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Peggy Aycinena
Peggy Aycinena
Peggy Aycinena is a freelance journalist and Editor of EDA Confidential at www.aycinena.com. She can be reached at peggy at aycinena dot com.

Sage: Who Checks the Checkers?

 
September 28th, 2017 by Peggy Aycinena


Sage Design Automation offers iDRM
– integrated design rule management – a “true design rule compiler that enables quick graphical capturing of design rules and uses them as executable expressions for Specification, Communication, Validation, DRC, Analysis, Deck validation and coverage, and DRC deck generation.”

But this is not about Sage, it’s about how Sage fits into an evolving industry from the point of view of Raul Camposano, EDA veteran, former CTO at Synopsys, and currently CEO at Sage. Like so many serving in leadership roles in the industry, Dr. Camposano is a man of good cheer and an optimistic observer.

Read the rest of Sage: Who Checks the Checkers?

The Cognitive Era: Don’t be fooled, it’s already over

 
September 14th, 2017 by Peggy Aycinena


In a unique new partnership between the ESD Alliance and San Jose State University
, SJSU alum and legendary EDA VC Jim Hogan will be speaking on campus this coming Wednesday evening, September 20th, at 7:00 pm.

Hogan’s topic is revolutionary, the Cognitive Era, and the official message behind his talk is all things bright and beautiful:

“Cognitive science is a diverse field which is unified and motivated by a single basic inquiry: How does my education, career and life change in the Cognitive Era? How do people, animals or computers ‘think,’ act and learn? To understand the mind and brain, cognitive science brings together methods and discoveries from neuroscience, psychology, linguistics, philosophy and data/computer science.”

The unofficial message, however, ain’t so cheery. That’s because we already know how people think, act and learn. They do it all around us all the time, and so do we. We don’t need the sciences of neurology, psychology, linguology, philology, or digital-ology to explain it to us.

What we do need is for those disciplines to protect us from all that science and engineering has produced, the stuff that’s now overwhelming our sense of wholeness and health, sanity and serenity.

Read the rest of The Cognitive Era: Don’t be fooled, it’s already over

IC Manage: A Roadmap out to Forever

 
September 7th, 2017 by Peggy Aycinena


Talking to Dean Drako is probably a little like talking to Elon Musk:
Both men have their fingers in multiple pies. In Drako’s case, and apropos to semiconductor design, one pie includes the IP and EDA industries.

Dean Drako founded IC Manage in 2003, a company whose products are targeted at IC designers who need help coordinating their efforts, integrating third-party IP into their design equation, and accelerating design. Interestingly, at the same time Drako was founding IC Manage, he was also founding Barracuda Networks, and ran both companies simultaneously for a number of years.

Today 14 years later, Drako still serves as President and CEO of IC Manage, but is ‘only’ on the board of Barracuda. Lest you think his plate is not full enough, however, he’s also currently President and CEO of Eagle Eye Networks.

Prior to our phone call last week, I researched Drako on Wikipedia: “Drako has written a number of articles on Open Source, Big Data, and SoC design. He is a frequently invited speaker on the topic of entrepreneurship [and] is a holder of 27 patents, including patents in network security, network protocols, digital circuits, software, biochemical processes, and sporting equipment.”

Yeah, pretty much just like talking to Elon Musk.

Read the rest of IC Manage: A Roadmap out to Forever

Conversations: The Pulse of the Ecosystem

 
August 31st, 2017 by Peggy Aycinena


Between now and the end of 2017
, it’s my hope to speak to every company currently a member of the ESD Alliance. These companies vary in size, interests, product offerings, and leadership outlooks. The one thing they share, however, is a sense that together they enhance the ecosystem within which electronic systems are designed.

Over the last several months, I’ve had the opportunity to speak with several companies in the ecosystem about Grand Challenges in IP and EDA – Sonics, CAST, Silvaco, Synopsys, Adapt-IP, and Mentor Graphics.

Now the plan is to speak with companies that are specifically members of the ESD Alliance with the following questions in mind:

Read the rest of Conversations: The Pulse of the Ecosystem

History Lessons: Thomas Alva, Wilbur, Orville, Patents & You

 
August 24th, 2017 by Peggy Aycinena


Last month it was a visit to Thomas Alva Edison’s labs and manufacturing headquarters
in West Orange, New Jersey, and this month it was a 20-hour road trip to see the eclipse in rural Oregon, accompanied by a books-on-tape rendition of “The Wright Brothers” by David McCullough. These two things together – the visit and the road trip – brought into sharp focus the historical impact of the patent process on innovation and technology in the U.S.

Edison had only a grade-school education, yet his inventiveness and fierce sense of competition drove him to create not only world-changing technologies on his own, but to establish a revolutionary full-fledged R&D facility in West Orange [moved from its original location in Menlo Park] and the means by which ideas emanating from those labs could be commercialized and ramped to volume manufacturing. He wanted to own the entire process, from invention to final sale, and in many areas of science and engineering he did just that.

The Thomas Edison National Park is really just a series of wooden buildings where breakthroughs in the electric light bulb, and subsequent establishment of a power-distribution industry, as well as ground-breaking developments in recording sound, in particular the human voice, were pursued in lock-step with equally revolutionary developments in motion picture engineering. In fact, it was on this day in 1891 that Edison patented the Kinetograph, his term for a motion picture camera.

