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Austin to ARM: Aristocracy to Meritocracy

Wednesday, September 9th, 2015

 


ARM must be doing something right
when among the eight corporate sponsors for their upcoming Silicon Valley users conference in November, the top three companies in EDA are listed as Diamond or Platinum.

Cadence is Diamond, undoubtedly, because company President & CEO Lip-Bu Tan is co-chair of EDAC, and ARM CEO Simon Segars is on the EDAC Board. But why would Mentor and Synposys spend good money being Platinum sponsors of ARM’s show when they could put that particular chunk of disposable income into their own user conferences, or even DAC? Particularly since Mentor and Synopsys sell IP, as does Cadence, so in some ways the three EDA companies may actually be competing with ARM.

There are three possible answers: A) Mentor, Synopsys, and Cadence serve as channels for ARM products. B) Mentor, Synopsys, and Cadence want to see, and be seen by, ARM’s enormous worldwide customer base. C) ARM has the winning hand in today’s semiconductor supply chain, so either the Big Three in EDA pony up to help sponsor ARM TechCon, or the UK-based IP behemoth won’t cooperate in the EDA world; they won’t offer pointers or tool-development advice for the third-party design software that EDA vendors sell and ARM customers [might] buy.

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DOCEA Power: What’s the scoop?

Wednesday, August 19th, 2015

 


When it comes to Docea Power, there’s no scoop.
There’s no news at all. Except of course that they’ve been bought by Intel, which in itself is pretty big news for any company. Except apparently Docea. There was/is no press release and was/is no access to details on the deal. Nothing.

There is proof, however, that the acquisition took place. Right on the front of the Docea website. But that’s it.

Having interviewed the brothers who founded Docea, Ghislain and Sylvain Kaiser, multiple times over the years – at DATE in Europe and at various conferences here in the U.S. — I certainly hoped to know more, and I tried. But their people — the ones who reached out to journalists in June asking for meetings with the company at DAC, back when Docea still existed — were candid: “There is no press release available. And there will be no talk with Docea founders”

And that’s it. Except for this …

Lucky Intel!

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Vacation’s over: Autumn Conferences Ramp-up

Wednesday, August 12th, 2015

 

Autumn used to start in September, but now classes and conferences commence in August and vacation ends just that much sooner. Here’s a list of various events you should consider attending between now and the end of the year, with thanks to conference organizers for the associated descriptions.

Scanning the range of topics, it’s clear the combined IP and EDA industries have an increasingly broad range of interests: IoT, autos, wearables, software security, verifying/integrating IP, power, device physics, memory, embedded processors and software, sensors, MEMS, a range of standards, networking, both the professional and technical kinds, and “synergistic collaborative design” both up in the cloud and down below on solid ground.

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Vietnam, the Franchise: Asia’s newest Tier 1 Outsourcing Destination

Thursday, July 30th, 2015

 

If you had told me in 1975 that 40 years later Silicon Valley would be hosting an informational meeting to advertise an upcoming tech conference in Vietnam, I would have said you were crazy.

Like millions of others in April 1975, I watched apocryphal images on the nightly news of thousands of refuges being airlifted off rooftops in Saigon and military helicopters being pushed off the decks of aircraft carriers to make room for the human detritus of the final throes of decades of war, the last 10 of which included overwhelming American involvement and a death toll far in excess of a million lives.

Even today, that war, its architects and aftermath, are proving themselves to be contentious, divisive topics in American homes and in our national arenas of political mud-slinging.

Yet this blog is not about all of that; it’s about the aforementioned tech conference. But to start without a brief mention of 1975 is to write about a small brochure lying on the tabletop while a massive elephant stands muddy and mute in the middle of the room. At least for people of my generation.

In Vietnam today, however, folks of my generation are no longer the norm. The population now stands at 93 million-plus, the median age is 30, the country is young and optimistic, and looking to its future as an admired destination for tourists and international business interests alike.

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Who cares: Cold Fusion vs. 7nm Silicon

Wednesday, July 15th, 2015

 

Here’s the thing: Yeah, yeah it’s cool that IBM – which apparently invented or first implemented everything [see Below] – has announced 7-nanometer transistors that actually work. Yeah, that’s pretty teeny tiny and everybody’s thrilled. Of course.

Everybody at IBM, GlobalFoundaries, and Samsung (the triumvirate formerly known as Common Platform). Luminaries at Stanford, SUNY, and the Albany NanoTech Complex. Even the Good Governor of the Great Empire State himself.

