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Archive for January, 2010

Yet another 2010 EDA Trends write up?

Monday, January 18th, 2010

2009 was a rough year for an already stagnant EDA world. Looking to 2010, Liz Massingill and I asked industry colleagues, opinion makers and friends what each of them saw as the BIG trend for 2010.

Here’s what they said.

Karen Bartleson, Blogger, The Standards Game, Synopsys
http://synopsysoc.org/thestandardsgame/

The big trend in EDA for 2010 will be the acceptance of social media as an additional means for communicating with customers, partners, and competitors.

Now that blogging is settling in as a viable source of information from media people, company experts, and independent publishers, more new media tools will come into play. Not all tools are right for everyone or every situation, so the EDA industry will explore the options and experiment with a variety of community-development activities.

LinkedIn and Facebook will offer special interest groups a place to congregate. Twitter will be tested by more people – who today are curious or skeptical – as a means of immediate, brief interaction. EDA suppliers will offer new communication channels and those that are truly value-add will thrive.

The EDA world won’t change overnight, but the trends in social media will be noticeable.

Graham Bell, Director of Sales and Marketing, EDACafe
http://www10.edacafe.com/blogs/grahambell/

The BIG trend will be that designers need ALL of the technology that EDA companies have been working on and introduced in the last 18 months.

There is a lot of design work being done at 45nm and all the established tools are running at the edge of their capabilities.

New generations of parasitic extraction, static and statistical timing analysis, and automated property verification are just some of the important technologies that will be needed by design teams.

Mike Gianfagna, Vice President, Marketing, Atrenta, Inc.
http://www.atrenta.com

In 2010, we’ll see an accelerated move to doing more design at higher levels of abstraction.

Chip complexity and the skyrocketing cost of physical design, along with the advent of 3D stacks is forcing this. Designers just won’t be able to iterate in the back end in 2010 and beyond. It’ll take too long and cost too much.

Power management, design verification, design for test and timing closure will all be “close to done” before handoff to synthesis and place & route. The traditional backend flow of IC design will become a more predictable, routine process, which will accelerate its trend toward commoditization and consolidation.

This move to higher levels of abstraction will also have implications for IP selection and chip assembly. This will compel a new genre of tools to emerge. Standards like IP-XACT will help this process to take hold. Perhaps this is what ESL will become.

Richard Goering, longtime EDA editor and currently manager of the Cadence Industry Insights blog
http://www.cadence.com/Community/blogs/ii

I think the Big EDA Trend for 2010 will be SoC integration.

There will be a renewed focus on the challenges of integrating existing IP, providing breakthrough technology for design teams to quickly and reliably
assemble complex SoCs from integration-ready IP blocks, and then run
full-chip verification including both analog and digital components.

ESL is part of this story because there’s a need to move to
transaction-level IP creation, verification and integration. Hardware/ software integration and verification and will also become part of
the drive towards SoC integration.

Harry Gries, the ASIC Guy, EDA blogger
http://theasicguy.com/

As for the EDA trend in 2010, I think that EDA companies, when they recover, will choose not to hire more sales and marketing people but will invest more in other marketing tools on the Web or using social networking strategies.

A good example is a company like Xuropa, which is actually a client of mine, under full disclosure. They help EDA companies put their tools on the Web in order to help them reduce their costs for demos, product evaluations, etc.

I think that will see a lot of interest in the upcoming year as companies look for ways to do “more with less”. User group events may also move online, just like this year’s CDNLive was a virtual event rather than a real live event. Xilinx and Avnet sponsored an X-Fest this year that was also an online event. Things are moving online fast and economics will drive that.

Grant Martin, EDA blogger
http://www.chipdesignmag.com/martins/

In 2010, we’ll see the steady progress towards usable ESL tool and methodology adoption by design groups.

The areas of greatest real ESL use are the high level synthesis of data crunching blocks used in various DSP-type applications (signal and media processing), the increasing adoption of processor/SW-centric design methods, and the increased creation and use of virtual prototype models.

(Brian Bailey and I have a new book from Springer coming out in the new year on practical ESL use methods: “ESL Models and their Application: Electronic System Level Design and Verification in Practice”. See for a summary. )

Dan Nenni, EDA blogger
http://danielnenni.com/

For EDA, 2010 will be the year of the foundry. Foundries will drive new EDA flows and business models.

The TSMC Open Initiative Platform
is but the tip of the iceberg. If EDA and IP companies do NOT join forces with the foundries and take arms against the sea of semiconductor troubles – they will continue to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous economic misfortune.

Coby Zelnik, CEO, Sagantec North America, Inc.
http://www.sagantec.com

In 2010, we will see more designs taping out in 40nm.

In an effort to minimize risk, cost and time to market, design reuse will be
maximized; many of them will be migrations of existing 90nm and 65nm products or derivative products with minor updates and tweaks.

