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 The Dominion of Design
Graham Bell
Graham Bell
Graham is Sr. Director of Marketing at Real Intent. He has over 20 years experience in the design automation industry. Occasionally he writes blogs for the Dominion of Design. The views and opinions expressed in this blog are his alone and not those of his employer.

A New Startup is Launched — Cybereda

December 18th, 2009 by Graham Bell

A new startup was launched this week that offers a new SPICE simulator that takes advantage of multi-CPU computers to speed analysis of transistor circuits.    Cybereda is the name of the company and was founded by CK Lee, an EDA veteran who has many years experience with analog simulation at companies such as Nassda, Synopsys and EPIC.

The speedup claimed by this new SPICE offering is 10x over popular commercial simulators.  I think they maybe comparing their runtimes to HSPICE.   While faster SPICE simulations are always appreciated, Cybereda also claims that commercial SPICE offerings can easily product incorrect results even with simple circuits.  I took a look at their web-site and they show an example of a MOS device driving a capacitive load.   The commercial SPICE simulator gave the wrong answer.  See

My take-away from this is that you always need to check what your SPICE simulator is doing and understand what the impact step-size and tolerance settings have on the results.

Have you been fooled by a SPICE simulation?   Let me know what happened to you.

Happy Holidays to Everyone!


PCB West Sights and Sound Bites

September 24th, 2009 by Graham Bell

I was at PCB West last week on Sept. 15th.   It was taking place at the Santa Clara Marriott in their large ballroom.  I came in the mid-afternoon so I could take photos for a photo gallery, and to some video interviews for PCB and EDAC Cafe clients.   I had the sense the show was more subdued than previous years but Show management really worked to make it easy for folks to attend, get a free lunch and see some open sessions.  Kudos to Alyson over at Up Media Group for putting an excellent event.

You can see the photo gallery of the show floor at PCB West 2009 Pictures.

The video interviews were with DownStream, EMA Design Automation, Prototron Circuits, Oak-Mitsui and with Valor.  The world of PCB design continues to evolve as it meets the challenges of ever-higher signal frequencies, the need for more efficient and automated methods to create designs, and to improve collaboration.

All of these topics and more are covered in the PCB West 2009 Video Interviews.

Let me know your thoughts about PCBWest and the interviews.


Two and a Half Things

August 25th, 2009 by Graham Bell

After a several week hiatus due to DAC at the end of July, and 10 days of vacation in Oregon and California,  this blog post returns.

First, all 44 DAC videos recorded by yours truly, are now up on EDACafe, after many hours of editing. There is even a ‘triple play’, with Tom Fitzpatrick, Stephen Bailey and Harry Foster of  Mentor.  See them all at DAC Videos.  Let me know what you think of them.

Secondly, David Heller, president of IBSystems (and all of the Cafés) went to Infineon Raceway as a guest of HP.  I recommend his article which is posted on EDACafe. You will see a cool car  and hear some amazingly LOUD engine noises from the embedded sound clip.  See it here.

And finally the half-thing is my oldest son turned 16 and is 6cm taller than me and still growing.  I wonder when it will stop!


DAC is Like the Tour De France Cycling Race

July 17th, 2009 by Graham Bell

I have been watching the Tour De France cycling race and it reminds me a lot about DAC. There is the mad sprint in the last weeks before the show to get the customer input and marketing ready. There is the massing of the exhibitors on Sunday with the EDAC and Gary Smith kick-off events. The well-known players are back this year, but the up and coming competitors will be on Smith’s and Cooley “Must See” lists. Meetings are held to drive the main pack, the peloton, into a new direction or pace. Announcements are made to pull away from the crowd and get the buzz leadership. And finally on Thursday, the last stage, we are tired but fulfilled, knowing for another year we have made a difference for designers world-wide.

If you want to step back in time, you can check out the EDACafe 2008 DAC Videos. EDACafe will, of course have video interviews at the 2009 event. You can always email me to find out more.


P.S.  Who will take the “yellow jersery” and for how long?

CDNLive! Silicon Valley is Going ‘Virtual’

July 2nd, 2009 by Graham Bell

I just heard this week that the Cadence CDNLive! customer event normally held at the San Jose Convention Center has been changed into a virtual event with just webinars.  The reasons according to Cadence are that the current global financial environment is impacting everyone in the electronics industry, fewer resources are available to dedicate to critical projects, and travel budgets are limited.

