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Archive for August, 2013

An EDA Industry of Startups, Behemoths, Corner Stores, and Zombies?

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

From the blog stats it seems clear that late August is a slow time with lots of folks on vacation, so I’ll take a break from the heavy technical topics to chat about the industry. Long before I worked for an EDA company, I was an active participant as a user of EDA tools and as a CAD manager tasked with evaluating them and integrating them together. In that role, I loved working with interesting startups that had new ideas for electronic development.

It was part of my job to follow the EDA industry closely so that we could choose our tool investments based on both strength of technology and likelihood of vendor success. It seemed to me that the industry was divided into only three categories: major leaguers, minor leaguers, and startups. I observed that nearly all EDA startups disappeared after three or four years, with three possible endgames: acquisition, initial public offering (IPO), or bankruptcy.


If You’re Not Measuring System Coverage, Your SoC Is at Risk

Monday, August 19th, 2013

No SoC verification engineer worthy of the title would argue that coverage is unimportant. Even back in the 1980s, before commercial coverage tools and industry standards were available, leading ASIC teams manually added coverage code into their testbenches. They checked that key state machines visited all legal states or made all legal transitions, or that a processor executed all opcodes in its instruction set, over the course of a simulation test.

Verification teams who ignored coverage in those days were at risk of letting bugs slip through to silicon. The old maxim “if you don’t verify it, it’s broken” summed the situation up well. Today, leading SoC teams have adopted system coverage. Those who are ignoring this aspect of coverage are at risk of letting serious system-level bugs slip through. Let’s talk about system coverage and why it’s different from other metrics in use today.


Guest Post: A Look at DAC through Ray-Bans

Monday, August 12th, 2013

The electronics industry is still buzzing over the first Design Automation Conference (DAC) held in Austin in June. Bob Smith, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Business Development at Uniquify, offers his perspective:

The Uniquify team looked at this year’s DAC through the Ray-Ban-like sunglasses we used as giveaways and liked what we saw. Exhibitors had cautious optimism prior to this year’s conference and Austin didn’t disappoint. All in all, everyone seemed delighted to be in the capital of the Lone Star State.


We Weren’t Kidding about Redefining “DAC” and “EDA”

Monday, August 5th, 2013

Back in March I published an opinion piece in Chip Design magazine about redefining “DAC” from “Design Automation Conference” to “Development Automation Conference” and “EDA” from “Electronic Design Automation” to “Electronic Development Automation” to reflect reality. It generated a few comments and got a few people talking but that’s as far as it went.

I certainly didn’t expect a groundswell of support or an overnight change, but I was serious about my reasoning. I think that describing the incredibly complex development process for electronic products as “design” is outdated and not representative of the wide range of skills required.


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