car. And then it just ruins everything. If you... In CPR, it's naturally built from kind of electromagnetic foundation. And now we start building actually tools usable by anyone. So in... If you... Judy Warner (24:39.048) I see. Yuriy Shlepnev (25:03.734) compared with other tools, it's kind of very refreshing for those who try the other tools. I communicated recently with some people using the other tools and they kind of outlined how their everyday life looks. It starts with fighting with layout guys to make the layout importable. or make possible import in a tool. And then on the other end, there's a kind of horror story of how to run electromagnetic analysis. And that's very unlike, in simple words, completely different experience. So... Judy Warner (25:36.884) Yeah. Judy Warner (25:52.927) So that's why I was mentioning earlier about Eric Bogaton's feedback with the students because they were building physical product and I know Eric and you know Eric well enough to know for him it's all about correlation and he was seeing really tight correlation between you know what the models he was getting versus the physical product they would test. He's like, Yuriy Shlepnev (26:01.717) Mm-hmm. Yes, yes. Yuriy Shlepnev (26:08.298) Mm-hmm. Judy Warner (26:22.751) I think to me that was a testimony that this isn't just smoke and mirrors. Like it really is. Um, and I think because of that foundation you laid and, and I think a lot of physics baked in. So is this a really, you know, as we go through your, um, differentiators as a tool, you know, most people are like, I can't afford to simulate, you know, at any level. Yuriy Shlepnev (26:34.463) Yeah. Yuriy Shlepnev (26:50.322) Yes, this is a very important point. So our customers are ranging from KaiCad users to Allegra, BoardStation, Expedition, and so on, and everything in between. But so far, our kind of pricing of Symbior is closer to... Judy Warner (27:07.126) Okay. Yuriy Shlepnev (27:17.954) tools like Altium. Customers of Altium can afford to buy Symbior on top of this. Or similar to Altium tools. There are a few. KiCad is kind of freeware end of the spectrum, but we have KiCad customers who use Symbior. Judy Warner (27:31.443) Right, or similar. Well, if you say KiCad, that speaks volumes. Judy Warner (27:40.61) Right. Judy Warner (27:44.683) Yeah. I think, you know, people think, yes. So people have been saying that are using KiCad and love it. They think it's like the old Altium. You know, when Altium first started, they think it's sort of the up and coming because they're doing some pretty neat things there. But again, if you say, you know, KiCad to Expedition, you know, that there's the gamut of EDA tools. Yuriy Shlepnev (27:46.663) for kind of final checks. Yuriy Shlepnev (28:10.428) Absolutely different. Enterprise customers on one side, they kind of use Symbior to full capability, starting from material identification, design automation at the end, and post layout analysis automation, I would say. at the end for live site management with comparison with the previous kind of iteration of the same board, that's one end of the spectrum. And another end is where people care about impedances, reflections, crosstalk on really kind of simple boards they design. So I wish we had kind of licenses. less expensive for KiCard customers. Right now we are in the range for, one network license with all capabilities included is $9,000 per year. So, and there are node lock, yes, that's a top, that's a top. There are a few kind of options for, Judy Warner (29:00.116) I see. Judy Warner (29:15.163) Okay, so that's the top. So you're saying that's the top and it goes all the way down to a simplify tool. Yuriy Shlepnev (29:25.762) kind of cost-conscious customers, three-month licenses, three-month non-lock licenses are much less expensive, and when you have small projects, you don't need all the time, and use just for final validation of the board, all those short-term licenses work just very well. We can, the, kind of, the trade-off here is like this. Judy Warner (29:38.742) Right. Yuriy Shlepnev (29:54.03) Why do other companies have very expensive electromagnetic tools? The reason is they must have a lot of infrastructure around this. In some cases, server farms that run the electromagnetic analysis. And army of application engineers. On top of this, sales, marketing and so on. At Symbirion, we don't have sales, don't have marketing. Judy Warner (30:10.932) Oh. Judy Warner (30:19.254) Yeah. Yuriy Shlepnev (30:22.498) don't have application engineers, but it still requires some support. That's kind of, as soon as we manage to make it completely kind of not requiring support, then we'll make it much less expensive for every layout engineer, too, for every... Judy Warner (30:27.805) Yes. Judy Warner (30:51.04) I see. Yuriy Shlepnev (30:51.37) layout engineer. That's basically a goal. So we figured out instead of growing number of or building kind of company in a regular way with all those sales and application engineers, we rather have to get back in our development and develop it as it kind of... Judy Warner (30:58.986) Right. Yuriy