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Peggy Aycinena
Peggy Aycinena
Peggy Aycinena is a freelance journalist and Editor of EDA Confidential at www.aycinena.com. She can be reached at peggy at aycinena dot com.

Grant Pierce: Grand Challenges in IP

 
May 18th, 2017 by Peggy Aycinena


Here begins the first of four dialogs about Grand Challenges in IP
. This first installment is a conversation with Sonics co-Founder and CEO Grant Pierce, who also currently serves as Chair of the ESD Alliance. We spoke by phone earlier this week.

Asked to enumerate the Grand Challenges in IP he sees today, Pierce began: “Having been in the industry for 20 years myself, I am surprised that we still have some challenges ahead of us. We have new entrants into the industry that are more focused at the system level, however, with customers coming in to interact with the IP guys directly to get their custom designs done.

“What I am seeing today, versus 20 years ago, is the emergence of Machine Learning. And that brings with it some technical challenges. On the one hand, they are very familiar – the age-old challenges about bandwidth and throughput – but on the other hand, they are also very new. Today’s applications are driving things together in a totally new way.

Read the rest of Grant Pierce: Grand Challenges in IP

IP News: Bad outweighs the Good, and your point is?

 
May 4th, 2017 by Peggy Aycinena


It’s not been pretty of late in the world of IP
. Imagination’s valuation tanked when it was revealed in early April that the company might be losing Apple as a customer. Imagination says it’s going to fight this development, but a different ending to the story of David and Goliath comes to mind in that declaration.

Then this week, that same Imagination announced it was selling MIPS – a company it bought back in 2012 with great fanfare for [a mere] $60 million. [It’s true, MIPS’ patent portfolio was worth a lot more.]

Also this week, TSMC announced it is charging a former employee with IP theft: The former employee is alleged to have stolen manufacturing data from TSMC specifically related to Nvidia and AMD chip production, taken it across the Straights of Taiwan, and turned it over to his new employer in the PRC, HLMC.

Read the rest of IP News: Bad outweighs the Good, and your point is?

Celebrating Accellera’s UVM: Now it’s IEEE 1800.2

 
April 27th, 2017 by Peggy Aycinena


Tom Alsop and the team at Accellera are elated
: The UVM standard has been accepted by the IEEE as 1800.2 and congratulations are certainly in order.

The effort has consumed upwards of 10 years, and represents thousands of man-hours of effort, consultation, compromise, consensus building, rinse and repeat. Over and over until the final product was polished, presented and approved by the IEEE. Not an easy process by anybody’s estimation.

When we spoke by phone this week about the Accellera announcement, I asked Tom Alsop [Principal Engineer at Intel] how difficult the whole thing had actually been.

He chuckled slightly: “For us, it was fairly difficult.”

Read the rest of Celebrating Accellera’s UVM: Now it’s IEEE 1800.2

IP for Cars: Lawsuits are like Sandstorms

 
April 20th, 2017 by Peggy Aycinena


There’s two kinds of conversations
when it comes to electrical systems and cars. One is about the power train and the other one is about the advanced driver-assistance system, ADAS. Distinct as they may be, both of these systems can benefit from the optimizations associated with design automation, and both of these systems today are mashed up against the complexities of using third-party IP.

Chips in cars today need to manage the power train, or they need to provide safety and security for the driver – but either way, they need to work perfectly every time, all the time, and in some pretty hellish conditions. It’s hot under the hood and the road today is unforgiving. So are the lawyers.

So what’s a third-party IP provider supposed to do? Turn tail and run? Never sell into the automotive market where litigation looms larger than a sandstorm in April on the Texas Panhandle? Or try to man-up and work with the automotive market to provide IP that fits well into the chips that such customers need?

Read the rest of IP for Cars: Lawsuits are like Sandstorms

ESDA CEO Confab: It was a Dark and Stormy Night

 
April 13th, 2017 by Peggy Aycinena


Something eerie and inexplicable happened on Thursday evening, April 6th
. Out of nowhere, an intense storm swept through the Bay Area, unannounced and without warning. The skies darkened, the winds howled, severe rain pelted the crowded, suddenly dangerous freeways, and hundreds of thousands lost power.

Meanwhile, exactly in the midst of the most violent part of this mysterious storm, the CEOs of the four most important companies within the ESD Alliance sat on stools in front of an audience assembled at Synopsys and chatted about this, that, and the other. Seemingly oblivious to the profound violence unleashing itself just outside the windows, they acted as if nothing was amiss.

Everything in the industry – and the world – was in order: Wonderful, with the data pointing continuously up and to the right, and everywhere ample evidence for a bullish, optimistic, and excited outlook on the future of EDA and IP.

No matter that Nature was having its way out there in the darkness, that the U.S. had bombed Syria the hour before their discussion began, that the drumbeat for answers about entanglements with Russia was quickening, or difficult conversations with the President of the PRC were underway that very day in Florida – the CEOs of Synopsys, Cadence, Siemens/Mentor Graphics and SoftBank/ARM sat relaxed and easy, basking in the evident vitality of the EDA and IP industries, and allowing themselves to be shepherded through a congenial confab of confident chit-chat by Ed Sperling of Semiconductor Engineering fame.