– end –

Harry’s Job as a blogger: Harry the ASIC Guy talks about his EDA role

Monday, January 11th, 2010

(Liz Massingill concludes her conversation with Harry “the ASIC Guy” Gries)

hgries1

lizonedsblog

Liz: What do you feel that your job is as a blogger?

Harry: By “job”, do you mean “responsibility”?

Liz: Responsibility or purpose.

Harry: I wanted to make a distinction there because a lot of people view bloggers like the next generation of journalists. That’s not me. I don’t feel I have a responsibility to cover any one issue or to be non-biased.

Liz: Well, no, you aren’t a reporter, but I would call you a commentator or columnist. Would you agree?

Harry: I suppose, if a journalist is supposed to be totally objective and a commentator is allowed to have an opinion, then I’m more of a commentator. There’s been a lot written lately about bloggers vs. journalists and I’d rather stay out of all that argument. We’re different, period.

Liz: So what is your responsibility or purpose or duty?

Harry: I write the blog because I want to write and it gives me a unique connection to my audience. I can have this conversation, debate, commiserate, etc that I could not do otherwise.

Liz: I get that.

Harry: Ron Wilson had an interesting insight at DAC.

Liz: What was Ron’s insight?

Harry: He said that in the past, conferences were the way that engineers socialized and networked. Also, when EE Times or EDN came out, they’d stand around the coffee machine and talk about it. Now, this kind of interaction is happening online. As a blogger, I’m kind of like the instigator for those conversations. In fact, some of my best blogs were where I put out some idea, and the most interesting insights came from the comments.

Liz: Kudos to you that you were able to elicit so many comments. That isn’t too far off from what we have tried to do with our blogfests and what we were trying to do with Jim Hogan’s presentation at ICCAD. We were trying to initiate a discussion. And this brings me to…..What do you want or not want from PR folks?

Harry: I’ll tell you about someone in PR who I think does a good job working with bloggers.

Liz: I’m all ears…

Harry: First off, she follows my blog and follows me on Twitter, so she has an idea of what I write about and what I am interested in.

Second, if there is some news or item she thinks I’d be interested in, she will email me or tweet me, but not a SPAM press release. She’ll say something like “I know you are interested in XYZ. We have an upcoming announcement regarding that, would you be interested in learning more.”

Last, if I am interested, she’ll help me to know more about it, either through material or talking to someone at the company.

Liz: That makes sense. I think it’s pretty clear that bloggers do not want press releases.

Harry: It’s not that I don’t want press releases; it’s that they are 90% out of my area of interest. Hold on, lemme just take a quick look at my Inbox:….Ok, so the last 10 items I got either from PR people or thru EDA company mailing lists, are not my area of interest. That’s why SPAMming press releases doesn’t work.

Liz: So what are your favorite topics in EDA?

Harry: I look for something that will be disruptive because that interests me the most and generates the most interest. When the OVM/VMM battle was going on, that was a hot topic. When Oasys Design Systems claimed to have a Synopsys-killer synthesis tool, then that was interesting.

Harry: Dog is barking at the UPS guy 🙂

Liz: I’m familiar with that scenario….esp. lately. 😉 So let’s talk about something controversial….

Harry: uh oh

Liz: Jim Hogan insinuated during his ICCAD presentation that EDA is complacent. In your opinion, how complacent is EDA?

Harry: I probably would not choose that word to describe EDA. I’d probably pick the word ‘angst” to describe EDA. In the last year we had a DVCon panel called “EDA: Dead or Alive”, we’ve had several companies go under or get bought, and we’ve had a lot of talk about new business models and where EDA provides value. I think EDA is struggling, like it always has, to find out where it fits in the design chain and the supply chain. So there is a lot of angst in that way.

Liz: What do you think the trend will be for the next 10 years?

Harry: 10 years is a long time, especially the way that technology is accelerating. I think that over such a long time, you need to look at the bigger trends going on overall, not just in EDA, and then see how EDA will need to respond. On the economic side, I think the entire IT and software world will change significantly. Cloud computing is a big buzz now but it is for real and companies are going to continually want to rent IT infrastructure rather than own it.

Liz: EDA is driven by the Intels and AMDs of the world.

Harry: Yes, and even Intel and AMD are embracing cloud computing even though they may stand to lose out in the short run. The economics are such that it is more advantageous to build a large data center somewhere that power and cooling are cheap rather than everyone have their own data centers. Companies, like Amazon, rent computing time for 10 cents per CPU hour; and that allows companies to make their IT costs into a running expense rather than a capital expenditure. I think that EDA will need to embrace cloud computing and eventually a Software-as-a-Service model.

I think the technology trend will be that custom ICs will be too expensive to design. In 10 years you’ll have standard off-the-shelf ICs that have hundreds of processors and 10s of millions of gates of reprogrammable logic, like an FPGA on steroids. Most products will be designed with these, so today’s chip design will become tomorrow’s software development.

– end –

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