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Posts Tagged ‘ARM’

DesignWare EV IP: Convolutional Neural Networks at Core of Capabilities

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

 

Early Monday morning, Synopsys announced several new bits have been added to their impressive bucket of IP blocks, a new family of DesignWare processors targeted at vision applications. With an honorable pedigree – descent from the ARC technology that came to Synopsys via the 2010 acquisition of Virage Logic – the processors announced on March 30th are designed to be embedded in SoCs, specifically to meet a growing need to digitally “distinguish smiles from frowns, faces from cars, baby carriages from trees or dogs, and even sky from ground.”

These needs were articulated in a March 26th phone call with Synopsys Senior Manager of Product Marketing Mike Thompson, who enthusiastically explained, “The vision market will grow dramatically over the next several years. The next 10-to-15 years will be seen as a paradigm-shift period in how we interact with technology.”

That’s why he’s delighted Synopsys will surpass other players in driving that shift: “There are already a few vision processors available [on the market], and they are largely programmable. We took a slightly different approach, however, with the new DesignWare EV Processors we’ve developed.

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DVCon/SNUG: The Old, Old Story of Design by Committee

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015

 

We’re only gifted with so many hours of life here on earth, so why would anyone waste them listening to the same lengthy keynote twice in one month? That was the thought that raced through my mind when Synopsys’ Aart de Geus stepped up onto the stage in front of 500+ SNUG attendees at the Santa Clara Convention Center yesterday morning and clicked on his title foil.

“Shift Left,” it said.

“Oh no,” I said. For pity’s sake, this was the exact same talk co-CEO de Geus offered up less than three weeks ago on March 3rd at DVCon in San Jose. I looked around for the nearest exit.

Then, cooler heads prevailed. Mine.

Wait a minute, I said. Three weeks ago I sat in the back of a ballroom at the DoubleTree, listening over the heads of 350 people at DVCon, and typed everything the good doctor said into my tablet, verbatim. I’ve already done the heavy lifting here, I thought. I’ve got his script on my tablet, I’ve seen the slides, and I’ve heard the jokes.

Does Synopsys believe an entirely different audience attends DVCon than that which attends SNUG? Why else would they present the exact same talk at the two venues? Perhaps no one at SNUG actually does verification? Why not compare the SNUG talk to the one at DVCon?

So, with that much entertainment guaranteed I sat back and enjoyed the show.

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Sonics’ Randy Smith: Why Integrity makes IP tick

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

 

Randy Smith bring a lot of humanity to his role as Vice President of Marketing at Sonics, and a lot of frequent flier miles. The day after we spoke by phone last week, he was set to fly to Japan for a week on business. When I asked if Japan was a new destination for him, he laughed.

“I’ve been to Japan over 150 times,” he said, “and because of that, I have lifelong business relationships there, having worked closely with customers, EDA vendors, design services and IP providers. That’s why my business card used to say ‘Randysan Marketing’. I always look forward to going to Japan, because it gives me the opportunity to touch bases with customers there and to [reconnect] with colleagues.”

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IoT: the A-to-Z of TechTalk at ARM TechCon

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

 

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.”

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Fabulous Fabless: Nenni & McLellan offer cure for common clutter

Monday, July 28th, 2014

 

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.

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IP @ DAC: Parties, Stuff & Bother

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

 

It’s just amazing that DAC has become so thoroughly a show about IP that there are two major parties happening in San Francisco in June that have IP in their name: HOT IP Party and Stars of IP Party.

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MyDesign: Final answers from IPextreme’s Warren Savage

Thursday, May 1st, 2014

 

Two things happened as a result of falling and breaking my right arm early on the morning of April 19th in Monterey: I instantly became a ‘Lefty’ for the first time in my life, and I missed Warren Savage’s presentation at EDPS later that day.

Warren is CEO and President of IPextreme, and I kid you not when I say that what he doesn’t know about the IP industry isn’t worth knowing. That’s why I wanted to hear Warren’s talk, and why I was very happy to talk to him this week about my Dick Tracy keychain project.