Read the rest of History Lessons: Thomas Alva, Wilbur, Orville, Patents & You

Turbines to Crimea: Is Mentor Graphics German, or still American?

 
August 3rd, 2017 by Peggy Aycinena


As national and international news crashes over the shore
, wave after wave, it’s easy to lose track of any particular item amidst the churning foam. The story discussed here, however, floats more visibly atop the flotsam and jetsam because it’s relevant to the IP and EDA industries.

Several weeks ago, Siemens AG – a German company – was caught-up in a violation of a part of the current EU sanctions against Russia. Siemens’s power turbines, having been sold to Russia – which was not a violation – were then allegedly modified and shipped off to Crimea for installation there – which was a violation.

You remember Crimea. It was part of Ukraine until 2014, and then it was not.

Anyway when the turbine situation was uncovered, the EU was not happy with Siemens; Siemens was not happy with Russia; if Russia or Crimea were unhappy with anyone, they kept it to themselves.

As a result of these revelations, Siemens AG now faces a fine from the EU, and has canceled several high-profile, lucrative business deals with Russian firms. Siemens is mad – slightly less rich, and mad.

Which brings us to Mentor Graphics. Such experts we are, who have had the chance to learn about Export Controls from the likes of Cadence’s Larry Disenhof or SmartFlow’s Ted Miracco, and it’s that knowledge which seems relevant to Mentor.

Read the rest of Turbines to Crimea: Is Mentor Graphics German, or still American?

Austemper & Functional Safety: The Alchemy of Modifying Design

 
July 26th, 2017 by Peggy Aycinena


It’s good to know another EDA startup has emerged
, they’ve been in such short supply of late.

Austin-based Austemper Design Systems is an EDA startup focused on functional safety that had the good luck to find the Design Automation Conference in their own front yard this year – making it easy for the company to exhibit in Austin and showcase their newly announced suite of tools.

Speaking by phone in a recent call, Austemper Founder & CEO Sanjay Pillay said, “We offer four different tools in our suite, one that analyzes quantitative metrics, two for design automation that go in and add diagnostic conversions and can be used for a single block of IP or for the entire design, and a fourth tool that runs fault-injection analysis.”

Given that the company has only been underway since March 2015, I suggested that tool portfolio represents a lot of productivity over a short amount of time.

Pillay agreed: “Although we are young, we are already working with the largest semiconductor companies in the world, and in the process of negotiating licenses with others.

“DAC was a great place to announce our products. We had more than 30 meetings and demonstrations with potential customers and partners during DAC. It was also an opportunity for us to meet in person with people we have interacted with over e-mails and conference calls, to make that human connection.”

Read the rest of Austemper & Functional Safety: The Alchemy of Modifying Design

Concertal Systems SDA: Holy Grail, the Musical

 
July 20th, 2017 by Peggy Aycinena


Last year, Texas-based Concertal Systems came to DAC, but only as an observer
. This year, the 15-month-old startup actually exhibited at the conference and, per reports, gave a pitch-perfect debut of their newly announced offerings: A suite of web-based tools – Audition, Orchestrate, Rehearse – which the company says effectively solves many of the problems associated with SDA, system design automation.

Per Concertal Founder and CEO Bob Ledzius, the automation of modern system design is completely dependent on the ability to seek out, vet, and integrate IP. But that process has been stalled, until now.

“A lot of people have been promising these capabilities,” Ledzius said during our recent phone call, “but we’re actually delivering on the promise with our SDA methodology.

“A lot of people have been doing great stuff to solve the incremental problems around system design, but we started by asking the right questions, not just the incremental ones. We took a step back and said, if you want the ability to develop designs in minutes – not months – then you need to develop a system for high-level IP reuse.

“Starting from this point of view, we came up with specific conclusions and solved the problem of IP verification and integration.”

Read the rest of Concertal Systems SDA: Holy Grail, the Musical

ARM: A Gnawing Sense of Unease

 
July 12th, 2017 by Peggy Aycinena


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.

Read the rest of ARM: A Gnawing Sense of Unease

SmartFlow: The Importance of Export Compliance

 
June 22nd, 2017 by Peggy Aycinena


Below is a contributed op-ed piece
from SmartFlow Compliance Solutions CEO Ted Miracco, and company AE Akshay Dhule.

I last spoke with Miracco in November 2015 when the company launched, offering tools and strategies to software companies who have lost product to theft and piracy. At the time, Synopsys was dealing with a publicly-acknowledged system breach, so that conversation with SmartFlow was particularly pertinent.

This current piece, however, is about export compliance, a topic also of intense interest to the EDA industry.

Cadence’s Larry Disenhof is the industry’s subject expert in this area. Having heard him speak numerous times, although the piece below ends with a plug for SmartFlow, Disenhoff would undoubtedly agree with an articulate reminder that export compliance is neither optional nor for the faint of heart.

The message is clear: If you’re running a software company, ignore these issues at your own peril.

Read the rest of SmartFlow: The Importance of Export Compliance

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