Posts Tagged ‘ESD Alliance’
Wednesday, July 12th, 2017
It’s been a year since two cataclysmic news bits hit the wires, the two stories not unrelated.
The UK decided to Brexit the EU on 23 June 2016, and ARM announced it had been sold to Tokyo-based SoftBank three weeks later, on 18 July 2016. For some, these developments would have been unthinkable up to the moment they unfolded, but now they’re both a reality.
Article 50 was triggered by the British PM on 29 March 2017, and the UK will no longer be in the EU as of March 2019.
ARM is no longer publicly traded, and although it was once the crown jewel of Britain’s technical portfolio, it is now a wholly owned Japanese enterprise. Or at least it was, until 7 March 2017 when SoftBank announced an even more astonishing bit of news.
Thursday, May 18th, 2017
Here begins the first of four dialogs about Grand Challenges in IP. This first installment is a conversation with Sonics co-Founder and CEO Grant Pierce, who also currently serves as Chair of the ESD Alliance. We spoke by phone earlier this week.
Asked to enumerate the Grand Challenges in IP he sees today, Pierce began: “Having been in the industry for 20 years myself, I am surprised that we still have some challenges ahead of us. We have new entrants into the industry that are more focused at the system level, however, with customers coming in to interact with the IP guys directly to get their custom designs done.
“What I am seeing today, versus 20 years ago, is the emergence of Machine Learning. And that brings with it some technical challenges. On the one hand, they are very familiar – the age-old challenges about bandwidth and throughput – but on the other hand, they are also very new. Today’s applications are driving things together in a totally new way.
Thursday, April 13th, 2017
Something eerie and inexplicable happened on Thursday evening, April 6th. Out of nowhere, an intense storm swept through the Bay Area, unannounced and without warning. The skies darkened, the winds howled, severe rain pelted the crowded, suddenly dangerous freeways, and hundreds of thousands lost power.
Meanwhile, exactly in the midst of the most violent part of this mysterious storm, the CEOs of the four most important companies within the ESD Alliance sat on stools in front of an audience assembled at Synopsys and chatted about this, that, and the other. Seemingly oblivious to the profound violence unleashing itself just outside the windows, they acted as if nothing was amiss.
Everything in the industry – and the world – was in order: Wonderful, with the data pointing continuously up and to the right, and everywhere ample evidence for a bullish, optimistic, and excited outlook on the future of EDA and IP.
No matter that Nature was having its way out there in the darkness, that the U.S. had bombed Syria the hour before their discussion began, that the drumbeat for answers about entanglements with Russia was quickening, or difficult conversations with the President of the PRC were underway that very day in Florida – the CEOs of Synopsys, Cadence, Siemens/Mentor Graphics and SoftBank/ARM sat relaxed and easy, basking in the evident vitality of the EDA and IP industries, and allowing themselves to be shepherded through a congenial confab of confident chit-chat by Ed Sperling of Semiconductor Engineering fame.
That fact that the vagaries of Nature never came into the conversation was not surprising; the fact the Mr. Sperling refused all opportunities to bring what he termed as “politics” into the conversation was quite the opposite. Surprising, that is.
Thursday, February 9th, 2017
This week, the ESD Alliance announced that Sonics CEO Grant Pierce has been elected chair of the organization’s Board of Directors. His election is unique in several ways: Pierce is the first CEO of an IP company to lead the Alliance; he replaces two co-chairs, Cadence CEO Lip-Bu Tan and PDF Solutions, John Kibarian; and he is only the second CEO of a non-publicly traded company to serve as Board Chair, the other being Jasper CEO Kathryn Kranen who took the reins in 2012.
When Pierce and I spoke by phone on Tuesday about his election, he noted the unique circumstances of his new leadership role: “When I joined the board several years ago, it was with the intention to add a new point of view to what was then the EDA Consortium, to help the organization reflect the emerging reality of what was happening in the marketplace with respect to IP companies.
“In some ways, the IP companies consider themselves to be a necessary evil. Every chip developed today involves some sort of third-party IP, so having a place on the Board of the ESD Alliance is essential.”
Thursday, January 19th, 2017
At the ESD Alliance panel on the Cadence campus Wednesday night, it was Vista Ventures’ Jim Hogan who suggested the little open-source processor architecture called RISC-V will prove itself to be a plucky survivor when looming market realities hit 800-pound proprietary vendors like ARM and Intel. Hogan suggested RISC-V is positioned to survive that pending apocalypse just like “the mammals after the asteroid.”
