The Breker Trekker
Tom Anderson, VP of Marketing
Tom Anderson is vice president of Marketing for Breker Verification Systems. He previously served as Product Management Group Director for Advanced Verification Solutions at Cadence, Technical Marketing Director in the Verification Group at Synopsys and Vice President of Applications Engineering at … More »
Guest Post: What’s in a Name?
December 16th, 2014 by Tom Anderson, VP of Marketing
Much as we like informing you about the latest technical advances at Breker and weighing in on various industry topics, we love to take a break every so often and welcome a guest blogger. The EDACafé statistics show that these usually draw very well, and doubtless they attract a varied set of readers. This week we’re delighted to welcome back emulation expert and verification consultant Lauro Rizzatti, who has chosen to provide us with a fun look at the art and science of naming EDA companies and their products:
What’s in a name? Apparently, plenty. Let’s dispense some holiday cheer, kick back and forgo any technical discussion for a look at how a few companies in our industry got their names. Naming companies and products is big business. In fact, an entire industry is devoted to coming up with the perfect name to neatly express a company’s mission and the product portfolio. In some cases, though, companies stick closer to their employees and have contests where they can suggest names. That’s how OneSpin Solutions got its name. An R&D consultant in the U.K. came up with the name and won a case of beer for his efforts.
It’s interesting to look at the big three–Cadence, suggested by at least one employee from the merged SDA and ECAD, Mentor, and Synopsys–and the names selected for their hardware emulators. Cadence’s Palladium is named for an essential chemical element (not a concert hall, nor for the legendary Renaissance Italian architect Palladio) and its rapid prototyping tool is called Protium, another chemical element, though it’s also the name of a symbolic programming language.
Carbon Design Systems, known for its virtual prototyping tool, was named for an essential element as well. Carbon, it seems, is an essential part of the design flow. Veloce from Mentor Graphics is Italian for quick, fast and speedy. ZeBu was coined by EVE, formerly known as Emulation and Verification Engineering and now part of Synopsys (a combination of synthesis and optimization). ZeBu is short for zero bugs.
Oski Technology, the formal verification service provider, is named for the bear mascot at the University of California at Berkeley. S2C is an abbreviation for “silicon to chip” and it provides FPGA prototyping solutions. Plunify, also in the FPGA realm, is short for “programmable logic unify.” “We wanted to create a unique approach to solving FPGA design problems that works for all FPGAs,” explains Harnhua Ng, Plunify’s CEO.
Warren Savage, CEO of IPExteme, may have the best story to describe the company name. “In the summer of 2003, I was a Group Director at Synopsys. I had been running both large projects around IP within DesignWare and some strategic projects with large semiconductor companies around teaching them how to create internal portfolios of reusable IP. This was based on the methodologies and expertise we had developed over the years in the IP business unit. I was on a round-the-world tour with stops in Germany and India visiting my teams there, but with a one last stop in Taiwan for some customer meetings before heading home to California.
“After a long day of meetings and dinner, I retired to the Ambassador Hotel in Hsinchu and decided to unwind a bit more. I headed to the hotel lounge to enjoy a scotch and nice cigar while curling up with a copy of Wired Magazine I’d brought along. Within it, there was an article on ‘extreme programming’ and how it was radically different from conventional ‘waterfall’ software development approaches. The concept of ‘user stories’ and ‘task cards’ was really fascinating as it mirrored some of the groundbreaking approaches we developed for creating IP in my own groups.
“I went on to read as much as I could about XP, including Kent Beck’s seminal book on the topic ‘Extreme Programming Explained.’ It got me thinking about some really big ideas — like what if the intellectual output of the entire semiconductor industry could be harnessed and shared. That’s IP reuse to the extreme.
“I socialized some of these ideas within Synopsys, but the vision was a just a little too ‘extreme’ for the time. In January 2004, I left Synopsys along with some of the best engineers on my team and started IPextreme to work on new, innovative business models and methodologies for the IP industry. They were radical at the time but are becoming commonplace with Agile methodologies now being explored for hardware. (Note the new “Agile IC” Linkedin Group.) One of the great things about IPextreme is that we still pride ourselves on breaking the mold, trying new things and our fearlessness in pushing the envelope.”
Well said, Warren. Wouldn’t you agree the names and the reasons for the names are all pretty ingenious? Let’s toast, then, the bright minds of our industry. We’re not only innovative, we’re creative as well. Happy Holidays!
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