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.
October 30th, 2014 by Peggy Aycinena
This week Synopsys added even more fire-power to the arsenal that makes them one of the biggest IP vendors in the world. This time it’s USB 3.1, which the company says consists of a …
“DesignWare USB 3.1 Device Controller, an IP Virtual Development Kit and verification IP to accelerate the development of high-performance storage, digital office and mobile SoC applications. [The new product] supports 10 Gbps data transfer rates, power-down capabilities and compatibility with existing USB 3.0 software stacks and device protocols. Based on the DesignWare USB 3.0 Controller IP architecture, which has shipped in more than 100 million SoCs, the DesignWare USB 3.1 Device Controller IP enables designers to integrate USB 3.1 functionality with significantly less risk and faster time-to-market.”
As always, Synopsys delivers in a big way, which is why interviewing their people is always so much fun. These guys enjoy their work and know they’re on top, and not necessarily in that order. My phone call around the USB 3.1 announcement was with Eric Huang, Senior Product Marketing Manager for USB Digital IP at Synopsys, and was lively from start to finish.
October 2nd, 2014 by Peggy Aycinena
This blog requires a long, tall cup of coffee: Go get one, put your feet up, and plow on through. ARM TechCon 2014 took place this week at the Santa Clara Convention Center, and as an indication of what the industry feels is important right now, the following is a complex snapshot of press releases issued by various TechCon exhibitors highlighting their progress in the days leading up to and including the show. Listed first are the three main ARM press releases, then the other exhibitors are showcased.
By the way, the answer to what the industry thinks is important today? If the following is any indication, it’s IoT all the way down, with a dollop of FinFET and low-power thrown in for good measure. And if you don’t know IoT means Internet of Things, you haven’t been listening – particularly as Freescale says in their Press Release: “Analyst research firm Gartner estimates that the IoT will include 26 billion units installed by 2020, and by that time, IoT product and service suppliers will generate incremental revenue exceeding $300 billion, mostly in services.”
Another possible conclusion from the following: If you’re still holding out hope the Design Automation Conference is anchor tenant of the conference year, you should let that go. The amount of news these companies are releasing around ARM TechCon far out weighs what they’re releasing around DAC.
** ARM announced on October 1st “two new physical IP implementation solutions for its silicon partners to help simplify the path to implementation for their FinFET physical designs. ARM Artisan Power Grid Architect will reduce overall design time by creating optimal SoC power grid layouts, while ARM Artisan Signoff Architect increases accuracy and precision in managing on-chip variation over existing methodologies. These new physical IP implementation solutions strengthen the commitment from ARM to enable delivery of real silicon with the speed consumers are demanding.”
** ARM announced on October 1st, mbed OS, a free operating system for ARM Cortex-M processor based devices that consolidates the fundamental building blocks of the IoT in one integrated set of software components; mbed Device Server, a licensable software product that provides the required server-side technologies to connect and manage devices in a secure way, that also provides a bridge between the protocols designed for use on IoT devices and the APIs that are used by web developers; and mbed.org, the focus point for a community of more than 70,000 developers around mbed. The website provides a comprehensive database of hardware development kits, a repository for reusable software components, reference applications, documentation and web-based development tools.
** ARM and TSMC announced on October 2nd a new multi-year agreement that will deliver up ARMv8-A processor IP optimized for TSMC 10FinFET process technology. Per the Press Release: “Because of the success in scaling from 20SoC to 16FinFET, ARM and TSMC have decided to collaborate again for 10FinFET. This early path-finding work will provide valuable learning to enable physical design IP and methodologies in support of customers to tape-out 10FinFET designs as early as Q4 2015.”
September 18th, 2014 by Peggy Aycinena
Tuesday October 14th is coming up fast, and if you’re not yet signed up for the Constellations IP day-long event at San Jose’s Winchester Mystery House, you risk missing the chance to meet the ghost of Sarah Winchester. However if you are signed up for the event, thanks to IPextreme you’re going to have a fascinating and eerie time.
As all locals know, Sarah Winchester inherited tens of millions when her husband William Winchester died in 1881. He had founded the rifle company of the same name, and what with the Civil War and the Wild West proving massive markets to sell into, the fortune was vast when he died. By 1884, Sarah had run from New England to San Jose carrying her millions, and had begun to build and build and build her proto-Victorian wedding cake of a clapboard house. By the time she died almost 40 years later, the house had 40 bedrooms, multiple staircases that lead to nowhere, 47 fireplaces, almost 20 chimneys, and two ballrooms.
