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 Bridging the Frontier
Bob Smith, Executive Director
Bob Smith, Executive Director
Bob Smith is Executive Director of the Electronic System Design Alliance, formerly the EDA Consortium. He is responsible for the management and operations of the ESD Alliance, an international association of companies providing goods and services throughout the semiconductor design ecosystem. … More »

A Photo Montage of a RISC-V Evening to Remember

 
January 31st, 2017 by Bob Smith, Executive Director

Rainy winter weather didn’t deter anyone from the Open Source and the RISC-V processor panel Wednesday, January 18, hosted by the ESD Alliance at the Cadence facility in San Jose, Calif. Well, almost everyone. Rick O’Connor, executive director of the RISC-V Foundation, didn’t make it because a snowstorm closed the airport in Ottawa, Canada. Instead, he dialed in from there and gave the audience an overview of the RISC-V Foundation and was available to answer questions. Ted Speers, a member of the RISC-V Foundation board and head of Product Architecture and Planning for Microsemi’s SoC Group, amiably stepped in as his replacement.

The moderator was Jim Hogan of Vista Ventures, our long-time partner who works with Steve Pollock of AI-Pac on the regularly scheduled series like this one presented by our Emerging Companies Committee. Yunsup Lee, SiFive’s chief technology officer (CTO) and co-designer the RISC-V ISA and the first RISC-V microprocessors, offered a fascinating look at the open sources processor movement.

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Open Source and RISC-V Discussion January 18

 
December 23rd, 2016 by Bob Smith, Executive Director

riscv-logoPlease plan to join us Wednesday, January 18, for a discussion about Open Source and the RISC-V processor featuring Jim Hogan of Vista Ventures, Rick O’Connor, executive director of the RISC-V Foundation, and Yunsup Lee, SiFive’s chief technology officer (CTO). They will describe the path from inception to the open source RISC-V ecosystem, explore whether an open source architecture is appropriate for IoT processing needs and what that means for startups and innovation.

As you’ll hear them say, the number of IoT designs is growing at an astronomical pace. IoT devices are capable of sensing the real world. They are prevalent at the edge of the internet, communicating with an external host to process that real-world information. While there are advantages in performance and cost in processing the data locally, doing so requires significant processing capability at low-energy utilization. Systems designed with autonomous local intelligence have increased but require a microcontroller that can run software that takes energy. What emerged from the academic community are open source alternatives such as RISC-V from UC Berkeley that’s gained momentum over the last few years.
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Registration Opens for Phil Kaufman Award Dinner, More News from the ESD Alliance

 
December 9th, 2016 by Bob Smith, Executive Director

Registration opened this week for the Phil Kaufman Award Presentation and Dinner to honor Andrzej Strojwas, chief technologist at PDF Solutions and Keithley professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. AndrzejTrophyGraphic

I hope you’ll join us for a celebration that helps us kicks off 2017. The dinner will be held Thursday, January 26, at the Fourth Street Summit Center in San Jose, Calif., where we held the dinner paying tribute to Mentor Graphics’ Wally Rhines in 2015. The evening will begin with a reception and cocktails at 6:30 p.m. The dinner and award presentation will be run from 7:30 p.m. until 9 p.m. We have special entertainment planned that will challenge your senses!

Andrzej is being recognized with the award, presented annually by the ESD Alliance and the IEEE Council on Electronic Design Automation (CEDA), for his pioneering research in the area of design for manufacturing (DFM) in the semiconductor industry.

Reservations are $175 per person for ESD Alliance and IEEE members or $250 per person for non-members. Seating is limited and we can accept R.S.V.P.s until Thursday, January 12. To reserve your seat at the 2016 Phil Kaufman Award Presentation and Dinner, visit our online registration.

Tables of 10 are available if your company be interested in sponsoring the event. Sponsorships will heighten a company’s visibility and brand exposure through positive publicity and promotion, and through signage and the program at the event. By sponsoring the dinner, your company is showing the community that it believes in the vibrancy of our industry and honoring those individuals who created it.

