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Posts Tagged ‘foundries’

Design rules built on quicksand?

Wednesday, May 27th, 2015


Sage CEO Coby Zelnik recently talked with us about how design rules need a formal methodology to account for all the permutations of each rule for today’s and the next generation’s chip designs.

What I found alarming was that he noted how design rules are being built today.   An engineer writes the rule based on…well, based on…um…gut feel?    The point is that the design rule creation process currently has no specification to govern the creation of the design rule.


Predictions 2014: Mike Demler on the ecosystem triad

Monday, February 17th, 2014

Next up in our series of predictions is the astute insight of Mike Demler, Senior Analyst with The Linley Group & MICROPROCESSOR report, and former EDA & Chip Design news analyst.  

“It’s all about the ecosystem triad: EDA + foundry + IP.  Cadence and Synopsys continue to evolve more in the IP direction, and there is really not much to say about the tools that hasn’t been said for a long time —just make it all work together!  Redundant “standards” and artificial barriers to interoperability cost the semiconductor industry by lowering productivity.  This is the problem with the disaggregated model. Back in the days when “real men” had fabs, companies could develop complete design flows without such obstacles.

The triad needs to work together to get over the stall inMoore’s Law at 28nm.  Foundries are incurring delays in getting to 16/14nm FinFETS, and almost nobody is going to use 20nm. The chip industry needs an overall lower-cost solution in order to make sub-28nm processes economically viable.  Forget 3D ICs, those will be niche products for a long time, about as popular as 3D TV.


Predictions 2012 – Barr on Big…Semi, Foundry, EDA

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

In 2012, we’ll see tablets and smartphones changing the world.  That’s another way of saying Apple’s moves will have huge implications in semiconductors, foundries and EDA.

Apple’s use of the Samsung foundry has started an arms race between Samsung, TSMC and Global Foundries.  Samsung is ramping up to meet the capabilities and capacity of TSMC.  Intel is being pushed to stay ahead technologically and to consider new business models. Global Foundries continues to work to ramp its yields.

This situation will be good for semiconductor equipment and EDA vendors as well.  Their tools will facilitate the new processes and the link between design and manufacturing.

Another element: in 2012, we’ll see the supply chain continue to consolidate. Why?  The cost to design a complex SoC requires a big budget and a big market opportunity.  Only the largest of semiconductor companies can tackle these designs.  This increasing cost helps the FPGA vendors.

The foundries face increasing technology and capital requirements to move to new process nodes.  Only a few will make it.

The public markets have been closed to EDA companies for a number of years making acquisition the most likely exit for EDA startups.  Apache chose to be acquired by Ansys in 2011.  It has been difficult for a new, large EDA competitor to emerge.  This bodes well for Big EDA in its negotiations with Big Foundry and Big Semiconductor.  In 2012 I believe there are several EDA companies poised to go public.

Who will be the beneficiary of these changes in 2012?  Apple.  Consumers should also benefit as new, leading edge fab capacity will be used to make exciting new devices.

John Barr
Portfolio Manager
Needham Aggressive Growth Fund
Needham Growth Fund

445 Park Avenue
New York, NY  10022
(212) 705-0462


Dan Nenni on Bloggng in EDA (part 2)

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009

(Liz Massingill concludes her conversation with blogger Dan Nenni.)

Liz: I know that bloggers don’t want press releases. They want to talk about trends.

Dan: Every blogger has an agenda. I blog about experiences, companies, and technologies that I know, positive and negative trends that I see. I do blogs on TSMC and the other foundries all the time. My agenda there is to let people know that if you are part of the semiconductor design enablement supply chain you need to be very close to the foundries. When bloggers are really product specific, like some corporate bloggers are, it just looks like something from a company–a public notice. But if they talk about market trends and put their personality and their experiences into it, then it becomes interesting.

Liz: How long will it take the industry to be more social media savvy?

Dan: I don’t know if it will be in my professional lifetime or not? But if you look at it, we’re raising the Social Media Generation— Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter.