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Synopsys acquires Elliptic: IP for a Safer World

Thursday, July 2nd, 2015

 

Once again it’s an acquisition, and once again the lucky winner’s Synopsys. This time the prize is Elliptic Technologies, “a provider of cryptography cores, security protocol accelerators and processors, Root of Trust embedded security IP modules, secure boot and cryptography middleware, and content protection IP for integration into SoCs. [In other words], security IP cores and software solutions for mobile, automotive, digital home, IoT and cloud computing applications.”

Per the Press Release: “Elliptic’s integrated solutions enable the most efficient silicon design and highest level of security to help prevent a wide range of evolving threats in connected devices such as theft, tampering, side channels attacks, malware and data breaches. As a founding member of the prpl Foundation’s Security Working Group, Elliptic has been dedicated to defining an open security framework for deploying secured and authenticated virtualized services in the IoT and related emerging markets.”

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Sonics: Busy Days, Dark Silicon Knights

Wednesday, June 24th, 2015

 

These last several months have been busy for Sonics: Release of the latest edition of the company’s “flagship” NoC, SonicsGN 3.0, featuring Sonics’ interleaved multi-channel technology; Release of Version 8.0 of SonicsStudio, the company’s SoC development environment with “improvements for designer productivity and power analysis”; Announcement of Sonics’ ICE-Grain Power Architecture, “a complete power management sub-system comprised of configurable hardware IP blocks, embedded control software, and integrated design tool environment”.

Of the three announcements, the last is the most profound, offering a better, smarter technique for building power management into systems that include Sonics IP. Power is of great concern to anyone working in silicon today, and of even greater concern to those whose business model includes selling both IP and services to the industry.

Drew Wingard, distinguished co-founder & CEO of Sonics, is one of those concerned, articulating the situation in detail on Monday, June 8th, at DAC where he addressed an SRO audience of 150+ technologists anxious to learn more about low power IP. Proving himself one of Sonics’ true Dark Silicon Knights, the following is a snapshot of Wingard’s comments.

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Innovation: Thy name is eSilicon

Monday, May 25th, 2015

 

While news last week out of eSilicon proved again the company’s ability to innovate and build on emerging technologies, a phone call with company VP Mike Gianfagna also proved something: Mike continues to be one of the ablest spokesmen in the industry. Very helpful, because the news is not simple.

On May 19th, the company announced STAR platform, the Self-service, Transparent, Accurate, Real-time platform. Per the press release, “STAR supports eSilicon’s existing IP browsing, instant quoting, and work-in-process tracking capabilities, along with a new chip optimization offering that leverages design virtualization technology. The platform also delivers an enhanced user interface with simplified account setup and access.”

Oh yeah, and the company also announced they’ve unified and re-branded their tools:

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Uniquify & Samsung: Success and mystery abound

Thursday, April 30th, 2015

 

It’s the kind of announcement that regularly emanates from IP companies: “Uniquify today announced it developed a DDR3 IP solution for Samsung Electronics’ power-efficient 28nm LPP foundry process that is now in volume production for multiple product lines, including consumer and mobile applications.”

The thing is, there are two bigger take-aways from this announcement than the specifics of the news. One is that news about 28 nanometers is still making news. The way marketing bravado in the industry runs, one would think 10 nanometers is upon us completely.

The other thing is that we’re not talking here about Samsung planning to adopt Uniquify’s DDR3; we’re talking about Samsung using these things in volume production. A very different kettle of fish, and something that IP companies often have so much trouble getting their customers to acknowledge. [Same holds true, of course, for EDA vendors as well.]

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OK, Google: A Man and His Watch

Thursday, April 23rd, 2015

 

I’ve got a friend who received an Android Wear (read “watch”) as a gift earlier this year. In the last several months, he’s become addicted to wearing the darn thing although its usefulness is distinctly limited: He can check the time and screen calls without digging a phone out of his pocket. Oh yeah, and when messages and/or emails come in, he knows straightaway.

Other than being a fascinating toy, however, and something to diddle with – particularly for those who like the openness of Android – Wear is really not much more than a distinctive fashion statement and not too much of that.

Nonetheless, now that Apple’s claiming more stupendous success with yet another highly over-hyped product launch (read, “the Apple Watch”), it’s time to re-consider the importance, even gravitas, of this Android Wear thing. After all, let’s not just lay down in the road and let Apple run over us yet again. Let’s cheer on these Android Wear users. Let’s celebrate anybody willing to stand up to the Apple juggernaut. Yay!

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