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Palmer Pearson
Palmer Pearson
Palmer has earned degrees in both English and Electronic Engineering. Originally working as an R&D designer, he made the switch into technical publications early in his career to "have fun." His main concentration of late is searching for innovative methods of sharing technical information. He … More »

Is EDA Customer Documentation Viewed as Important Anymore?

 
August 13th, 2014 by Palmer Pearson

There was a time when the “big three” gave the impression they deeply cared about what their customers saw in their documentation and how useful they shared critical product information. From my view, that is no longer the case. Maybe that is harsh but this is more than a simple impression. Whether providing book-based or topic-based documents, whether offering downloadable pdf hard copy, sharing online documentation with robust search capabilities, or delivering meaningful embedded tutorials, most EDA companies took an active role in ensuring what they produced would be innovative, encompass the latest trends and meet (and even exceed) customer expectations.

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I’m chairing DAC 52, and I want your help

 
July 16th, 2014 by Anne Cirkel

In the strange way that time passes, particularly in the world of tech, the 2014 Design Automation Conference is already feeling like ancient history. Was it really just last month that the Moscone Center exhibit hall was crammed with essentially all of major players in EDA? Whether or not you were there, you’re forgiven if you haven’t thought about DAC in the weeks since. In the last few weeks, the tech beat has continued to serve up big stories, including Amazon’s phone and Google’s Android everywhere announcements. It’s also the season of summer vacations. Oh yeah, and there was the small matter of a soccer tournament in Brazil.

In the years before I joined the DAC executive committee I often stopped thinking about DAC soon after leaving for the airport to head home to Portland. Not that it hasn’t always been a great show. It’s just that as is true for most attendees, the demands of my various day jobs always started to loom after several days away. This year and next, forgetting DAC is not an option for me because I’m the incoming general chair of next year’s conference. That is, in a very real way, DAC 52 is my job (or at least my second job), for the next 11 months.

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Statement from the India Electronics and Semiconductor Association (IESA)

 
July 10th, 2014 by Sanjay Gangal

Article source: IESA

BJP swept into power a few months ago in India. They have unveiled a new national budget that promises to create a framework to jump-start semiconductor and electronics development in India.

Dr. Kaustubh Nande, Country Marketing Head, ANSYS India commented:

This budget definitely addresses some long pending reforms particularly on tax and duty structure on electronic imports. However, today’s budget also extends investment deductions to semi-conductor wafer fabrication manufacturing units. This will boost electronics manufacturing and attract a greater share of R&D investments in the country. India needs to build intellectual capital in the long term and this budget perhaps is a good start. A positive and much needed boost to the electronics manufacturing and R&D sector.”

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The Move to Cloud-Enabled IP-Based Security Systems

 
July 2nd, 2014 by Anand Desai

Responding to customer demand and advances in technology, there is currently a strong trend among building security system manufacturers to evolve their products from traditional analog systems to IP-based products. Doing this allows them to leverage widespread innovation in IP-based communication systems through Cloud services. These new security systems are much more than just intruder alarms. They offer increased functionality, connectivity, and access options to take advantage of the capabilities of emerging technology. They provide a much richer set of features such as voice over IP (VoIP), call routing, rule-based response, and even allow access via mobile devices.

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Survivor’s Guide to Hardware Emulation at DAC

 
May 27th, 2014 by Lauro Rizzatti

It wasn’t all that long ago when hardware emulation providers heading to DAC worked overtime to get their booths filled with interested verification engineers with big challenges. Hardware emulation was still viewed as an esoteric and expensive luxury that only few could afford.

Fast forward to 2014. This year is prime time for hardware emulation, now a mandatory verification approach for all semiconductor designs. Left alone are a few analog-centric designs and a bunch of small digital designs. It is also become somewhat more affordable based on the price per gate.

I predict this year DAC will be much different than previous years as semiconductor companies, forced to accelerate time to market even as their chip designs get increasingly more complex, are looking to hardware emulation.

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Safety-Critical Automotive Applications: Raising the Bar on Verification?

 
May 22nd, 2014 by Dave Kelf

You may have noticed that one of the DAC themes this year is automotive electronics. If you happen to work on designs that have nothing to do with cars, you may have already disregarded this aspect of the show. Well, not so fast! Its worth a closer look.

We all know that auto electronics has gone through something of a renaissance over the last few years. Cars burst at the seams with processors, perform automated gyrations such as self-parking, and now one or two are taking the ultimate step of driving themselves about town. Who gave the Google Chauffeur car its driver’s license, anyway?

