Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category
Thursday, December 6th, 2012
Last month, Lou Covey posted comments regarding a blog posted here about Esencia Technologies, the company that received Software Best-in-Show at ARM TechCon. He took issue with my suggestion that it was unclear why Esencia received the award.
Covey’s comments prompted my phone call with Karl Kaiser, VP of Engineering at Esencia, who explained: “EScala is a design platform that takes a C algorithm for things like MP3 encoders, and creates an IP block for the design – a reprogrammable core for the target architecture. EScala allows you to generate a core that fits your algorithm.
“At Esencia, we have provided a lot of ASIC design services and wanted to find a way to simplify the traditional RTL flow – architecting, partitioning, implementing, and writing the testbench. EScala is a result of that effort and is unlike anything else on the market.
Thursday, November 29th, 2012
In a move to catch up with industry coverage of CEVA’s unsolicited offer to buy MIPS Technologies, I turned to Yahoo Financials to find out what was going on. What I quickly discovered in looking at Yahoo was that the CEVA/MIPS story has gotten ugly.
I’m among many who have been interested in MIPS over the years for several reasons: a) MIPS used to be on the EDAC Board of Directors in the person of then-MIPS President & CEO John Bourgoin, and b) MIPS was founded by Stanford President John Hennessy.
Now, however, per the Press Release posted on November 28th: “Levi & Korsinsky is investigating the Board of Directors of MIPS Technologies, Inc. for possible breaches of fiduciary duty and other violations of state law in connection with the sale of the Company to Imagination Technologies Group PLC and the sale of the Company’s patents to Allied Security Trust (“AST”).
Thursday, November 22nd, 2012
IP provider Esencia Technologies received a Best-in-Show Award in the Software Category at the recent ARM TechCon 2012 in Silicon Valley. It’s not clear what the criteria were for the award, but it was Esencia’s EScala Design Platform that garnered the accolade, according to the company’s website. Based in San Jose and founded in 2006, the company says they focus on delivering “pre-verified IP cores” to their customers.
Thursday, November 1st, 2012
You didn’t have to crank up Queen to hear the refrain in the background when ARM CEO Warren East stepped on stage in Silicon Valley this morning to deliver his keynote at the 2012 edition of ARM TechCon. No matter how you slice the pie, ARM is the champion of the world. They know it, they know that you and I know it, and we know that they know that we know it.
Yet despite all that knowing, the guys from ARM seem like a pretty likable bunch. A month ago, I heard ARM CTO Mike Muller give the keynote at the Sophia Antipolis Microelectronics Forum, where he left the same impression with his audience on the Cote d’Azure that Warren East left with his audience this morning in the heart of Silicon Valley: ARM puts cooperation above competition, partnering above posturing, and the well-being of the world above the well-being of the bottom line of ARM or the pocketbook any of its employees.
ARM may be the champion of the world, but it’s for a reason. They’re very good at what they do, they’ve had the luck and foresight to be in the right place at the right time over the last 2 decades, and they are as concerned as the rest of us about the plethora [read “billions”] of digital devices descending on the world which threaten to drive us all to the brink of destruction by way of global warming, polluted environs, or both.
Okay, that’s my qualitative take on this morning’s keynote. Following is a more quantitative version.
Thursday, October 18th, 2012
The MIPI Alliance was founded in 2003 by STMicro, ARM, Nokia and TI. In 2004, Intel, Motorola, Samsung and Philips joined. Today, there are over 240 companies in the Alliance, 18 working groups, and over 5000 participating individuals. Following his presentation during the general session at SAME Forum in Sophia Antipolis, I had a chance to speak with STMicro’s Joel Huloux, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the MIPI Alliance.
Huloux differentiated between the work of the MIPI Alliance and OCP-IP: “OCP-IP is more related to the inside of the chip. It is very useful for interconnect when you buy IP to put in your design. If you look at MIPI Alliance, however, we do not deal with internal bus processors, or networks. We deal with the interface which is external to the chip, particularly in a mobile device, the interface between the chip and the display, camera, and so on. There is no competition at all between OCP-IP and MIPI Alliance.”
Thursday, October 11th, 2012
ARM CTO Mike Muller came to Sophia Antipolis in the South of France on October 2nd and 3rd for three reasons: To visit the 70+ ARM developers who work in the region, to announce the winner of the annual SAME Forum outstanding Startup Award, and to deliver the conference keynote address.
