Feb 20, 2018

SEMCAD X Matterhorn Release V17.0

The highlight of this SEMCAD X V17.0 release for our power users is Optimizer V1, which includes a new generation of multi-parameter, multi-goal optimization frameworks. It provides an entire tool box ranging from stochastic response surface methods to Evolutionary Algorithms (e.g., Genetic Algorithms), harnessing, e.g., the power of Sandia National Lab's Dakota library in combination with SEMCAD X's high performance computing (HPC) support. Optimizer V1 is open and flexible, and supports the automation of many tasks, including device optimization, virtual prototyping of treatments, and safety evaluations, enabling the user to connect any combination of objectives and constraints (predefined or expression-based) for a given set of design variables with assistance from the intuitive interface.

The second new tool box, our 5G solutions, is dedicated to supporting the development of 5G devices.

In addition, V17.0 includes several improvements and novel features specifically requested by our valuable user base. We are listening to you and as always, your feedback, is greatly welcome!

Multi-Parameter Design Optimization


  • SEMCAD X Matterhorn V17.0 incorporates a novel effective and easy-to use optimization framework, forming a dedicated suite/toolkit for optimization and/or tuning of virtual prototypes. The automated process, empowered by state-of-the-art technologies, thus enables engineers to reach design goals with minimal time and effort.
  • Focusing on fast convergence and robustness, the optimization engine ‒ harnessing among other schemes the powerful DAKOTA package from Sandia National Lab ‒ includes global optimization methods, such as stochastic response surface methods and Evolutionary Algorithms (e.g., Genetic Algorithms), for real-world engineering applications.
  • The guided mode in the new user interface for Optimizer V1 allows for an easy optimization setup with predefined goals. For users with more experience in SEMCAD X who prefer unlimited flexibility, the expert mode is the method of choice as it allows for full customization of the setup through pipelines in the workbench.
  • Multiple objectives and constraints (reflection coefficient, averaged specific absorption rate (SAR), radiation efficiency, etc.) can be provided by the user as predefined goals or mathematical expressions.
  • Optimizer V1 allows modelers to specify a multitude of design variables including geometry, material parameters, lumped elements, simulation settings and post-processing/analysis parameters (which can be expressed as arbitrary mathematical formulae).
  • Customizable plots provide the user with status information (parameters, fitness, convergence, etc.) at any time during the optimization process.
  • SEMCAD X Matterhorn V17.0 combines the superior speed of HPC enabled solvers with our powerful new optimizer/sweeper to perform effective optimization of entire CAD derived devices, embedded within complex environments.

Computational R&D of 5G Transmitters - Optimized & Extended


  • In SEMCAD X Matterhorn V17.0, the 5G Toolbox has been enriched by an easy-to-use beam steering evaluator. Designers of phased-array systems can subsequently conveniently make use of this feature within the Optimizer.
  • Engineers also save valuable time by quickly identifying sub-optimal array designs using the novel MaxGain algorithm, which computes the total scanning pattern of a given antenna array (i.e., the best achievable performance in each spatial direction).
  • Spherical patterns, such as gain or directivity, can now be visualized as flat two-dimensional maps, making it easy to quantitatively determine regions with insufficient coverage.
  • Crucial for compliance assessment of mmWave devices, the Worst-Case Power Density algorithm in V17.0 finds the highest power density reachable by an antenna array whose elements can be excited with arbitrary phases. Quantification of worst-case exposure is required by regulators and very challenging without SEMCAD X V17.0 and its new Optimizer.

Cloud-Based High-Performance Computing Made Easier


  • Cloud computing in V17.0 enables users with extended hardware resource requirements to borrow computational power from third-party providers. So far, we made SEMCAD X available on Nimbix. Additional cloud computing platforms (e.g., Amazon/AWS) will be available soon.
  • To facilitate the use of cloud/remote resources, V17.0 now features integrated upload/download functionality of result files directly from the Nimbix cloud data partition.
  • A dedicated graphical user interface (GUI) provides access to the Nimbix status console and all its functionality for real-time monitoring and controlling of running simulation tasks and costs in the cloud.
  • The Nimbix support includes on-the-fly calculation of optimal platform for a particular simulation hardware requirements and real-time resource availability information. 
  • Solvers currently available in the Nimbix cloud are EM-FDTD/SW/AXE and Thermal for both single and double precision architectures.

Fulfilling User Requests: Ease of Use & Resource Savings (Selected)

  • A new interactive circuit viewer/GUI in V17.0 reduces time for visualization and operation of matching/tuning circuits, provided within a dedicated window.
  • The new version enables the user to selectively save more disk space by keeping or deleting voxels, raw, or processed data. The archived projects can then easily be opened in read-only mode to reduce possible human errors.
  • To widen flexibility and application range, the internal material database in SEMCAD X Matterhorn V17.0 has been extended by various additional material descriptions (e.g., from industrial suppliers).

A more comprehensive list of improvements, fixes, and new features is included in the Release Notes.

To experience the power and elegance of SEMCAD X Matterhorn V17.0, or for further information, please email us at or call +41 44 245 9700.

The relevant SEMCAD X Matterhorn installers for Win7/Win8/8.1/Win10 64-bit platforms can be downloaded here. Existing customers with an up-to-date annual maintenance and support plan, will automatically receive all pertinent information regarding the Software Installer Download and updated licenses.

SPEAG is committed to empowering our customers to reach new heights of productivity and scientific achievement by providing outstanding innovative software solutions, testing equipment, and service.

The SEMCAD X Matterhorn Team


Robust, Effective Device Optimization in Complex Scenarios:
Optimizing the performance (S11, SAR, RadEff) of a conformal printed dual band antenna for a wearable, using the novel Optimizer V1 - also taking advantage of the latest subgridding technology and HPC solutions: 2D plot of the Reflection Coefficient showing extractions of several iterations (optimum highlighted). Far-field patterns are visualized, corresponding to different arm positions. Convergence plots help the user monitoring the status of the optimization study.


Easy Setup of Multi-Parameter Multi-Goal Optimizations With Only a Few Clicks:
Optimizing the performance (S11, SAR, RadEff) of a conformal mobile phone PIFA antenna (dual band): 2D plot of the Reflection Coefficient showing the extraction of several iterations, with the optimum highlighted. Visualization of the far-field pattern (effect of the posed hand, finger position) as well as the SAR computed inside the SAM Head (slice viewer). Convergence plots help the user checking relevant parameters while the optimization study runs.


Powerful 5G Design/Optimization Toolset in SEMCAD X V17.0:
Dual phased-array antenna at 60 GHz, combining two 8-element arrays with quasi-Yagi and patch antennas, respectively. Each array is steerable by phase shifters and is optimized to achieve sufficient coverage of a given spatial region. Performance optimization, beam steering and coverage efficiency are obtained from 5G post-processing tools.


Powerful 5G Design/Optimization Toolset in SEMCAD X V17.0:
Dual phased-array antenna at 60 GHz, combining two 8-element arrays with quasi-Yagi and patch antennas, respectively. Each array is steerable by phase shifters and is optimized to achieve sufficient coverage of a given spatial region. Performance optimization, beam steering and coverage efficiency are obtained from 5G post-processing tools.

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