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.
Kanai Ghosh: A singular effort that changes the conversation
May 9th, 2013 by Peggy Aycinena
There’s a guy working away in Bangalore today who would like to change your ideas about what you pay for EDA tools. His name is Kanai Ghosh and his tool suite is called edautils, as in EDA Utilities. I spoke with Kanai on Skype recently about his efforts.
He told me that after a number of years working in EDA and CAD tool development, he decided to design his own suite of tools. Now several years into that process, working nights and weekends in and around his day job, Kanai’s tools are available for free download on his website.
Per Kanai, edautils pays particular attention to problems associated with integrating IP into larger SoC projects – a critical problem, he says, because today’s design projects can include more than 250 pieces of IP. In addition, today’s SoC has “multiple power and voltage domains” which the designer has to deal with by changing the design on the fly as the design constraints evolve, the designer constantly making “tradeoffs between power/performance/area and the project budget.”
To meet these challenges, Kanai says he designed the Baya SoC platform integration tool, a part of edautil, to “take advantage of the IEEE 1685-2009 IP-XACT initiative. Baya is available in both GUI and Tcl command modes, includes more than 100 Tcl commands, a low-level API for users to manipulate the design database, and has a design-maturing reporting feature based on unconnected pins/ports in the design in progress.”
Meanwhile, Kanai says the other portion of the edautil suite, the Bridig tool, provides a set of “miscellaneous utilities around VHDL and Verilog that automate many small steps in the design process which previously had to be handled manually.
“The Brigid tool includes VHDL and Verlog parsers, testbench generators, vhdl2verilog and verilog2vhdl translators, verilog2systemc and vhdl2systemc translators, features for clock and reset tree extraction, a Verilog & VHDL sorting utility, Verilog encryption and decryption support for IP protection, and a design hierarchy and module dependency browser.”
During our conversation and a follow-on email, Kanai emphasized that both the Baya and Brigid tools have been implemented on Java: “It’s one of the most quickly evolving programming languages [in use today], which is widely used to develop software. Using Java, new applications can be developed quickly and easily without thinking about the memory/pointer issues that come up with C/C++.”
Addressing concerns about code written in Java, Kanai said, “Nowadays, one can buy a fast computer with many GB of memory at a very low price. So even if Java is slow and requires more memory than working in C/C++, the effectiveness of today’s compute machines makes up for that speed. And there are lots of resources available on the web based on Java, which makes that choice even more appropriate.”
Clearly, Kanai Ghosh has been working hard. If you’re worried, however, that he’s been spending his nights and weekends developing all of this stuff, but having little or no traction out in the real world, think again. Kanai told me many thousands of people around the world are aware of his work:
“The total download of edautils in 2012 was more than 10,000. Even this year, I can tell you that there are an amazing number of people who have downloaded edautils. And those downloads are coming from many well-known companies, spanning across semiconductors and EDA, and even universities – over 60,000 unique visitors to my website since I launched edautils.com in January 2012!”
If the amount of traffic coming to his website is any indication, and the wide range of companies accessing the tools, Kanai has clearly succeeded in making an impact. His is the type of effort that changes the conversation about how people develop tools for design, and what they pay for them.
You can see many testimonials listed on the front page of www.edautils.com, including users from Intel, TI, and Renesas.
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