So you can understand why a tour of the Winchester Mystery House more than warrants signing up to attend the Constellations IP event. The tours will be interlaced with the technical program, and the whole thing will last from 8:30 am to 6:00 pm, including breakfast, lunch, an end-of day reception and a series of substantive talks from folks like IPextreme CEO Warren Savage, Semico President Jim Feldhan, Adapt IP CEO Mac McNamara, JB Systems President John Blyler, IPextreme SVP/GM Kands Manickam, Sonics VP Randy Smith, Extension Media’s Gabe Moretti, and Certus Co-Director Stephen Fairbanks.
September 11th, 2014 by Peggy Aycinena
My father died in April 2001 after a long fight with cancer. He had led a good life of personal and professional integrity, and the family grieved his passing intensely. Later that year, just 5 months after my father died, the attacks happened on 9/11.
The enormity of those events and their aftermath really defy description, but I had a particular response that was quite odd. Suddenly, I felt that the grief my family had experienced earlier that year had been way out of proportion to our loss. After all, we knew my father was ill, we knew he had little time left, we had time to say goodbye. Those who lost loved ones on 9/11 did not have that luxury, and they had to comes to terms with a level of hatred that had savaged their entire existence.
Fast forward to July of 2006. The Design Automation Conference was in San Francisco for the first time in many years. I live in the Bay Area, was able to commute from home to DAC on public transportation, and was able to enjoy walking each morning from the Caltrain station at 4th and King to Moscone Center at 3rd and Howard.
On one of the days at DAC, I was moderating a panel on the Pavilion Stage in the Exhibit Hall and arrived in the area during the last few minutes of the previous panel. Jim Hogan was just wrapping up at the podium, as he was the moderator. After he finished and people in the audience began milling around, I stepped up onto the stage to prepare my own materials at the podium. Jim and I exchanged pleasantries and then he happened to look down at my shoes. Now I’m not claiming to be a fashionista, particularly in that hard-bitten world of EDA conferences, but what Jim said at that moment really caught me by surprise.
August 7th, 2014 by Peggy Aycinena
This blog started out as a mini-research project: How many members of EDAC are exhibiting at ARM TechCon 2014? I went into the project with the pre-conceived notion that ARM throws such a large shadow across the world of IP and EDA that everybody in EDAC would be exhibiting at ARM.
What I discovered, however, is something completely different. In examining the lists, I found that there are 4 overlapping circles – think Venn Diagram – that comprise the totality of a world made up of ARM TechCon exhibitors and EDAC members.
Here are the lists of EDAC members who are exhibiting versus those who are not:
July 28th, 2014 by Peggy Aycinena
There are three kinds of written word in the world today: books, newspapers/magazines, and all of the rest of it which now lives on the shifting sands of an ever-evolving electronic substrate. Even today, however, even as those ‘effervescent electrons’ garner more and more readers, it’s books-on-paper that continue to hold the most caché, the most gravitas-laden sense of permanence, and the most awe-inspring-for-the-ages kind of wow factor: Really? You wrote a book? Wow!
Hence, when a 220-page book-on-paper called Fabless: The Transformation of the Semiconductor Industry was made available to the EDA community at the 51st annual Design Automation Conference this past month in San Francisco, it was worth noting for several reasons: For the gravitas of the offering; For the permanence of the tome; And for the price, which thanks to eSilicon Corp. was free to all for the taking.
Written by SemiWiki.com gurus Daniel Nenni and Paul McLellan, this Fabulous Fabless book-on-paper was handed out during a buzzy networking event on the spacious East Side of Moscone Center early one evening during the week of DAC in June. At that noisy, ebullient reception, the libations were flowing liberally and so was the printed word.
Anyone milling about in the crowd quickly became the proud owner of Nenni/McLellan’s cheery, well-written history of the world – that special world consisting of everything termed “technology” since 1947 – and could even get signed copies, if they were able to elbow their way across the room to where the authors were perched side-by-side at a table with the express purpose of applying ink-to-paper on the front piece of their book.
July 24th, 2014 by Peggy Aycinena
The rumors are flying fast this week about Apple’s next product announcement. Many believe it will be a wearable, possibly a watch-like device. Happily, I’m one step ahead of that Silicon Valley-based behemoth with months of research into my own wearable, which will undoubtedly swamp the market and outsell Apple’s wearable by orders of magnitude.
