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DVCon Munich: IP Integration, Automotive, Smart Cities, System Design

Thursday, October 13th, 2016


Next week, DVCon is once again in Europe, October 19-20 in Munich
. A marvelous agenda has been laid out for this year’s 2-day conference, including three keynoters that pretty much sum up the state of things in the industry here in 2016. If you want to know where to apply your resources – both human and material – over the next decade, look no farther than these three talks.

It’s a tiring trip from Silicon Valley to Bavaria, but the quality of these presentations, combined with the rest of the content at DVCon Europe, will make the trip well worth the effort. Hope you’re going.


The Tate Effect: Confidence in Flex Logix Team & Technology

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016


Geoff Tate, founding CEO at Rambus, is busy – again.
 These days he’s leading the charge with a new FPGA-based enterprise that, per Tate, wants to be “the first to the party” – a party that’s all about providing FGPA-based IP to a market increasingly in need of these products.

When Tate and I spoke by phone recently, he offered the Flex Logix elevator pitch, and then focused on the company’s August press release.

“We are like the ARM of FPGA,” Tate said, and then laughed. “No, we are not expecting to be acquired by SoftBank anytime soon.”

“However, ARM was the first to successfully embed processors,” he said, “and at Flex Logic we are [doing that] with FPGAs.”


UK’s ARM: We are all in this Alone together

Thursday, June 23rd, 2016


At this writing, midnight is approaching here in California
, it’s June 23rd, and highly anticipated news is arriving out of the UK. It’s Friday morning there and the results of the Should I stay or Should I go referendum have been announced. To the astonishment of some subset of the world, and undoubtedly their stock markets, the UK is leaving the European Union.

And so a page turns, another chapter begins, and now there’s a twist in the plot line that few saw coming. Although it’s a dark and starry night here, the sun is up in the UK and the future looks suddenly different, no matter if you’re standing on the streets of London, York, Edinburgh – or Cambridge.

The very same Cambridge where ARM Ltd. is headquartered.


CEDA Panel: Covering new ground at DAC 2016

Thursday, June 9th, 2016


When SRC’s Bill Joyner took the podium this past Sunday evening at the 53rd DAC in Austin
, he did something that’s never been done before: Present a panel about careers that wasn’t part of a Workshop for Women in EDA.

Up until 7 o’clock on June 5, 2016, a conversation about career perspectives was such a non-technical topic, it could only be found in Marie Pistilli’s beloved workshop, a venue where work/life balance, Academia vs. Industry, and how to promote your brand within the organization were thoroughly discussed every year for 15 years at DAC.

Now IEEE’s Council on EDA, CEDA, has made the bold decision to pick up where Marie’s workshop left off, sponsoring this week’s event and broadening the audience and the appeal.

Joyner had four people on his panel, a generous two hours to hash out various universal questions, and enough of a sense of humor to offer to wear the necktie he’d brought with him to add gravitas, or not to wear the tie to appear hipster and cool. He quickly decided to go without the tie, and the ensuing conversation went something like this.


Emulation: DVCon invites Rizzatti to Expound

Thursday, February 18th, 2016


The folks at DVCon have done a brilliant thing.
They’ve invited Lauro Rizzatti to present at their upcoming conference on a topic that Rizzatti knows better than anybody, emulation. Last year alone, he wrote 40 articles on the subject.

More importantly, of course, Rizzatti helped guide EVE, the high-flying European EDA company that led the field in emulation from their base in France before being acquired by Synopsys in 2012. I spoke with Rizzatti this week about emulation, his talk at DVCon, and his recent endeavors writing about a technology that’s taking the world of verification by storm.

He started by establishing the importance of emulation today: “This technology is here to stay. It’s been around for 30 years, and [historically] was something only the big companies could afford to buy and use. They needed an army of engineers. Today it’s no longer a niche technology, however; it’s mainstream.”


SmartFlow Compliance Solutions: Taking the offensive on Software Piracy

Wednesday, November 18th, 2015


This week Synopsys announced “unauthorized third-party access to Synopsys EDA, IP and optical products
and product license files through its customer-facing license and product delivery system. The unauthorized access, which began in July 2015, was discovered by Synopsys in October 2015.”

The fact that the company needs to make this announcement is indicative of a new attitude towards an old problem: Software companies who lose their products to theft and piracy no longer want to just buck up and get past it, particularly in EDA. Instead, they want tools and strategies to go after their adversaries. The newly launched startup SmartFlow Compliance Solutions, just announced last week, is planning to offer such tools.

Launched by Ted Miracco – one of the founders of EDA vendor AWR Corp. – SmartFlow is based on his experience dealing with pirated AWR product software, including tracking down and forcing restitution from companies who were proven culpable. In a phone call last week discussing his new company, Miracco said pirated software is more than just an occasional nuisance, it’s resulting in billions of dollars in lost revenue to the companies whose products are being used without licenses.

More profound than lost profits, however, is the ’tilting’ of the playing field. When companies who use pirated software to design chips or systems are able to undercut their competition by underpaying for the tools they need, or by not paying at all, the competition is hobbled.

In response, SmartFlow has engineered a complex set of tools and protocols that will allow companies to unearth pirated instantiations of their software across a variety of customer profiles. To begin their effort to build those tools, Miracco and his team looked closely at software non-compliance around the globe, parsed the different types of pirates and examined their principal strategies.


Austin to ARM: Aristocracy to Meritocracy

Wednesday, September 9th, 2015


ARM must be doing something right
when among the eight corporate sponsors for their upcoming Silicon Valley users conference in November, the top three companies in EDA are listed as Diamond or Platinum.

Cadence is Diamond, undoubtedly, because company President & CEO Lip-Bu Tan is co-chair of EDAC, and ARM CEO Simon Segars is on the EDAC Board. But why would Mentor and Synposys spend good money being Platinum sponsors of ARM’s show when they could put that particular chunk of disposable income into their own user conferences, or even DAC? Particularly since Mentor and Synopsys sell IP, as does Cadence, so in some ways the three EDA companies may actually be competing with ARM.

There are three possible answers: A) Mentor, Synopsys, and Cadence serve as channels for ARM products. B) Mentor, Synopsys, and Cadence want to see, and be seen by, ARM’s enormous worldwide customer base. C) ARM has the winning hand in today’s semiconductor supply chain, so either the Big Three in EDA pony up to help sponsor ARM TechCon, or the UK-based IP behemoth won’t cooperate in the EDA world; they won’t offer pointers or tool-development advice for the third-party design software that EDA vendors sell and ARM customers [might] buy.


Vacation’s over: Autumn Conferences Ramp-up

Wednesday, August 12th, 2015


Autumn used to start in September, but now classes and conferences commence in August and vacation ends just that much sooner. Here’s a list of various events you should consider attending between now and the end of the year, with thanks to conference organizers for the associated descriptions.

Scanning the range of topics, it’s clear the combined IP and EDA industries have an increasingly broad range of interests: IoT, autos, wearables, software security, verifying/integrating IP, power, device physics, memory, embedded processors and software, sensors, MEMS, a range of standards, networking, both the professional and technical kinds, and “synergistic collaborative design” both up in the cloud and down below on solid ground.


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.”


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, 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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