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Posts Tagged ‘Electronic Design Automation’

What’s the BIG theme for DAC50?

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

DAC is upon us….and in Austin, of all places – the island in the middle of Texas.

As it’s getting closer, we were wondering what the BIG theme is for the 50th DAC.  So, we asked a few of our friends and colleagues in the industry.  Here’s what a few of them had to say.


I expect DAC to continue to explore low power challenges, with much talk about solving FinFET issues at 14 and 10 nm. Then there is the ever expanding SoC and how to handle all of the challenges that come with greater integration and IP reuse. Finally, what’s DAC without a discussion of Moore’s Law and whether it will/won’t continue to define industry progress in the years to come?

~ Joe Desposito, Editor-in-Chief, Electronic Design



More new gen thoughts on the passing of print

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

Today we will hear from McKenzie Mortensen, of IPextreme, on print vs. digital.

McKenzie Mortensen

McKenzie Mortensen

I’m far more on the fence about this topic than I ever thought I would be. In all honesty, I’m not completely sure where I stand. I’ll try to replicate my thought process below:

Pro Print

  • I’m a literature nerd in a very big way—BA English (Writing, Rhetoric, and Culture), MA Children’s Literature, life-long bookworm. I love books—the look, the feel, the smell, the different typefaces, the weight of a volume as I’m reading… it’s a sensory experience as much as it is an intellectual one. I have actually begun collecting antique hardcovers and rare picture books over the past couple of years. From hand bound antiques to glossy coffee table volumes, books are a form of art. 
  • I suffer from a mild obsession with stationery and paper products in general, plus I am an avid paper-crafter. I love to scrapbook and make collages, and magazines often come in very handy for harvesting images. I love cutting up magazines and turning them into something new. I’ve done some really neat things with old book pages also (only from damaged volumes, of course—I could never kill a book without it being a humane death). 
  • There are certain circumstances when I would not feel comfortable having a tablet with me. For example, when I’m going to the beach or hanging out by the pool, the last thing I want to take with me is my iPad. A cheap paperback or a magazine seems a better choice in a wet, sandy environment where damage is likely. 
  • I have a lot of bookworm friends, and one of our favorite things to do is trade books. Until it’s possible to lend a book to a friend digitally, I will need print copies of my favorites so that I can share them with people I know will appreciate them. 
  • Books come from bookstores and libraries, and if I could live in either one, I totally would. The atmosphere is simultaneously calming and invigorating to me, a heady blend of paper, ink, and curiosity. 

 Pro Digital

  • I thought I would always be firmly a print girl, but I run into problems when I travel; as a fairly quick reader, I usually need to take more than one book with me on a trip in order to ensure that I’ll have sufficient reading material. As you can imagine, my carryon bags have been rather weighty at times. I started using my iPad only for travel to avoid the 50-pound hand luggage problem. 
  • The illuminated screen is great for reading under any light conditions without disturbing those around me (on a dark airplane, for instance).
  • I can download another book whenever I want to (well, provided I have Wi-Fi access). Simple!
  • I love that I can highlight passages and make notes easily as I read. You can take the girl out of literary academia, but you can’t take literary academia out of the girl, I guess! I developed a “study as you read” method during my education that I still apply to leisure reading. Such a nerd! Another bonus in this area is that I can easily explore allusions made in the text. I can look up dates and brush up on historical events, for example, as necessary. I can do all of these things when reading a print volume, but it’s not very practical when I’m on the go. 
  • Reading magazines digitally affords me the huge benefit of “clickability.” If an article mentions a restaurant I’d like to try, I can instantly view their website and check out the menu. I can order products or seek more information without having to dog-ear a page and remember to look things up later. 
  • I can bookmark things and save images with ease, and in a very compact amount of space. Like many crafty people, I suffer from a Pinterest addiction.


New blood making its mark on EDA

Monday, April 15th, 2013

McKenzie Mortensen


Hannah Watanabe

For more than several years now, Peggy Aycinena has noted the dearth of new blood entering the EDA and IP industry ranks. Those of us who started in the industry in the 1980s still seem to dominate the corporate, engineering and marketing ranks. One area where we do see an infusion of new generation folks is in the marketing communications area. So Liz Massingill and I asked three of the new generation people to allow us to put them on the spot and talk a little about what new and old generation EDA and IP people bring to the party. With us are: McKenzie Mortensen of IPextreme, Darcy Pierce of Synopsys and Hannah Watanabe of Synopsys.

Ed: McKenzie, Darcy, Hannah, thanks for taking the time to speak with us today. So let’s kick off with a question about you. What does the new generation bring to EDA and IP that the old generation doesn’t?

McKenzie: We love to shake things up.

Darcy: One of the more obvious attributes that I think our generation brings to the table is a fresh perspective, especially in the “older” industry of EDA where everyone seems to have 20+ years of experience.

Hannah: I think we bring a fresh perspective on how technology is being used today, especially by those who are just entering the work force, the Generation Y people.


Granularity and complexity in low power verification

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013



Cary Chin, Director of Technical Marketing at Synopsys, has an intriguing take on how to approach verification now that the mandate for design project managers is to meet the low power requirement of the target end-product.   Chin says that if we look at verification in terms of fine and broad “granularity,” users will meet their verification goals with a lot less angst and anguish.    However, at first glance,  I had no idea what Chin was talking about…which is why we asked him to join us and talk about this idea.


Ed: Cary,  you’ve been recently talking about granularity in verification, especially in terms of low power.  What does this all mean?  