That fact that the vagaries of Nature never came into the conversation was not surprising; the fact the Mr. Sperling refused all opportunities to bring what he termed as “politics” into the conversation was quite the opposite. Surprising, that is.

Read the rest of ESDA CEO Confab: It was a Dark and Stormy Night

Performance-IP: Finding a Different way to Compete

 
March 16th, 2017 by Peggy Aycinena


It takes skill and surgical precision
to launch and maintain a tech startup, especially today and extra-especially in a market as competitive as IP. Nonetheless, Massachusetts-based Performance-IP seems to have accomplished that feat.

It’s true, this is not the first IP company co-founded by Performance-IP CTO Gregg Recupero. In the early 1990’s, he helped to found VAutomation which developed IP for system-level verification [and was acquired by ARC in 2000].

In our phone call this week, I asked Recupero how a small IP company today can compete with the behemoth IP providers.

Read the rest of Performance-IP: Finding a Different way to Compete

The Power of Yelp: Designing Chips versus Bathrooms

 
March 9th, 2017 by Peggy Aycinena


Not for the first time
, it’s become obvious that designing a bathroom is very similar to designing a chip. The effort requires a confident sense of the end-product you’re trying to accomplish – and then a great deal of necessary tedium.

Because these days, bathrooms and chips incorporate a huge number of IP blocks and the process of tracking down the final candidates, reworking the design over and over to see how each candidate fits in, then making the final selection, confirming with each IP vendor that the price and availability of their particular block meets your design budget and schedule, then nailing down the finished design, actually ordering and paying for the IP that will go into the design, and crossing your fingers that nothing untowards has happened between the moment you made your final part/IP selection and the moment the vendor’s supposed to pony up the goods.

The process of creating a bathroom or chip design that includes a great deal of IP is really complex. It requires a lot of shopping, validating, purchasing, receiving and integrating IP into the design.

Read the rest of The Power of Yelp: Designing Chips versus Bathrooms

Oski Technology: new VIP supports Formal Sign-off

 
February 23rd, 2017 by Peggy Aycinena


Oski Technology has added a new page to its playbook.
Now it’s not just a services company, it’s an IP company as well. This week, the company announced it’s Formal Verification IP Library targeted at those companies using ARM’s AMBA interface protocols.

When we spoke on the phone about the announcement, I asked Oski VP of Applications Engineering Roger Sabbagh why now for this product release. He said: “I personally have been working in Formal since the year 2000, back when I joined 0-In, and over the years I’ve learned that formal adoption grows slowly.

“Yet although there has never been a knee in the curve, we have seen some important developments in the industry. Synopsys developed PC Formal and Cadence bought Jasper, both indicating that Formal is catching on slowly but surely.”

Read the rest of Oski Technology: new VIP supports Formal Sign-off

Roadmap @ ISSCC: When will we Stop Driving our Cars

 
February 16th, 2017 by Peggy Aycinena


Millions of people are talking about when we will stop driving our cars
, many thousands are working on it, and six among those thousands made an appearance Tuesday evening, February 7th, on a panel at IEEE’s International Solid State Circuits Conference in San Francisco.

Over the course of the hour, the six speakers outlined their different visions of the technical roadmap that must be pursued to achieve fully autonomous cars. Of the six speakers, however, only three actually attempted to answer the panel prompt and their answers were wildly disparate.

So when will we stop driving our cars? 1) It’s impossible to know. 2) Not until 2030. 3) We already are beginning to stop driving our cars.

The panel was moderated by a senior Intel engineer, heavily involved in the company’s newly organized business unit specifically focused on autonomous driving systems.

Read the rest of Roadmap @ ISSCC: When will we Stop Driving our Cars

ESD Alliance: Sonics’ Grant Pierce elected Board Chair

 
February 9th, 2017 by Peggy Aycinena


This week, the ESD Alliance
announced that Sonics CEO Grant Pierce has been elected chair of the organization’s Board of Directors. His election is unique in several ways: Pierce is the first CEO of an IP company to lead the Alliance; he replaces two co-chairs, Cadence CEO Lip-Bu Tan and PDF Solutions, John Kibarian; and he is only the second CEO of a non-publicly traded company to serve as Board Chair, the other being Jasper CEO Kathryn Kranen who took the reins in 2012.

When Pierce and I spoke by phone on Tuesday about his election, he noted the unique circumstances of his new leadership role: “When I joined the board several years ago, it was with the intention to add a new point of view to what was then the EDA Consortium, to help the organization reflect the emerging reality of what was happening in the marketplace with respect to IP companies.

“In some ways, the IP companies consider themselves to be a necessary evil. Every chip developed today involves some sort of third-party IP, so having a place on the Board of the ESD Alliance is essential.”

Read the rest of ESD Alliance: Sonics’ Grant Pierce elected Board Chair




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