To find out more, visit our sponsorship page or call (408) 287-3322.
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A Busy December with REUSE 2016, Updates to Multi-Die IC Design Guide, New Member Outreach

 
November 22nd, 2016 by Bob Smith, Executive Director

While 2016’s coming to an end, it’s not quite over yet and the month of December will be busy for the ESD Alliance.

Our industry has one brand new event called REUSE 2016 that will take place Thursday, December 1. The ESD Alliance will be there, along with close to 40 other exhibitors.

REUSE 2016 is the first of an annual conference and trade show to bring together the semiconductor IP supply chain and its customers for a full day of everything to do with semiconductor IP. It will be held from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m. at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif. Admission is free.reuse_lg_fb

I’m moderating a conversation during REUSE with Lucio Lanza, managing director of Lanza techVentures, and Dan Rubin, general partner of Alloy Ventures. We’ll talk about the semiconductor IP market and IoT during the discussion titled, “IoT: Poised to offer huge growth opportunities for the global IP Business.”

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First Visit to DVCon Europe Leaves Positive Impression

 
November 2nd, 2016 by Bob Smith, Executive Director

2016DVConEurope_logoI had the pleasure of attending DVCon Europe in Munich, Germany, in mid-October to give the keynote address at the gala dinner. This was my first visit to the conference and I was impressed. As Oliver Bell of Intel and DVCon’s general chair wrote in his welcome greeting in the program, DVCon Europe is a practical, industry application-oriented conference, focusing on design and verification of electronic systems and integrated circuits. I found that to be absolutely true and then some. According to OneSpin’s Vice President of Marketing Dave Kelf, this year’s promotions chair, the conference attendance increased 20%. Kudos to the Steering Committee.
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The ESD Alliance at ARM TechCon; Reminder on Legal Panel November 1

 
October 24th, 2016 by Bob Smith, Executive Director

ARM TechConOctober continues to be a busy month. I’m just back from a whirlwind trip to Munich, Germany, for DVCon Europe where I was the keynote speaker at the Wednesday night dinner. Stay tuned for a full report in my next blog post.

Meanwhile, if you’re going to ARM TechCon this week, please stop by the ESD Alliance Booth (#523) where you can learn about our programs and new initiatives and pick up a copy of our quarterly newsletter. The Expo Hall will be open Wednesday and Thursday from 10:30 a.m. until 6:30 p.m. at the Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, Calif.

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“Legal Steps to Maximize your Exit Value” Panel Slated for November 1

 
October 13th, 2016 by Bob Smith, Executive Director

LegalThe ESD Alliance’s Emerging Companies Committee has a great topic, excellent moderator and an impressive group of panelists for the second in our ongoing series of panels on legal issues affecting small and emerging technology companies.

“Legal Steps to Maximize your Exit Value” will be held Tuesday, November 1, from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. at Cadence’s corporate headquarters in San Jose, Calif. Attendees will learn about key valuation issues and techniques, along with more nuanced positioning strategies to build and lock-in enterprise value on exit transactions.
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Andrzej Strojwas Recipient of the Phil Kaufman Award

 
October 5th, 2016 by Bob Smith, Executive Director

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Many thanks to Peggy Aycinena whose blog post is found above mine for her great profile of this year’s Phil Kaufman Award recipient, Andrzej Strojwas (pronounced Andrey Stroyvas), Keithley professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. If you haven’t read it as yet, I highly recommend it.

Andrzej is being recognized with the award, presented annually by the ESD Alliance and the IEEE Council on Electronic Design Automation (CEDA), for his pioneering research in the area of design for manufacturing (DFM) in the semiconductor industry. The relationship between design and manufacturing has never been more important and Andrzej deserves praise for recognizing early on that DFM needed to be a key element of chip design automation. His work was instrumental in bringing design and manufacturing together in a way that has benefited the semiconductor design and manufacturing communities as well as the broader electronics products markets.