How do I learn to be a knowledgeable customer of the IP industry, I asked Warren, particularly when my hypothetical wearable is something I could really use right now: An SoC-based gadget, built with oodles of IP, to wear on my left wrist that’s got one small button to remotely unlock my car, one that will start my car, one that will open or close the garage door, one that will tell me if I’ve got enough milk in the fridge, one that will turn the heat up and down at home even if I’m not there, and prosaically, one that will show me the time.

Of course, now that I can’t use my right hand to push the buttons on the device strapped to my left wrist, I no longer want buttons. I want the thing to respond to voice commands – “Unlock.” “Ignition.” “Garage.” “Got milk?” “Set temp.” “Time?” – simple instructions that should only produce results when it’s my voice and nobody else’s.

Warren was extremely informative during our phone call. He understood I wasn’t looking for specific help with my design, but how to shop for the IP to go into my design. I started by telling him that my research into IP has so far included conversations with:

CASTHal Barbour, Nikos Zervas, and Paul Lindemann
SonicsGrant Pierce, Raymond Brinks
Adapt IPMac McNamara
S3Dermot Barry, Darren Hobbs

To further clarify the information gleaned from these people, my questions for Warren were very succinct, as were his answers.

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Jasper OpEd: Atrenta, Cadence, Elmer et al

Thursday, April 24th, 2014

 

This week, Cadence announced its intention to acquire Jasper Design Automation. The news precipitated a tsunami of commentary, some of which is included in this blog: Atrenta’s Piyush Sancheti deems the move to be a good one; Cadence’s Craig Cochran and Michal Siwinski second the motion; and Elmer, whose clairvoyance regarding a Jasper acquisition was criticized by Oz Levia last fall, asks if the Cadence move is more a matter of window dressing. Finally, I offer a brief prediction regarding one possible long-term effect of this M&A.

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Finally: IP now an Anchor Tenant at DAC!

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

 

Thanks to a lot of hard work and perseverance on the part of various thought leaders in the IP industry – folks like Mike McNamara, Warren Savage, McKenzie Mortensen, Clark Chen, Devin Persaud, Tiffany Sparks, Yervant Zorian, and Farzad Zarrinfar – at last, IP has become an anchor tenant at DAC.

A situation that’s been far too long in coming, given that these days there are approximately 30 companies in the EDA industry, but upwards of 500 in IP.  The fact is, if DAC didn’t make itself available to showcase an industry with 10x more possible exhibitors than EDA, where’s the future of the conference anyway?

I had a chance to speak with ‘Mac’ McNamara on Tuesday of this week about the IP Initiative he’s heading up for DAC 2014. [The others on the list above are on the committee.] Mac’s a legend in the EDA community based on his expertise and leadership roles at Chronologic, SureFire, Verisity and Cadence, where he headed up the company’s C-to-Silicon Compiler and Virtual Systems Platform. Mac left Cadence in 2012, and has served since then as CEO of Adapt IP, an IP startup that boasts both John Sanguinetti and Lucio Lanza on its board.

During our conversation, Mac said that anyone planning on attending the Design Automation Conference this June in San Francisco will want to be there on Monday, June 2nd. That is, anyone who’s interested in the IP industry.

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Sonics: IP Pricing and Protocols

Thursday, February 27th, 2014

 

It makes it worthwhile to show up for work on days when you get to have a conversation with people like the folks of Sonics, a System IP vendor based in Silicon Valley. Articulate and knowledgeable, they have a nuanced understanding of how the IP business works, its challenges and opportunities.

When I spoke to them last week about my ongoing project to assemble IP for the chip in my Dick Tracy keychain, President & CEO Grant Pierce and VP of Operations Raymond Brinks were both on the call. We started by talking about how IP is priced.

Per Pierce: “The conditions under which various customers buy and use IP can be quite different. We have some customers who are fairly sophisticated. We sell [such customers] licensed IP, offer some initial training, and then off they go. After that, apart from an occasional email, we have little contact with them. There are customers, however, who are opposite in the extreme.

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