Software For Electronics

  • MATLAB (matrix laboratory) is a numerical computing environment and fourth-generation programming language. Developed by MathWorks, MATLAB allows matrix manipulations, plotting of functions and data, implementation of algorithms, creation of user interfaces, and interfacing with programs written in other languages, including C, C++, Java, and Fortran. MATLAB is a proprietary product and requires license.
  • Xilinx ISE (Integrated Software Environment) is a software tool produced by Xilinx for synthesis and analysis of HDL designs, enabling the developer to synthesize ("compile") their designs, perform timing analysis, examine RTL diagrams, simulate a design's reaction to different stimuli, and configure the target device with the programmer. The Web Edition is a free version of Xilinx ISE that can be downloaded at no charge. It provides synthesis and programming for a limited number of Xilinx devices. In particular, devices with a large number of I/O pins and large gate matrices are disabled. The low-cost Spartan family of FPGAs is fully supported by this edition, as well as the family of CPLDs, meaning small developers and educational institutions have no overheads from the cost of development software.
  • Altera Quartus is a programmable logic device design software from Altera. Its features include an implementation of VHDL and Verilog for hardware description, visual edition of logic circuits and vector waveform simulation. The Web Edition is a free version of Quartus II that can be downloaded or delivered by mail for free. This edition provided compilation and programming for a limited number of Altera devices. The low-cost Cyclone family of FPGAs is fully supported by this edition, as well as the MAX family of CPLDs, meaning small developers and educational institutions have no overheads from the cost of development software. License registration is required to use the Web Edition of Quartus II, which is free and can be renewed an unlimited number of times.
  • Code Composer Studio is an integrated development environment for developing applications for Texas Instruments embedded processors. Texas Instruments embedded processors include DSPs, ARM based devices and other processors such as MSP430. Code Composer Studio includes a real time operating system called DSP/BIOS or SYS/BIOS. Code Composer Studio or CCS includes support for OS level application debug as well as low-level JTAG based development. CCS is based on the Eclipse open source software framework. Code Composer Studio 3 uses a proprietary IDE, while Code Composer Studio version 4 is based on a modified version of Eclipse. Code Composer Studio version 5 uses an unmodified version of Eclipse, and also includes support for Linux, as well as Microsoft Windows.
  • HFSS is a commercial finite element method solver for electromagnetic structures from Ansys. The acronym originally stood for high frequency structural simulator. It is one of several commercial tools used for antenna design, and the design of complex RF electronic circuit elements including filters, transmission lines, and packaging. HFSS offers multiple state-of the-art solver technologies based on finite element, integral equation or advanced hybrid methods to solve a wide range of applications. Each HFSS solver incorporates a powerful, automated solution process, so you need only to specify geometry, material properties and the desired output. From there, HFSS automatically generates an appropriate, efficient and accurate mesh for solving the problem using the selected solution technology. With HFSS, the physics defines the mesh; the mesh does not define the physics.
  • OptSim is RSoft's software tool for the design and simulation of optical communication systems at the signal propagation level. With state-of-the-art simulation techniques, an easy-to-use graphical user interface and lab-like measurement instruments, OptSim provides good accuracy and usability. The software has been commercially available since 1998 and is in use by leading engineers in both academic and industrial organizations worldwide. Its benefits are virtual prototyping of optical communication systems for increased productivity and reduced time to market, design optimization for enhanced performance and reduced costs, interfaces with third-party tools such as MATLAB and advanced electrical modeling with embedded SPICE engine.
  • Commsim provides the ideal solution for designing and simulating analog and digital end-to-end communication links. The Commsim library supports digital and analog modulation, channel models, demodulation, phase locked loops, error correcting codes, and bit error rate analysis to mention a few. Through its support of complex math, Commsim enables the use of complex envelope simulations. By using lowpass equivalent models, communication engineers can significantly reduce the computing load required to support most communication analysis problems.
  • The µVision IDE from Keil combines project management, make facilities, source code editing, program debugging, and complete simulation in one powerful environment. The µVision development platform is easy-to-use and helps quickly create embedded programs that work. The µVision editor and debugger are integrated in a single application that provides a seamless embedded project development environment.
  • Emu8086 combines an advanced source editor, assembler, disassembler, software emulator (Virtual PC) with debugger, and step by step tutorials. It is helpful for those who just begin to study assembly language. It compiles the source code and executes it on emulator step by step. Visual interface is very easy to work with. There are provisions to watch registers, flags and memory while the program executes. Arithmetic & Logical Unit (ALU) shows the internal work of the central processor unit (CPU). The emulator runs programs on a Virtual PC, thus completely blocking the program from accessing real hardware, such as hard-drives and memory.
  • Proteus Design Suite Version 8 includes an application framework lets you view modules of Proteus as tabs in a single window or, via drag and drop, as separate windows for a side-by-side view, a common parts database enables sharing of information between schematic and PCB, a live netlist and integrated VSMStudio IDE which binds the firmware project to the schematic design.
  • PSpice is a SPICE analog circuit and digital logic simulation program for Microsoft Windows. The name is an acronym for Personal SPICE - SPICE itself being an acronym for Simulation Program with Integrated Circuit Emphasis. PSpice is a part of larger software package called the Design Lab, originally developed by MicroSim Corporation as the Design Centre. It is now marketed by OrCAD. To promote the understanding of the simulation process, the emphasis is on user written circuit files rather than a graphical entry of the circuit diagrams.
  • Agilent Advanced Design System is an electronic design automation software for RF, microwave, and high speed digital applications. In a powerful and easy-to-use interface, ADS includes technologies such as X-parameters and 3D EM simulators, used by leading companies in the wireless communication & networking and aerospace & defense industries. For WiMAX, LTE, multi-gigabit per second data links, radar, & satellite applications, ADS provides full, standards-based design and verification with Wireless Libraries and circuit-system-EM co-simulation in an integrated platform.
  • Cadence Virtuoso Analog Design Environment is the advanced design and simulation environment for the Virtuoso platform. It gives designers access to a new parasitic estimation and comparison flow and optimization algorithms that help to center designs better for yield improvement and advanced matching and sensitivity analyses. By supporting extensive exploration of multiple designs against their objective specifications, Virtuoso Analog Design Environment sets the standard in fast and accurate design verification.


Free Software for Electronics

ECAD tools

Electric is complete and sophisticated VLSI design software primarily authored by Steven Rubin. Some of its features includes custom ic layout, design rule checking, network consistency checking, VHDL Compilation, silicon compilation, etc. Read about its technical specifications here.


Icarus Verilog is a verilog simulation and synthesis tool written by Stephen Williams.


vIDE is a fully featured, cross-platform, integrated environment for designing, testing and debugging Verilog applications.


Gnucap is a general purpose circuit simulator. It performs nonlinear dc and transient analyses, fourier analysis, and ac analysis. It is fully interactive and command driven.

Processor Simulators

gdspsim is a TMS320C54x dsp simulator with a gtk+ front end.


TMS320C[34]x DSP GNU Tools are ports of gcc, binutils, gdb for the C3x and C4x DSPs by Michael Hayes. The gdb port has a builtin simulator with many nifty features.