The Phil Kaufman Award Ceremony and Dinner to honor him will be held January 26 at the Fourth Street Summit Center in San Jose, Calif., where we held last year’s dinner paying tribute to Mentor Graphics’ Wally Rhines. Wally was honored for growing the EDA and IC design industries through his efforts as a leading voice of EDA and for pioneering the evolution of IC design to SoC design.

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What Keeps You Awake at Night?

 
September 5th, 2016 by Bob Smith, Executive Director

edvard-munch-1332621_960_720While many things keep me awake at night, concerns about IP tracking and security must keep many chip project managers from getting a restful sleep. That’s what convinced Warren Savage, chair of the ESD Alliance’s Semiconductor IP Working Group and general manager of Silvaco’s IP Division, to organize a panel “Semiconductor IP Issues that Keep You Up at Night.” It will be held Wednesday, September 14, from 6 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. at Silvaco’s offices in Santa Clara, Calif. Light snacks and beverages will be served during the networking hour from 6 p.m. until 7 p.m.

Warren will start the evening with an overview of the IP landscape. A panel will follow with experts Eric Stein from PwC and Rob Ballow of KPMG, who will share their advice on best practices, offer ways to implement them and answer audience questions. Eric and Rob are leading authorities on IP compliance from two of the largest worldwide auditing firms.

According to Warren, the massive amount of IP reuse involved in building an SoC has created a “big data” problem that is poorly managed by industry standards or methodologies. Instead, IP companies face a situation where their IP may be used without the proper license, leading to millions of dollars of lost revenue. Semiconductor companies face different issues but equally troubling as their engineers may inadvertently expose them to potentially huge liabilities as a result of “accidentally” reusing a core without the proper license.  Warren, Eric and Rob will outline commonly used practices used today and discuss new technologies that may help both buyers and sellers rest easier.

This event is open to all ESD Alliance member companies free of charge. Non-ESD Alliance members are welcome to attend at a cost of $40, payable online or at the door. For more information, click here. To register, click register.

As an expert in IP design and reuse, Warren worked with the Alliance to form the Semiconductor IP Working Group, our newest initiative. The group is working on a common methodologies and best practices for fingerprinting, and an end-to-end solution for tracking and auditing soft and hard IP that benefits both IP developers and vendors as well as IP users.

As I mentioned in several earlier blog posts, please contact me if your company is considering joining the ESD Alliance. Member companies will be eligible to receive information from or participate in the SIP Working Group’s efforts. Additionally, employees of member companies can participate in the SIP Working Group or some of the other initiatives offered by the Alliance. I’m always available to answer any questions about the Alliance and why your company should join. Please contact me at bob@esd-alliance.org.

Join us September 14 and have a better night’s sleep! We look forward to seeing you. For more information about the ESD Alliance, visit: www.esd-alliance.org.

System Scaling is an Industry Movement

 
August 1st, 2016 by Bob Smith, Executive Director

System Scaling Blog PostAnyone in our industry who doesn’t believe system scaling is an industry movement need look no further than the IoT market of high-volume and low-cost devices. While these devices have exacting densities, performance and power requirements, advanced process technologies are a bit too risky and costly for IoT developers. IoT also requires heterogeneous functions such as digital, analog, mixed-signal, sensors and MEMS, a challenging proposition to mix all of these capabilities on a single die/process.

And, system scaling –– or multi-die IC –– is a viable integration alternative to traditional transistor scaling of newer process technologies. It integrates complex systems at the functional/building block level, not the transistor level. It doesn’t replace the need for the SoC. Instead, the SoC remains a key functional component of the system or, in die-form, a key building block of a multi-die IC.  System scaling relies on different advanced packaging technologies used to integrate and package multiple heterogeneous die.
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