Cary:  When I think of granularity in low power design, I’m thinking about the size of the “chunks” that we manipulate to improve the energy efficiency (or “low power performance”) of a design.  For example, in most of today’s low power methodologies, large functional blocks are the boundaries we work within – we can shut down these blocks or manipulate the voltage to save energy when peak performance isn’t required.  This boundary level isn’t just a matter of convenience; our tools and methodologies for both implementation and verification can only deal with certain levels of complexity, so we are confined in many dimensions in how we can pursue finer granularity.


what’s YOUR story?!?!

Monday, March 4th, 2013

In a casual conversational exchange I overheard last week at DVCon (which reminded me of what Steve Jobs said to John Scully –  “Do you want to sell sugared water for the rest of your life or do you want to…change the world?” –  someone asked if the other’s company wanted to dink out press releases forever or if the company wanted to tell a story that mattered to its audiences.

This conversation got me thinking……There’s nothing wrong with sending out press releases but companies get optimal effect and value when they issue press releases for more than mere information distribution.

What would that be? To reinforce, substantiate or bolster the company’s story. Sending out press releases (or saying, writing or doing any outbound efforts) ought to convey at least one of the company’s message points.


Predictions 2013 – A Shocker?

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013


Our final prediction for 2013 comes from Mike Gianfagna, VP of Corporate Marketing at Atrenta, and prognosticator extraordinaire:

“By the end of 2013, the names of the Big 3 EDA companies will not be the same as they are today.”



Predictions 2013 – Ravi Ravikumar on Timing and Power

Monday, February 11th, 2013




Today’s prediction comes from Ravi Ravikumar, Vice President of Marketing at ICScape Inc. Ravi, who has over 18 years of experience in marketing, business development & project/program management in the EDA and semiconductor industries, gives his two cents on timing and power closure for 2013…..


“If you think timing and power closure were difficult issues at 40 and 28nm, they are going to get worse at 20nm. The traditional means of addressing timing/power closure as a post-implementation step using custom scripts that call on sign-off STA and physical implementation tools to achieve closure is taking too many iterations at 28nm.

As geometries reduce below 28nm, timing/power are more difficult to close due to design-related complex physical requirements, process and manufacturability issues like double/triple patterning and VT cell spacing rules create more R/C effects, impacting timing and power. Power issues in-turn lead to temperature and reliability problems. Design closure becomes a multi-dimensional task.


Predictions 2013 – Olivier Coudert on the cloud and a new model for hardware startups

Monday, February 4th, 2013


Our next prediction comes from respected blogger, consultant and software architect, algorithm, EDA and cloud computing expert, Olivier Coudert.


Olivier Coudert

In 2013, one major semiconductor company will use the services of a third party to offload its computing resource requirements (for synthesis, simulation, signoff, shared project, or anything they deem important) to the cloud. This third party will work with EDA vendors and cloud providers to build virtual design centers, where customers are given the means to develop, test, and sign off their product. And when I say “cloud” I mean major players in the cloud computing market.

Some semiconductor companies have been feeling the pain of capital investment in datacenters they only need at peak hours. So those companies are getting smart and will work with third party companies to access virtual design centers, build on demand, and pay as-they-go.

Soon any startup will have access to the computing resources and the EDA software they need to focus on innovation without breaking the bank. A new model for hardware startups, which the VCs will love. You will no longer need $10M to fund a hardware company, just a few $100Ks.


Predictions 2013 – Karen Bartleson on Social Media

Monday, January 28th, 2013

The next entry in our prediction series comes from Karen Bartleson, esteemed blogger, standards proponent, social media guru and Sr. Director of Community Marketing at Synopsys:


Karen Bartleson



2013 will be the year when people stop saying “engineers don’t use social media.”  The data will show that indeed, they do use social media for both personal and work purposes. Not all engineers use it and some never will, but the way people live and work has changed. Engineers who are savvy about the modern ways that people communicate are seeing the benefits of incorporating social media into their regular activities.




Predictions 2013

Monday, January 14th, 2013


The world did not come to an end in 2012, so we can now breathe a sigh of relief and prognosticate about 2013. Or can we? Well, we can but what sort of world will it be for the EDA and IP industries in 2013? Should we even go there?

We think so. So we asked industry friends, associates, clients and media folks to ponder what industry-shattering events or breakthroughs we might see in EDA & IP this coming year.

We’ll be posting predictions from these industry visionaries over the next couple of weeks. We hope that you will find them as enlightening and entertaining as we did.

We’ll begin with some eye-opening predictions by blogger, author and industry expert, Paul McLellan.

2013 is all about lithography, EUV, the end of Moore’s law, 3D as a savior etc. Specifically:

• There will be a lot of discussion about the costs of 20nm since it is so much more than 28nm. It will be a very slow transition with some people going straight to 14/16nm (which is really 20nm with smaller transistors which is really 26nm with smaller transistors). Expect lots of discussion about the end of Moore’s law.

• EUV lithography will not become commercial during 2013 and so will miss the 10nm node.

• TSV-based 3D ICs will start to become mainstream. Memory on logic, and mixed digital/analog on interposer. Expect lots of discussion about “more than Moore” and how 3D is the new way for scaling.

• The death of a giant will finally take place. Nokia, still #1 only a year ago, will be dismembered. A consortium of Apple, Google and Samsung will buy the patents for billions. Huawei will buy the handset and base-station businesses for peanuts.

• Synopsys will acquire Mentor. EDA will otherwise be fairly boring with the big three being the only companies able to attack the upcoming problems that require dozens of tools to be updated, not just a new point tool inserted in the flow.

• If the IPO markets are open, Jasper, eSilicon, Atrenta and Tensilica will go public. If someone doesn’t buy them first.


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