What makes this application area interesting is not necessarily the cool gadgets, but the additional constraints placed upon automotive electronics that are not a factor in other industries. I would like to focus on one, the verification aspect of automotive safety critical components.

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Survey: C/C++ Preferred Language among EEs

 
April 7th, 2014 by Dianne Kibbey

Everyone loves a good language war. I am, of course, talking about programming languages. Despite the myriad of programming languages available in the modern electronics industry today, C and C++, first developed in the 1970s and 1980s, are still viewed as the most important starting points for engineers.

element14, an online community of more than 220,000 design engineers and hobbyists, recently conducted a survey of preferred programming languages and more than 100 respondents submitted their answers. About 54% of those surveyed deemed C/C++ the most important, with Python as the second most popular choice garnering 18% of the vote.

The remaining languages scored as follows:

  • Assembly (9% of the vote)
  • Java (8% of the vote)
  • BASIC (4% of the vote)
  • HTML/CSS (2% of the vote)
  • PHP (1% of the vote)

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What future for the DATE conference?

 
April 7th, 2014 by Matthieu Wipliez

Two weeks ago my associate and myself attended the DATE conference to meet people and try to get new leads. This year, the conference took place in Dresden, Germany, which is at the heart of the “Silicon Saxony”, with no less than 40,000 jobs mostly in the semiconductor industry, so we were expecting a lot. If you’re not familiar with the conference, according to their website, “DATE combines the world’s favorite electronic systems design and test conference with an international exhibition for electronic design, automation and test, from system-level hardware and software implementation right down to integrated circuit design.” We had high expectations, and in the end we were quite disappointed. Granted, receptions (exhibition reception and DATE party) featured very good food and the party even included a visit of Volkswagen’s awesome luxury car plant. The staff was professional and nice, and we were lucky to have a neighbor who gave us an interesting perspective and helpful advice. What about the actual exhibition?

First, DATE is not cheap. Special start-up price is 2K€ ($2.7K). I just looked up DAC, it has a special “first exhibitor” package, for a mere $1.5K. DAC is about three times bigger, too. Concerning attendance, I was able to find numbers here and on the websites for the previous editions. There were 625 exhibition visitors in 2010, increased to 890 in 2011 (probably due to the presence of GlobalFoundries), and 800 in 2012 and 2013; the number of conference attendees has been around 1,300 and now is around 1,400. I couldn’t find any other statistics. By contrast, DAC compiles in-depth statistics about its visitors, including demographics and an event audit.

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EDACafe Call for Bloggers – Extend Your Reach and Exposure!

 
March 24th, 2014 by Sanjay Gangal

Do you have something to share with the EDA community, such as opinions, thought-provoking topics, or commentary? EDACafe.com, the leading electronic design industry web portal is seeking the following types of blogging contributor categories:

  • Industry Expert/Consultant Blog
    • Provide thought leadership, industry expertise
    • Benefit by promoting yourself and your expertise
    • No cost involved if the article is not promotional in nature
  • Guest Blog
    • Tied to an existing blog on EDACafe
    • Write one blog post or post periodically
    • No cost involved if the article is not promotional in nature
  • Custom Blog
    • Will have a unique name and identity
    • Produce at least one blog post per month
    • No cost involved if the articles are not promotional in nature
  • Custom Corporate Blog
    • Industry-leading companies, such as software and hardware vendors, service bureaus, etc.
    • Multiple logins for publishing blog entries from multiple authors
    • Cost is $700/month or $6,000/year.

EDACafe has 75,000 unique visitors per month; as well as 30,000 subscribers to our daily newsletter and EDA Weekly. Translation: People like to spend time at EDACafe.

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The CAD Team – Unsung heroes in a successful tapeout

 
March 14th, 2014 by Amit Varde

For most of my career, I worked as a CAD and design flow engineer. In the fall of 2012, I moved to a different role, as an applications and support manager at ClioSoft Inc. In my opinion, this was a very good opportunity for me to work with other CAD engineers and teams. 

Having worked with different CAD teams in my career, I have often felt that the CAD engineers do not get the credit that they richly deserve for the effort they put in. Most CAD engineers did not plan on being CAD engineers when they graduated from college. What moved them in the direction of CAD is the “discovery” that they had an excellent understanding of UNIX, design methodology and programming and also had good communication skills.

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