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 Dispatches from Boston
Nanette Collins
Nanette Collins
Boston-based Nanette Collins is the 2013 recipient of the Marie R. Pistilli Women in EDA Achievement Award, presented annually to an individual who has helped advance women in the EDA industry. She started Nanette V. Collins Marketing and Public Relations in 1994 after working as director of … More »

OneSpin Reaches for the Cloud

June 1st, 2013 by Nanette Collins

As the 50th Design Automation Conference opens, attendees rushing through the doors early Monday may have their heads in a Cloud. Cloud computing that is, and heading straight toward Booth #846.

That’s because OneSpin Solutions in Booth #846 figured out the gnarly security problem that’s prevented more widespread adoption of the Cloud in EDA and the semiconductor industry. The need for proprietary design code to leave the office has been eliminated.

Briefly, OneSpin’s technology analyzes the design code locally and only transmits an encrypted mathematical abstraction of the verification problem with all the descriptive details stripped away. After processing, results are returned to the local machine and the descriptive details are reapplied. No data is retained in the Cloud. Functionality is provided by OneSpin’s formal verification tools, 360 DV-Inspect and 360 DV-Verify, and is meant to be simple to use and easy to adopt in a flow.

Let’s not focus too heavily on the OneSpin Cloud Strategy, though it’s an important breakthrough. Instead, I invite you to stop by its DAC Booth #846 to see for yourself and, if you’re interested, sign up to become a Beta user. Approved project teams will be able to access cloud servers at no charge, less a minimal charge to OneSpin Cloud System host Amazon Web Services (AWS) Marketplace, until August 30.

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Breker Celebrates 10-Year Anniversary at 50th DAC

May 31st, 2013 by Nanette Collins

It’s fitting that Breker Verification Systems will celebrate its 10th anniversary during the 50th Design Automation Conference (DAC) in Austin, Texas. That’s because 10 years ago Breker was founded in Austin. And, while the corporate headquarters moved to Silicon Valley two years ago, its roots are firmly planted in Austin. Rick Nordin, vice president of business development, remains in the cultural epicenter of Texas taking care of business there. After all, Austin chip development teams have loads of verification issues.

Breker’s new corporate headquarters now sits firmly in the epicenter of Silicon Valley, San Jose, Calif., also a hot spot for verification and perfect for the kind of EDA software Breker produces –– SoC verification. That is, software to rigorously test the entire chip design, not just its individual pieces stitched together. In fact, Breker is defining and building SoC verification as a new verification category.

While some skeptics may question the necessity of this extra verification step, companies such as NVIDIA wouldn’t consider a verification strategy without it. After all, a stitch and ship strategy will sink a chip. We’ll get to more of that later in our profile.

Co-founders Adnan Hamid and Maheen Hamid are a husband and wife team. Adnan is chief executive officer, visionary and chief technologist, while Maheen is chief financial officer, who is serving as chief operating officer as well.

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Uniquify, Uniquely Silicon Valley

May 28th, 2013 by Nanette Collins

Last summer, Russ Henke, EDACafe’s then contributor, called Uniquify a uniquely Silicon Valley company in a profile called, “A Visit to Uniquify,” (found here: Having had a chance to work with the Uniquify team and get to know many of them, I can attest to the uniqueness that you’ll only find in Silicon Valley.

Since the original EDACafe profile, Uniquify relocated its corporate headquarters from a cramped space in Santa Clara, Calif., to a handsome and large building in San Jose, close to Highway 880, tripling the office space.

The office may have moved, but the goal to create chips easier and faster with better results remains. A comprehensive design services platform called ideas2silicon introduced last year offers project teams faster turnaround, lower costs and a transparent business model to provide rapid assembly of IP blocks into a base system. Uniquify’s successfully completed various design services, manufacturing services and IP projects through ideas2silicon that range from leading-edge designs at 28nm, but also 40, 65 and 90nm. Satisfied customers include Tehuti Networks, Ikanos, LG and Pixelworks. Many of the projects had low power as a goal, and end products are everything from networking, consumer electronics, image and media processing to digital TV.

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Patience and Fortitude Pay Off for Forte

May 23rd, 2013 by Nanette Collins

When EDACafe last looked in on Forte Design Systems in September 2012, writer Russ Henke learned from its founder and technical visionary John Sanguinetti, “Patience and fortitude really do characterize Forte. We’ve kept at it and appreciate our success.”

So it does. As the industry heads into DAC, the news from Forte, exhibiting in Booth #1547 June 3-5, is great. Really great, in fact.

First, Gary Smith EDA conferred the ranking of #1 provider of electronic system-level (ESL) synthesis software at the end of last year. No small feat and no matter that Forte prefers to call its software category high-level synthesis (HLS), it bested a market segment that included three other vendors. This is a huge win and a validation of everything the company’s done since it launched itself at Forte in 2001. (EDACafe readers will remember that Forte is the merger of CynApps and Chronology.)

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Meet the Company that’s ProPlus Design Solutions

May 17th, 2013 by Nanette Collins

How is it that an EDA tool is old enough to celebrate its 20 birthday and still be popular and well used? The tool is advanced device modeling software and part of the unusual story of ProPlus Design Solutions.

ProPlus is a company with deep roots that go back to its founding as BTA Technology in 1993, a merger with Ultima in 2001 to what became Celestry and an acquisition by Cadence in 2003.

Come along with me as we take a circuitous journey to the company with loads of talent and loads of accomplishments that became ProPlus.

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Carbon, an Essential Element of the Design Flow

May 9th, 2013 by Nanette Collins

Carbon Design Systems was founded in 2002 and will be at this year’s DAC exhibitor in the ARM Booth (#921). The story picks up from here with Bill Neifert, Carbon’s co-founder who serves as chief technology officer and vice president of business development, and CEO Rick Lucier, who’s been at Carbon since 2006.

Carbon, Bill and Rick explain, recorded the sixth consecutive year of growth at the close of 2012. They attribute this to 14 new customers, all of whom recognize the need for fast virtual prototypes with a path to 100%, the solution Carbon is known for.

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Entrepreneurship is Alive and Well in Our Industry

May 3rd, 2013 by Nanette Collins

The design and EDA communities have been preping since last June for DAC’s 50th anniversary to be celebrated in one notable high-tech city, Austin. The program’s been posted, keynotes announced and everything’s coming together nicely. The exhibit floor will be filled once again with a mix of new companies, long timers and emerging companies.

Over the next several weeks this blog will be dedicated to a few of this year’s DAC exhibitors, all of whom are emerging companies reporting growth, new customers and products and momentum. We’ll start with an impressive story about Verific Design Automation, a company that hails from a small town across the Bay from San Francisco called Alameda.

(Editor’s Note: Nanette Collins manages Verific’s Public Relations activities.)

Verific: Head and Shoulders above the Rest

DAC attendees who wander the exhibit floor must have passed by the Verific booth –– this year, in Booth #2141 –– a time or two and noticed that a giraffe serves as its mascot. You may have walked away with one of its plush giraffe giveaways, or entered your name into a drawing to win the large, stuffed giraffe on display. Attendees who look more closely will see a tagline that reads, “Head and Shoulders above the Rest.”

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