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 Bridging the Frontier
Bob Smith, Executive Director
Bob Smith, Executive Director
Bob Smith is Executive Director of the ESD Alliance responsible for its management and operations. Previously, Bob was senior vice president of Marketing and Business Development at Uniquify, responsible for brand development, positioning, strategy and business development activities. Bob began his … More »

Gazing into 2016

December 15th, 2015 by Bob Smith, Executive Director

EDAC_EDAC Connected Logo_December 2015A year ago, I would have needed more than a crystal ball to predict that I would soon be joining the EDA Consortium as Executive Director. In the past eight months, I have gained a new appreciation for the EDA industry and the larger electronic design ecosystem that it is a key part of. In turn, electronic design itself is a vital component of the overall worldwide semiconductor ecosystem. “Where Electronics Begins” is an apt description of the role that EDA and the other entities in the electronic design ecosystem play in the semiconductor universe.

We took an informal survey during the Design Automation Conference in June to gauge EDAC’s perception with its members and asked which of our initiatives are most beneficial. Interoperability scored highly, as did our marketing initiatives –– communications, emerging companies and tradeshows. In fact, events hosted by the Emerging Companies Committee (ECC) received high scores for offering great value. The Market Statistics Service (MSS) had a respectable showing as well. Expert control and license management and anti-piracy did not, which tells me we need to do better at explaining how valuable these two initiatives are to our community.

EDA has evolved in many ways since the late ‘80s and EDAC along with it. The Semiconductor industry continues to be reliant upon EDA to get its chips to market on time and within budget. And while EDA has remained a constant, the Semiconductor design ecosystem has grown larger and moved in many different directions.

Semiconductor IP (SIP) is a great example. While the overall EDA market is growing at about 6% per year, SIP is growing at approximately 17% per year. Reinforcing the surge in SIP is an answer to our survey question, “Which of the following areas are of interest or important to your work?” The overwhelming majority of respondents noted Semiconductor IP. The next closest responsive was IP or device security, followed by embedded design, also a component of the new design ecosystem. Another area mentioned was advanced system packaging techniques, such as 3D-ICs and system-on-wafer. And, the respondents weren’t finished. They offered close to 50 new or existing issues that EDAC might want to tackle that included everything from big data and IoT to configurable products to reliability. Training and education was mentioned as well.

Clearly, EDAC is at a crossroads. No one will need a crystal ball to see where EDAC is headed in 2016 as it embraces the realities of today’s Semiconductor design ecosystem. With the fundamental changes and evolution in the market, expect some changes from EDAC. Our goal is to expand its scope and mission to reflect these changes.

Already, EDAC is expanding aggressively into the SIP space and has started an initiative to address the embedded software market. We’re embracing 3D-IC technologies also and will work to bring together ecosystem players so new tools and flows will be there to enable the new era of system-scaling. For anyone in the design ecosystem, this means new opportunities to grow as new tools are developed and released to the market. Semiconductor manufacturers benefit by having a strong design ecosystem that will ensure a steady supply of new designs being released to manufacturing and EDAC plans to be there.

It’s an exciting time for the consortium “Where Electronics Begins.” I’m delighted to be part of it and hope you’ll join us. For more on EDAC and how to become a member, visit Or, contact me directly at

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