Engineering Applications

The ECE department provides several engineering applications that are available for academic research and coursework only. Use of these applications requires an active ECE Linux Account and remote access to an ECE Linux machine.

Available Linux Applications

  • Advance Design System (ADS)
  • Mentor
  • Cadence
  • Comsol
  • Synopsys
  • Matlab
  • Xilinx

Are you new to Linux? Check out our Unix/Linux tutorial to get started.

Running Applications

Most are run from a GUI. That means that from a linux or a Mac machine you'll need to connect with SSH -X login@machine_name because X forwarding is off by default. If you are using a Windows machine you are going to need something that provides SSH and X. See our page

All of the engineering applications are initialized using the module command.

For example, to run a software package called foo, type the following command in the shell:

module load foo
module avail will list all the modules that are available

Please refer to the documentation below for any specific instructions for the various software packages. But your main source of information is your TA as all of these tools have specialized uses. 

Advanced Design System (ADS)

To run ADS, log on to a Linux machine, then excute the commands:

module load ads 


Both Cadence 2004 and Cadence 2007 are available for use; currently, the default is 2007. We strongly recommend using the latest version since the 2004 version is primarily available to allow students and faculty to work with fabs that still use 2004 based PKDs.  All new projects not intended to go to fab should use the 2007 or later version. Various tools are also available in newer releases, as they have been requested by TAs and faculty.

To run the latest version of Cadence, use the following commands

module load cadence
virtuoso &


Comsol licensing for the ECE Department is limited to class work and is only available on the Linux servers listed  In order to comply with this requirement, students who use Comsol will need the professor teaching the class to send us the name of the class and the EIDs of the students enrolled.  Students will be individually enabled for one semester.

Used primarily with Matlab. The 4.2 version has had X issues.

module load comsol/comsol42
comsol -ckl -3drend sw

For Windows there is also the Direct X option

comsol -ckl 3drend dx9


Just as an example:

module load mentor/calibre
calibre -gui &


Again there are several versions of tools available for compatibility reasons. Synopsys typically disallows licensing for tools more than a couple of years old.
Please stay up to date. Again there are many tools. The most basic is:

module load syn/syn
design_vision &


Starting in 2014 Matlab quit supporting 32bit software. Two older versions of Matlab are available on the older CAD machines. The newer 64bit CAD machines are running the newer
versions of Matlab.

module load matlab
matlab &


module load xilinx