Muller is an extremely affable man and seemed quite delighted to announce the winner of the Startup Panel at the October 2nd conference dinner: the French company ADACSYS. Muller also noted during the award presentation that very early startup ZettICE, a participant in the competition, showed great potential and should continue to pursue their vision.
On Wednesday, October 3rd, Muller gave his keynote address to an absolutely packed auditorium as part of the morning’s events at SAME Forum. It was a reprise of his DAC 2012 keynote address, which was also given to a packed audience back in June in Moscone Center in San Francisco.
Thursday, October 4th, 2012
Swedish startup Elsip launched its first product on October 2nd, the Data Management Engine [DME], which the company says “is a programmable and configurable synthesizable IP block that solves cache coherency, memory consistency, virtual address translation and dynamic memory allocation for distributed, private or shared memories in heterogeneous and homogeneous architectures.”
I spoke with Elsip CEO Adam Edstrom at the Sophia Antipolis Microelectronics Forum in France on October 3rd. He told me Elsip is based on research out of the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, in particular the work of professors Axel Jantsch, Ahmed Hemani, and Zhonghai Lu. The company was incorporated last year, but the patent-pending product has been many years in the making.
Per Edstrom: “The world is going to multicore, but many areas like robotics, embedded systems, and military systems are not using multicore because the demands of shared memory cannot be met. With DME, however, we are providing a scalable solution to the problems that occur when there are lots of cores on a chip, and lots of memory. The user assigns one DME per core and because the DME is programmable with application specific micro-code, when there are multiple kernels trying to access the same memory, problems do not arise.”
Thursday, September 27th, 2012
Over the last several months, Synopsys has made multiple announcements aggressively proving their ongoing presence in the burgeoning IP market: Silicon IP, Verification IP, and ARM-based design. Meanwhile, through community outreach, Synopsys has also continued to enhance the most important category of intellectual property: students in local schools.
Tuesday, September 18th, 2012
Chris Rowen is Founder and CTO of Tensilica, an IP company based in Silicon Valley. We spoke last week by phone to discuss how an IP company decides what and when to introduce new products.
I first asked to Chris for a brief history of the RISC [Reduced Instruction Set Computing] architecture he is closely associated with, and how that history segued into the founding of Tensilica.
From RISC to Tensilica …
Q: Can you give me a quick overview of the origins of RISC architecture?
Chris Rowen: RISC is a set of ideas that grew up in academia and IBM in response to increased architectures in both the mainframe and microprocessor worlds.
People saw machines with really high hardware costs being built for assembly [language applications]. However, as compiler technology got better, people said: If I want a compiler to run well, I don’t need fancy instructions. I only need a common set of instructions that run really fast. All other complex operations could be composed by the compiler out of these fast, simple operations.
RISC grew out of these compiler technology advances, and a recognition in the VLSI era that there was an opportunity to rethink the process of how the architecture could be put together. (more…)
Thursday, August 30th, 2012
Hal Barbour is President of CAST, an IP company based on the East Coast. Hal has a tremendous ability to explain the many facets of the industry, and it was a great pleasure to sit down and talk with him this week. When we spoke by phone on August 29th, he had just wrapped up an earlier call with a customer.
Hal Barbour on All things IP …
Q: How do you make yourself known to customers?
Hal Barbour: We have always put a lot of information in the hands of our customers, but the delivery mechanism today is quite a bit different. We’ve learned to leverage most of the contemporary tools – blogs, online meetings, webinars, shows and press releases. Press releases are just as important as ever, but where we used to send them to a central distribution center and a group of editors, now there are about 15 or 20 various people and outlets who disseminate the information to a much larger population.
Q: And how do working engineers hear about the products?
Hal Barbour: That’s the really interesting thing. Engineers today can easily see press releases directly, plus they have at their disposal a powerful set of search tools to help them get the information they need, so whatever information you’re putting out there, it better be right and it better be credible. If it’s not, engineers have got plenty of other sources to turn to.
And if you’re going to be out there, you better be able to respond to inquiries quickly and rapidly. Ultimately, however, it’s your name and your reputation that sells products. I can’t tell you the number of people who contact us based on our name and reputation.
Q: Isn’t that called ‘word of mouth’?
Hal Barbour: That’s exactly what it is, only it’s even faster today. Spreading the word used to be limited by who you knew, but today with social media and blogs, word of mouth moves at lighting speed and is more important than ever. Even today, though, nothing substitutes for face-to-face contact with the customer.