The Products
The XicTools Suite

Whiteley Research is developing the XicTools suite of integrated circuit design tools for Linux, Apple OS X, and Microsoft Windows. Once sold as commercial products, the tools have transitioned to an open-source project, and are available free of charge for download and use. As open-source, it is anticipated that others will take on much of the future development, and with more exposure and users, the tools will evolve rapidly in a positive way.

These tools are targeted for the design of small and medium scale digital and analog integrated circuits, primarily those using cutting-edge technologies where performance is paramount. However, the tools provide capibilities for working with very large layout files, even with a modest computer. The product line emphasizes flexibility and control in physical layout at the gate level. The XicTools suite currently consists of Xic, a graphical editor, and WRspice, a circuit simulator, plus numerous accessory programs and utilities.

The XicTools binary packages directly support rpm-based Linux (packages for RedHat, CentOS, Fedora, OpenSUSE), Apple OS X 10.10 (Yosemite) or later, and Microsoft Windows 8.1 or later.

Why Choose Our Tools?

Great programs with unique features, plus they're free!

That being said, these tools are not for everyone.

  • Xic will (at present) not replace Cadence Virtuoso/Mentor Calibre for standard foundry PDK-based chip design. However, it can be a useful supplement for design engineers. Top designers can take their laptops out to wherever they feel most creative, and have an efficient set of tools to use for conjuring up new designs. WRspice, as an interactive tool, is an attractive alternative to HSPICE for many purposes.

  • The programs intended niche is emerging technology research and development. They were actually developed originally to support superconducting Josephson junction circuit design and fabrication.

  • The programs were developed by advanced engineers for advanced engineers and scientists.

Whiteley Research can provide program customization, consultation and contract development on technology file generation, automation scripts, and other topics. Contact the company for information and quotations.

The programs are in a constant state of improvement. New capability is continually being added, bugs are fixed, operations are refined, and efficiency is improved. While most users don't bother to install every new release, users have the choice to update at their convenience and according to their needs. The release notes are available on this web site, and can be checked periodically for announcements of new features that the user might find useful.

Major bugs are fixed immediately in the infrequent case that they are found. Minor bugs are fixed in the scheduled release following their discovery. What is "major" and "minor" to the user should be communicated to Whiteley Research. If a former customer needs a problem resolved, that problem will be resolved immediately.

The most recent releases are always available on this web site. The programs can be configured to automatically check for updates on startup, and updates can be downloaded and installed from "update" commands within the programs. The entire update process takes only a few seconds with a fast Internet connection. A copy of the existing program is retained, in case of trouble with the new release.


(More info here.)
Xic is a graphical editor for physical layout and schematic capture. A main window and multiple pop-up windows provide editing capability for the electrical (schematic) and physical views of a cell. The WRspice simulator is called upon in a seamless manner to provide point-and-click simulation capability while in electrical mode. Schematics can be generated by extracting the netlist and device parameters from a physical layout, or from a SPICE listing provided by the user. SPICE and other netlist format output is available from the schematic, or directly from the physical layout.

Interactive design rule checking is provided, as well as the more conventional batch-mode checking of physical layouts. Arbitrary angles are supported in physical geometry. Properties can be assigned to objects, and the property setting mechanism can be used to modify the geometry of objects.

A powerful, non-lisp scripting language and interpreter is provided, with a debugging window that allows single stepping, breakpoint setting, and variable tracing to facilitate script development. A large collection of interface functions is provided, which enables the user to automate many tedious layout functions. Scripts can be executed through a "user" menu, by clicking on a label in the layout, or by clicking on an anchor in the HTML-based help viewer.

Support is provided for parameterized cells (PCells) written in the native language, Python, or Tcl. This includes portable OpenAccess PCells using the Synopsys PyCell Studio.

Xic has limited compatibility with Cadence Virtuoso and can read the Virtuoso/Ciranova display resource and technology files. Regular (non-PCell) OpenAccess cells can be loaded into Xic preserving most if not all of the technology attributes.

Xic provides an extensive help system and on-line documentation. The system is intended to by customized by the user, as the file formats involved are simple and well documented. Scripts can be executed, files loaded into Xic for editing, or simulation runs initiated by WRspice by simply clicking anchors in the viewer. This provides a very powerful documentation tool to the Xic user.

Xic provides netlist and parametric extraction and verification. Xic also provides a built-in extraction interface for the FasterCap program from, and to other the open-source FastCap and FastHenry programs for three-dimensional R/L/C extraction. Customized versions of FastCap and FastHenry are now included in the XicTools suite.

Xic can read and write files in GDSII, OASIS, CIF, CGX, and the native format. Any of these file types can be read into Xic without prior knowledge of what they contain - Xic will add layers, etc., as needed on-the-fly. A single, text-mode technology file provides all of the technology-specific information used by Xic. Most of the attributes in the technology file can be set from within Xic, and a new or updated technology file can be generated with a mouse click. Further, Xic can read and write Cadence Virtuoso ASCII technology and display resource files.

Despite the high level of flexibility and power, Xic is designed to be intuitive and easy to learn. Short-cuts, macros, and scripts provide the potential for highly efficient and productive operation. See the Xic description for more information.


(More info here.)
Once an independent product, XicII is a reduced feature set mode of Xic, restricted to be a very capable ic layout editor. It provides the same user interface as Xic, and is fully compatible, but is configured exclusively for physical layout editing. See the XicII description for more information. This reduced feature set was originally imposed by licensing, but presently can be selected if the user wishes. Perhaps in some environments this would be useful.


(More info here.)
The Xiv tool was once an independent product, and is a reduced feature set operating mode of Xic. Xiv is a very capable yet inexpensive ic layout viewer and layout file manipulator based on Xic technology. It provides the same user interface as Xic, and is fully compatible, but does not provide the object-level editing capability. It does retain the full capability for working with layout files, including format translation, windowing, clipping, flattening, layer filtering and aliasing, cell name modification, cell hierarchy extraction, and more. See the Xiv description for more information. This reduced feature set was origanny imposed by licensing, but presently can be selected if the user wishes. Perhaps in some environments this would be useful.


(More info here.)
WRspice is an all-new SPICE-compatible simulator, written in C++. It is compatible with with the industry-standard SPICE syntax and many extensions used in other commercial SPICE simulators, including HSPICE. It offers a fully-featured plotting capability, extensive vector manipulation and post-processing functions, artificial-intelligence based automatic units tracking of vectors, and more.

WRspice works seamlessly with the Xic graphical front-end for point-and-click schematic layout and simulation control, though WRspice is highly effective as a stand-alone tool. The built-in device library provides a fairly extensive collection of semiconductor devices, including the latest BSIM and BSIMSOI models from Berkeley.

In addition to the built-in device models, support is provided for loadable device models. A compiler that will produce loadable modules from Verilog-A source is provided. A collection of open-source Verilog-A models is provided as examples, with pre-built modules available for use.

WRspice includes A powerful graphics post-processor for output representation. A toolbar with multiple graphical input windows provides point and click operation of the many features and modes of the simulator. The simulator is network-aware, and can use parallel processing to speed certain types of analysis, such as operating range and Monte Carlo. A scripting language and interpreter provide programmability for automation. See the WRspice description for more information.

Obtaining the Software

The entire XicTools program suite is available free of charge for download and use. This is an open-source project.

Click HERE for downloading and installation information.

Contact Whiteley Research for more information, and for

  • Custom Tool and Feature Development
  • Device Model Development

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