What will the virtual event be like? Cadence says these webinars will be an opportunity for users to share their work and present their papers to an even larger audience—and a wider range of their peers—than what was anticipated at the face-to-face conference.  For those customers that want to rub elbows with Cadence staff, the San Francisco Design Automation Conference in July is offered as a substitute event. The virtual CDNLive !will take place on some date in October.  The other CDNLive! events in Japan, Taiwan, Israel, and India will proceed as planned.

Last years event was well attended.   You can see the photo gallery on EDACafe at CDLive! 2008 in San Jose, CA.

If you haven’t met Lip-Bu Tan, CEO of Cadence, a video interview of Lip-Bu taken at the European CDNLive event is now available.  He discusses what Cadence’s focus will be and the stock price he is shooting for.  You can see it at Lip-Bu Tan CDNLive! interview.

I am wondering what the reaction will be to going virtual.   Will this please customers?   Will there be more attendees as Cadence claims?   Let me know your thoughts.


MEMCON 2009 Defines Memory Advancements

June 25th, 2009 by Graham Bell

Denali is the sponsor of MEMCON 2009, which going on this week in Santa Clara.   I spoke with David Lin at Denali regarding the conference and what some of the announcements will be.  In particular we talked about the DDR-PHY Interface (DFI) spec version 2.1  (at the wb-site).   It includes low-power features supporting DDR3 and the newly released LP-DDR2 memory technologies from JEDEC.   As well, at MEMCON, is a track  on “Beyond Flash – Defining Storage Class Memories (SCM),” sponsored by Web-Feet Research (now that’s a name you can remember!).

You can here the entire interview at:  “MEMCON News”, Dave Lin, VP of Marketing, Denali

What I found most interesting about Storage Class Memories is that the vision for the future is to have a memory system that has a file interface but with the speed and performance of fast silicon.   Smaller system stacks and lower power are some of the claimed benefits.

If you couldn’t attend the conference, you can see the picture gallery of the exhibits and luncheon at:  MEMCON Exhibits.

Mark Gogolewski, Denali CTO  gave one of the keynotes at MEMCON.  You can see a short clip at:  Mark Gogolewski MEMCON 2009 Keynote Clip


Will the Atom take over?

June 18th, 2009 by Graham Bell

Atom processors from Intel are defining the new “netbook” slice of the personal computer market.   They are very popular with ‘power’ users, who want to have another computer to use because of the convenient size and almost disposable cost.  Ultimately targeted for the smaller platforms such as smart phones, Atom-based computers are surprisingly powerful.   If an Atom notebook PC has everything I need to do my day-to-day job then maybe it will begin to steal market share from the traditional notebook market.   Another trend that may accelerate this shift is the use of  ‘cloud computing’ where data is stored in the cloud (some server farm on the net).   Cloud computing reduces further the need for a local high-performance CPU.

Even Intel insiders are wondering what will be the business  impact  caused by the success of the Atom processor.   Will it poison their traditional microprocessor franchise?  Let me know your thoughts!


Wolfram Alpha is the new answer engine

June 8th, 2009 by Graham Bell

I heard about last week.  It is a search engine that does all the calculations it can think of for an entry.   It works with Math (it uses the Mathematica engine from Wolfram Research) History, Chemistry, Music, Astronomy, etc.  They have lots of great examples.

I happened to have a fondness for super massive black holes that are at the center of galaxies.  If you enter “18 billion solar masses black hole” then WoflframAlpha spits back lots of data, including the radius.   This happens to be the biggest hole so far according to Wikipedia.   If you note down the radius 10^13 meters, and then enter “Pluto” and “Sedna” as your next search items, you quickly find out that this humongous black hole is bigger than our solar system.  It is over 8 light-hours across!

Check it out…You will be glad you did.


EDACafe Video Interviews at DAC in July

June 2nd, 2009 by Graham Bell

EDACafe will again be interivewing exhibitors, executives and analysts from the floor of the Design Automation Conference in San Francisco on July 27-29.   There is no charge for the video interviews which will are posted on our web-site.  This month (June) we are taking appointments from our current clients and members.  In July, we will be making appointments for other companies that would like to be a part of the buzz of DAC.

To see what an interview is like check-out our DATE Conference Video page from April.  You can see it at


Welcome to the EDACafe Blogs!

May 29th, 2009 by Graham Bell

I personally invite EDA experts to start your blogs here. Using the blogs, you can share your opinions, ask questions, let people know what you are up to, and project yourself to be an industry guru. You have an audience of  more than 75,000 unique visitors/month. The blogs are also included in our daily newsletter to 30,000 subscribers.  Send an email to me with your bio and a digital photo.  My email is Graham [at]

CST: Webinar series
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TrueCircuits: UltraPLL

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