I had a chance to discuss my project with Uniquify SVP Bob Smith in a recent phone call and started by asking how he felt about the IoT, the Internet of Things. Is it simply a trendy phrase emanating from tech sector marketeers?
Bob said no, and recounted the delight of a friend of his who owns an IoT-enabled crock pot. “The thing has WiFi connectivity,” Bob said, “which allows the guy to turn on the crock pot remotely, and at the appropriate hour, so dinner’s ready on time, but not overcooked.”
“Sounds like you’re okay with the whole IoT thing,” I responded, “so how about some feedback on my Dick Tracy keychain. It’s going to allow me to have keyless entry and ignition for my car, to open and close the garage door, to know if there’s sufficient milk in the fridge, and to also tell the time. In other words, it’s got a limited feature set, but importantly nobody will ever get locked out of their car again because the keychain will be strapped to their wrist.”
Bob commended the designated feature set, noted its simplicity and usefulness, and then agreed with one of my conclusions: After many months of conversation with IP companies about developing my product, the Product versus Services & Products is a legitimate topic when discussing the IP business model with vendors.
June 19th, 2014 by Peggy Aycinena
Among the least likely events to take place at a conference as big and noisy as the Design Automation Conference is an intense, unplugged conversation with an industry leader, especially in the midst of the Exhibit Hall. Nonetheless, I had a chance to sit and talk with eSilicon co-founder and CEO Jack Harding for almost an hour in his company booth on Monday morning, June 2nd, at DAC in San Francisco.
In the background, outside the flimsy walls of the suite in which we were talking, one could hear the roar of the opening-hour crowd in the exhibit hall, mixed with the unmistakable sounds of Gary Smith revving up nearby for his annual Pavilion Panel in that blues band style he favors.
Prior to June 2nd, I hadn’t seen Jack Harding for 7 years. At that time, thanks to Brian Fuller’s eavesdropping on a private conversation, my disagreement with Jack about how tech leaders get their kids to study technology ended up in Brian’s blog for all the world to read. If Jack knew, he probably didn’t care – he’s always lived by his own rules – whereas I followed rules written by others, so I did care and hence approached this month’s appointment at DAC with marked trepidation. How unnecessary.
Harding never mentioned our disagreement in 2007. Instead I found him a great conversationalist, honest, self-effacing in a particular way, and interested in a wide range of issues. Naturally, I don’t regret Brian Fuller wasn’t hovering nearby to report out on the conversation, but I do regret Jack and I didn’t have an additional hour to chat in San Francisco. He began by reminding me that success in the tech sector can depend on a host of “exogenous variables.”
June 18th, 2014 by Peggy Aycinena
Monday at DAC 2014 in San Francisco was IP Day. Part of the day’s program included a panel featuring entrepreneurs pursuing the business of third-party IP: CAST’s Hal Barbour, Truechip Solutions’ Shishir Gupta, IPextreme’s Warren Savage, Methods2Business’ Marleen Boonen, and Recore Systems’ Dirk Logie.
After the panel, I had a chance to speak with Hal Barbour, CEO at CAST. I asked him if the received wisdom is correct – most innovation in silicon IP comes from small companies.
Hal said, “Traditionally, almost all innovation in the SIP business has come from small entrepreneurial companies. Large companies have gained their position through aggressive acquisitions, and not through internal development. Unless things change in unforeseen ways, it’s going to be difficult for the large companies to dramatically change this model.”
June 4th, 2014 by Peggy Aycinena
This week, in the early hours just prior to the opening of DAC, Synopsys announced a new initiative to reshape the world of IP. It’s called the IP Accelerated initiative, but it might as well as be called IP360. Just as Cadence’s EDA360 initiative was meant to reshape the design tool flow in the image of Cadence, Synopsys’ IP360 is meant to reshape the IP use and integration flow in the image of Synopsys.
And where EDA360 had three parts: System, SoC, and Silicon Realization, so IP360 has three parts: IP Prototyping, Architecting, and Integration. More specifically, the IP Accelerated initiative includes new IP prototyping kits with reference designs for IP preloaded into a HAPS-DX prototyping system, software development kits with processor subsystem reference designs and configurable models of DesignWare IP, and customized IP subsystems to augment Synopsys’ IP portfolio.
In other words, it’s all about “one-stop shopping,” per my September 30th conversation with Synopsys’ John Koeter, VP of Marketing for IP & Prototyping. “Synopsys has a broad portfolio of high-quality IP,” he said, and that combined with “our development kits for prototyping and software developmental” means that if you know how to reach Synopsys, you’re set and ready to go.