I have 4 kids, and all of them are really into it. They’re prolific texters–they communicate with their thumbs. When those people get jobs and become our target market you’re going to have to market to them, right?

Unfortunately, most people our age aren’t that savvy. I picked it up early because I have kids. I’m involved with them and their social media habits. I have 6 cell phones and I didn’t have texting because my kids were starting to drive. My Verizon bill was thousands of minutes. They begged me for texting so I got the unlimited plan. My calling minutes went from thousands to a few hundred. The thing is that they don’t communicate by phone, that’s just not the way their generation wants to communicate, period. I turned texting off on my phone to eliminate yet another distraction.

My attitude was that if you want to talk to me, call or email me. And they don’t (laughs). So those are the people we are bringing up now, the thumb generation, and this is happening in America, China, Iran, everywhere.

If you don’t GET social media, you are going to be at a significant disadvantage in business and life in general. I think we’re coming close on the business side. Companies should start now or they won’t be competitive. That’s why I’m an evangelist for social media because it’s THE most cost effective demand creation vehicle.

In our business, the average shelf life of a marketing message is like a loaf of bread, things/specs change so quickly. You need to refresh your message in a cost effective manner on a monthly basis; and that is Social Media.

Liz: There’s always press releases (laughs)

Dan: People don’t care. No offense but traditional PR does not work the way it used to.

Liz: What about print media vs. online media? Aren’t there many people who would rather read a hard copy than have to remember to go read something online?

Dan: I don’t read the newspaper anymore because by the time I get it, it’s old news, so I use Google Reader. I’m on my laptop anyway doing email, watching videos, etc… How much time do people spend on their computers? 50% of your day? Some people even eat in front of their computers.

(Liz raises hand sheepishly.)

Dan: So where are you going to get your news? In the newspaper, the only thing I read is the comics, the Jumble, Dear Abby, Safeway ads (I do the shopping). Nothing else, and I hate getting news print ink all over the place. Seriously, smudge proof ink, how hard is that?

Liz: What is it you want or don’t want from PR people?

Dan: I want PR people to embrace social media and make it their own, simple as that. Bloggers are easy to work with. Bloggers want blog views, views are empowering and feed our massive egos. You have no idea what a burden it is to support a massive ego, so anything you can do to help get blog views is greatly appreciated. Invite us to functions, buy us lunch, integrate Social Media into your business model, just don’t send us press releases!

Liz: Jim Hogan threw down this gauntlet in his recent presentation at ICCAD….that EDA is complacent. We’ve talked a bit today about how there doesn’t seem to be much of an interest in EDA but a lot of interest in foundries. How do you think that relates? Do you agree with Jim’s assertion?

Dan: Yes EDA is complacent, I agree with Jim. My audience is definitely interested in the foundries, also semiconductor IP and design services. So why not EDA? One theory is that EDA does not share the risks and rewards of semiconductor design, so EDA is not invested in/with the customer. EDA software is licensed upfront and gets paid whether the customer is successful or not.

Foundries, IP companies, and design services are more success oriented and get paid on volume silicon shipments. Based on that, customers view EDA companies differently, especially when licenses expire and their design has not taped-out yet!

Liz: How do FPGAs figure into the picture?

Dan: FPGAs are a big factor in the decline of EDA, and everybody knows it. I think that is a relevant point if you are talking about the state of EDA. FPGA design starts are going up and ASIC/EDA design starts are going down. FPGA’s are also success based with volume silicon shipments being the big payday for all, sound familiar? ;-)

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

Dan: EDA is going to be interesting the next few years, and I am happy to be a part of it. I would like to send a strong but positive message: Change is coming. If EDA does not embrace this change, it’s going to be a very costly experience. Success based business models are key, working closely with the foundries is key, being an accretive member of the semiconductor design enablement community is the cure for EDA complacency. Believe it.

– end –

S2C: FPGA Base prototyping- Download white paper

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