Pretty dramatic stuff.
Hence it should not have been surprising, at the end of the 75-minute discussion on stage between Jim Hogan and Microsemi’s Ted Speers and SiFive’s Yunsup Lee, that I raised my hand and asked why Simon Segars was not in the room. After all, Simon Segars is both CEO of ARM and a key member of the Board of the Alliance that organized the Hogan-Speers-Lee program – a program where the emerging RISC-V movement was described as poised to upend the primacy of ARM etc.
Hogan responded to my question without answering: “Look, ARM is challenging by serving the low-cost processor market. License fees, royalty fees – that is what ARM wants for their low-power edge-based device. I think it was Simon, for example, who started talking to The Street about his economic strategy. It’s not really about what the best technology is, but about the economics. This is what gets the traction, and ARM will respond in an economic way.”
“Yes,” Ted Speers added, “and Intel and Imagination will also respond.”
Thursday, January 5th, 2017
One of your New Year’s Resolutions should be to further understand the philosophy, technology, and implications of the RISC-V movement. And there will be no better way to follow through on that resolution than to attend the upcoming ESD Alliance discussion on the topic.
In a nod to the best in situational irony, the Alliance is hosting an evening event in Silicon Valley on January 18th specifically to discuss this open source processor architecture, which per some has the potential to turn ARM’s market dominance on its ear.
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.
Thursday, September 15th, 2016
Synopsys has a problem. Per Norm Kelly, speaking at the ESD Alliance panel on September 14th in Silicon Valley, Synopsys loses fully a third of the revenue they’re owed each year for their vast catalog of IP because it’s stolen by Cheaters and used without paying any licensing or royalty fees.
Kelly said Synopsys earns about $200 million per year selling IP, and loses another $100 million to theft. Cheaters are a real problem, he lamented, and as Director of License Compliance for Synopsys he should know. Kelly did not have the floor to share these laments, however, until Warren Savage, GM of IP at Silvaco, opened the meeting.
Speaking from the podium as moderator of the evening’s discussion, Savage said the real problem is the bumblers, those designers and companies who lose track of licensing obligations for IP that was either purchased some time ago, or was brought into the design effort on a data stick fished out of the pocket of someone who’s joined the organization through a poorly managed M&A.
In other words, when Chuckles the Clown uses IP, often as not he doesn’t realize some monies are owed to the third-party IP vendor who created it in the first place. Savage offered this statistic: On an average SoC today, there are 150 to 200 blocks of IP, but only a small percentage of those blocks are actually paid for.
Thursday, September 8th, 2016
Over the last several weeks, the ESD Alliance has announced two more members, news of particular interest because both companies are IP vendors. C-Sky Microsystems provides 32-bit embedded CPU cores, and Silvaco provides EDA tools for development of analog/mixed-signal devices, power IC and memory design.
True, Silvaco doesn’t sound like an IP vendor until you remember that it just acquired IPextreme, a well-known player in the IP market headed up by Warren Savage. And Savage, now GM of Silvaco’s IP Division, has recently been named chair of the ESD Alliance Semiconductor IP Working Group, tasked with developing a common methodology, best practices for fingerprinting, and solutions for tracking and auditing IP.
Meanwhile, C-Sky Microsystems brings its own unique value proposition to ESD Alliance. Described in the Press Release as “the first IP company from China to join the ESD Alliance,” C-Sky says it intends to actively participate in Savages’ SIP Working Group. This second bit is admirable, but the first could prove complicated.
Thursday, August 11th, 2016
It’s fantastic to see that the ESD Alliance is following through with its new-found commitment to promote discussion about the IP industry. On Wednesday, September 14th, the Alliance is hosting an evening panel at their headquarters in Santa Clara to discuss semiconductor IP issues that “Keep You Awake at Night”.
As background, consider that the massive amounts of IP involved in building a modern SoC may translate into IP vendors losing millions of dollars if their IP is used therein without proper licensing. At the same time, semiconductor companies also wrestle with troubling issues if their engineers accidentally reuse a core without proper licensing, possibly exposing their employers to huge liabilities. The ESD Alliance event in September promises to address these thorny problems.
Moderated by industry leader Warren Savage – formerly CEO of IPextreme, but now GM of IP at Silvaco with the acquisition announced just prior to DAC – the evening’s two panelists come from interesting backgrounds.