Shlepnev (31:22.166) doesn't need any exactly very short learning curve people amaze what how much they can achieve in a week Judy Warner (31:22.379) It doesn't require a lot of support then. Right. Yeah, let's talk about that. Yeah, so okay. So that's another thing I hear people complaining about, the time that it takes to learn a tool. So you're saying this is a very short, it's easy to use then, and easy to learn. Okay. Yuriy Shlepnev (31:47.646) Yes, especially last release. That's all about usability. It was, before this, it was productivity, speed of analysis and so on. And the last release is considering features we extended simulation accuracy above 50 gigahertz with few features added in there. for more accurate analysis of those millimeter wave frequencies. And on the other end, we implemented this automatic compliance verification, which is really kind of important item. But overall, we made all types of analysis I mentioned here, including electromagnetic analysis, one push button analysis. Judy Warner (32:40.33) Hmm. Yuriy Shlepnev (32:42.55) most of the cases do not require any kind of additional settings and that's the biggest achievement we've got so far. Judy Warner (32:55.159) That's amazing. So the last thing I wanted to talk to you about, um, before I have to let you go, I know you're a busy guy and we both have to go, but I wanted to hear more. You had talked about how customers can use Symbiore like a library to create custom applications. Can you talk a little bit about that? Yuriy Shlepnev (33:17.554) Yes, one of the advantages of Symbiore is it can be extended. Whatever is missing in our GUI, you can take Symbiore version called Symbiore SDK, software development kit, which is interface to all solvers and tools. Judy Warner (33:41.568) Okay. Yeah. Yuriy Shlepnev (33:47.022) and use to build your own tools on top of this. So our enterprise customers, for instance, they building their own material notification tools. They are building it into the machine learning applications into kind of where you need that's for pre-layout kind of analysis where you need to. Judy Warner (33:59.735) Hmm Judy Warner (34:05.836) Mmm. Yuriy Shlepnev (34:16.898) establish ranges where your system will work. That symbiore kind of provides a very easy way. Unlike other... Yuriy Shlepnev (34:32.462) tools on the market where they require application engineers. In the case of Symbior, everything is done very simple. And in the last release, we even simplified further using JSON format for data transfer between those third-party tools in companies. Or Symbior was used also at Altium Stackup Manager to build Stackup Manager. in there. That's one of the kind of area where SMP-OR has advantages. Extendability or kind of scalability, I don't know. Judy Warner (35:20.939) Well, this has been a fantastic update, Yuri. And I'm so thankful that you came to share everything that's going on. For our audience, you mentioned your YouTube channel and certainly the Symbiore website. Where else can our listeners go learn? Yuriy Shlepnev (35:35.454) Yes, Symbirion, www.symbirion.com and YouTube Symbior channel. And also Symbirion and myself on LinkedIn, where I regularly like once or twice a month post some updates or short demonstration of Symbior. There's going to be one tomorrow. But Judy Warner (35:39.683) some variant doctors. Judy Warner (35:49.432) Okay. Yuriy Shlepnev (36:04.77) on DDR analysis of DDR. So in case of, there are a lot of demos on serial interconnects where basically all we need is just Symbiore and possibly Matlab to answer questions, pass, fail. But in DDR, that's different story, but Symbiore is usable, very usable for VR link and I'll post some demo on YouTube as well, how to. Judy Warner (36:08.568) Mmm. Yuriy Shlepnev (36:33.666) adjust delays or evaluate delays or build spice models of complete DDR cluster with Symbiore. With the last version with one click of button that's amazing even to me what it can do. Judy Warner (36:48.603) Well, I'm so glad you did that post on LinkedIn because it was very visually pleasing and people commenting that link just blew up because, you know, people like me haven't been paying close attention but having that visually was really impactful. So keep posting on LinkedIn. Well, Yuri, thank you again for joining us and I hope as you continue down the road with Yuriy Shlepnev (37:09.262) Okay, I will. Judy Warner (37:15.64) Symbiuro, you'll come back and keep us up to date on everything you continue to develop. Yuriy Shlepnev (37:22.242) Thank you, Judy. Thank you for inviting me and letting me talk about my favorite thing, CBR. Judy Warner (37:30.283) Well, to our audience, I hope you've enjoyed this conversation between me and Yuri Shlepnyov of Symbirion. I will put all those links for you below in the show notes. Please go check them out and definitely connect on LinkedIn and on their company page and also with Yuri and I'll put those links below for you. Thanks so much for joining. We'll see you next week. Until then, remember to always stay connected to the ecosystem. And that's a podcast, my friend.