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Posts Tagged ‘Synopsys’

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.


Using SIP: How they know what they know

Thursday, February 14th, 2013


After the euphoniously monikered IP provider, Uniquify, announced several weeks ago that the more whimsically monikered organization, Pixelworks, is using Uniquify’s DDR memory controller subsystem IP for multiple distinct processors that Pixelworks is, in turn, providing to TV makers who make 4Kx2K ultra high-def systems, one question still remained: How did Pixelworks know to use Uniquify’s offering?

According to a January 2013 article in IEEE Spectrum, knowing what IP to use in a project here in the 21st century is fairly easy knowledge to come by. I don’t know what planet the author of the op-ed piece, “Other People’s Knowledge”, lives on but it doesn’t seem to be the one that I hear about from the folks who make or buy third-party IP.

In fact, those people seem to indicate that knowing what IP to use in a particular project continues to be far more art than science. In particular, because until a system, or sub-system, is fully defined, modeled and simulated – let alone, manufactured and deployed in the field – one can never really know how a piece of IP is going to work in the environment into which it’s been placed.


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.


Warren Savage: the revolutionary in our midst

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012


Behind Warren Savage’s calm and courteous demeanor beats the heart of a revolutionary: A guy who not only talks the talk, but walks the walk of growing his beloved IP industry through the most radical of ideas – cooperation.

Warren is the founder and CEO of IPextreme, a Silicon-Valley based company helping other companies commercialize their IP, small nuggets of pure gold that would otherwise enjoy only internal use. With the assist of Warren & Co, that gold is beefed up, intensely documented, and then licensed to users outside the firewall who then have access to robust 3rd-party design blocks, yielding revenue back to the IP developers they would not otherwise enjoy.

So that’s Warren’s business, but what’s really impressive about Warren is the other half of his professional involvement: working through the GSA [Global Semiconductor Alliance] to enhance the well-being of all players in the IP industry, not just his customers. Warren chairs GSA’s Working Group on IP, and leads the Leadership Group subset within that Working Group.

Warren also founded and continues to lead Constellations, a consortium-like group of IP vendors who meet regularly to discuss business issues, develop joint solutions, and host invitation-only events for their customers. The next Constellations event is coming up in early October.

Clearly, Warren Savage is a revolutionary, someone who believes a rising tide raises all boats in the IP industry and acts vigorously on that belief. Warren and I spoke by phone on August 22nd.


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