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Posts Tagged ‘ARM’

SNUG: Lunch with a proper stranger

Thursday, March 28th, 2013


The best part of attending a conference like SNUG is plunging into a room of hundreds of anonymous lunch munchers and striking up a conversation with a stranger. Over the course of the meal, you’ll learn a little bit about somebody’s career, their expertise, and their concerns.

This week’s networking lunch at the Santa Clara Convention Center was no different. I had a chance to converse for 30 minutes with a lunch companion at a table full of strangers. By the end of the meal, I had heard first-hand about a really big problem for small IP vendors attempting to succeed in the current market – they can’t. According to my lunch companion, it’s nigh-on impossible to compete against ARM.


ARM & SNPS: implementing big.LITTLE

Thursday, March 21st, 2013


If you thought about going to the Synopsys Users Group meeting next week in Silicon Valley, there’s at least one topic that would make it worth your time: This week ARM and Synopsys announced “optimized 28-nm Synopsys Reference Implementations for ARM Cortex-A15 MPCore and Cortex-A7 MPCore processor clusters, as well as the CoreLink CCI-400 cache-coherent interconnect.”

The reference implementations are currently available, and include “scripts, floorplan, constraints and documentation” – scripts that are built on Synopsys’ tool Reference Methodologies and are optimized for high-performance cores. Clearly attending SNUG would clarify what you need to know to use all of this, but first apparently you need to understand ARM’s big.LITTLE processing. Which is what?


M&A: CDNS + Tensilica = win/win

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013


As the trading day in New York draws to a close, it would appear that some analysts are correct; the market’s not too pleased about yesterday’s announcement that Cadence is acquiring Tensilica. Shares of CDNS are trading down well over 3% today. But you know, the market’s stupid. They understand zip zero nada about EDA or IP, and really why should they?

After all, EDA and IP providers make the black magic that they do look so easy. And, they’re constantly telling people that what they do isn’t rocket science. But it is! The EDA vendors make the tools that IP vendors use to create their products, and designers use to integrate said IP into the larger designs. It’s called an eco-system and it is rocket science.

It’s also on the level of brain surgery, quantum physics, and a bunch of other esoteric science and engineering disciplines that require a lot of education and and a lot of OJT, and even then is really hard to do. How many traders on Wall Street, or the analysts who track it all, really understand what EDA and/or IP are all about? Exactly!


EDAC CEO Panel: Does ARM control the conversation?

Thursday, February 28th, 2013


If you’re free on the evening of Thursday, March 14th, you should plan on attending EDAC’s annual CEO Forecast Panel. It promises to be full of executive content, albeit perhaps a bit light on forecast content, but oh well. That’s the nature of life in the Publicly Traded Fast Lane these days.

Along with the CEOs of Mentor Graphics, Cadence, Synopsys, and Nimbic, the president of ARM will also be on stage, Simon Segars. Segars is no stranger to public speaking. You can hear his recent ARM TechCon 2012 keynote here. But it’s not what Segars will say on stage at the DoubleTree Hotel in San Jose on March 14th that matters. It’s his body language, and you’ll only be able to read that if you’re in the room.


ARM: We are the champions of the world

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.


MIPI Alliance: specifications for the external interface

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.”


SAME Forum: Mike Muller lights the way to 2020

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.


Synopsys: Writing the book on IP

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.


Chris Rowen: Tensilica’s rational trajectory

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…)

Hal Barbour: Master of the mega-trend

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.


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