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.
EDAC: What’s in a name?
March 9th, 2016 by Peggy Aycinena
Lots of people have been pointing out for a long time that membership in the EDA Consortium includes some of the biggest names in IP, not to mention embedded software, so not reflecting that reality in the organization’s name is pretty nonsensical. In fact, two recent blogs here on EDACafe specifically address the issue.
The first one is titled: “Answer’s nope: Should EDA Consortium become IP Consortium?” [September 30, 2015].
In this blog, I asked Mentor Graphics CEO Wally Rhines: “Aren’t the IP companies on the verge of overshadowing the size and impact of the EDA companies in the EDA Consortium. So much so, it seems like it’s time to change the name to the IP Consortium.”
Rhines responded, “It will never be the case that it’s all EDA or all IP. In fact, IP revenue is only one-third the size of the market tracked by MSS today. The other two-thirds is traditional EDA.
“Even ARM — although their market cap is $20 billion — their revenue is just about the same as Mentor’s. The EDA industry is a long way from being dominated by the IP industry, plus we’re in a very prosperous period in EDA. We’ve got 22 nanometers, 14, 10, 7 all working at the same time, so we’re meeting customer demands at all of these nodes.”
Last September, Dr. Rhines appeared distinctly underwhelmed by the argument that it’s time to change the Consortium’s name.
However, a different point of view was showcased in a second blog posted here last October: “Simon Davidmann: EDAC must evolve on multiple fronts” [October 15, 2015].
In that conversation, Imperas CEO Davidmann said, “You have to ask yourself: What are the companies that EDAC represents? The answer is, those companies that are made up of groups of people developing solutions for other groups of people, their customers, who are in turn trying to develop electronic products.
“EDAC can and should reflect that reality by aggressively expanding its membership, evolving to the point that it represents all companies involved in developing electronic products, the ones that focus on the hardware and also the ones focusing on the software component.
“The software in electronic products is becoming way more Important than the hardware component. EDAC must embrace this.
“When EDAC was started, it was about CAD tools. But design automation has evolved from schematic layout and simulation to a point where everything is focused on really big designs. Yes, IP is a fundamental part of that evolution and companies like Synopsys have made a lot of investment in IP, so EDAC has no problem including IP in its landscape.
“But the real problems today and tomorrow are about dealing with large systems on chips. Again, something that is moving the focus in the industry to software.
“It’s dynamic software verification and the associated virtual platforms which [are] the important next steps in re-focusing EDAC on the future of design. [In addition], the design automation industry must now include companies who can solve security problems, something that EDAC must also consider in the evolution of its constituency.
“Chip design is no longer just about design tools and IP, it’s about systems and the software that runs on those platforms. EDAC must become an industry organization that looks after all of the companies within the circle of technologies involved in electronic product design.
“It can’t just be about unified solutions provided by the EDA companies. It has to be about the larger reality of hardware/software design today. EDAC must embrace the multiple directions that truly represent all design technology providers.”
Clearly, EDAC has taken this type of commentary to heart and is changing its name to reflect the new realities. Wally Rhines’ distinguished provenance within EDAC notwithstanding, it would appear the future is overtaking the present and past within the EDA Consortium. Change is coming.
Of course, as valid as that change may be, such things are always hard – and expensive – so kudos to those who have applied their energies and consensus building to setting out a new name and associated road map for the organization.
The party starts at 6:30 pm on March 30th, runs to 8:30 pm. If you want to congratulate those who have put so much work into these changes, you should be there.