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 The Breker Trekker

Posts Tagged ‘Cadence’

The Ever-Changing Semiconductor Landscape

Wednesday, April 8th, 2015

By some measures, the EDA market is a dynamic one. Many of our technological advances have come from startups and small companies, a list that gets refreshed as new market needs arise and as former independents get acquired or merge. The technology changes constantly to meet the needs of the semiconductor suppliers and system houses that are our customers. However, when it comes to market leadership EDA is incredibly static. The same three big companies have been at the top for more than 20 years now, we believe ever since Cadence swallowed Valid in 1991 and Synopsys moved into the third spot. Of course there has been some shuffling among Cadence, Synopsys, and Mentor, but that has happened only a few times.

This is in sharp contrast to the semiconductor business. Although Intel and Samsung have been at the top for more than ten years, several different companies have been number three and four during this period, with many shuffles along the way. There has been constant churn below the top slots, with several dramatic success stories for new vendors emerging during this same period. Since semiconductor companies are a main source of sales for EDA, we pay a lot of attention to the market and how it evolves. In this post we show one noteworthy market assessment and discuss some of the reasons for the changes and some of the implications for the industry as a whole.

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Guest Post: What’s in a Name?

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014

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.

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Some Thoughts on SIPs, VIPs, and SMIPs

Thursday, November 13th, 2014

In my recent report from the Silicon Valley IP Users Conference, I passed on the prediction that the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of semiconductor (SIP) is expected to be 12% for the next five years. Clearly there is a growing need for portions of huge SoCs to be pre-designed, pre-verified, and delivered as reusable SIP. This is a trend that started about 20 years ago with the earliest SIP vendors selling libraries and cores for standardized functions along with verification IP (VIP) to support their use.

The IP (SIP and VIP) industry has evolved a lot since then. The most obvious change is that it has been largely consumed by the major EDA companies. Synopsys and Cadence, in particular, have made many acquisitions in this space over the past few years. Some of the price tags have been quite impressive:  US$380M  for Tensilica, US$315M for Virage, and about the same price for Denali. In this post, I’d like to share some thoughts on the evolution of the IP business.

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Was DVCon India Really the Portable Stimulus Conference?

Friday, October 3rd, 2014

Over the last several blogs posts, we’ve twice previewed the very first DVCon India show, celebrating it as a sign of India’s ever-growing importance in the electronics industry. We also mentioned that our co-founder and CEO Adnan Hamid would be presenting in two tutorials and helping to staff our booth in the exhibition. Now that the event is over and Adnan has returned from his travels, we’d like to fill you in what turned out to be a great event.

We have heard nothing but positive comments from attendees, vendors, and organizers. The conference was well attended, full of strong technical content, and well run. Perhaps the dominant theme to emerge was the importance of the “portable stimulus” effort undertaken by Accellera and the solutions available to meet some or all of the vision. It may be a stretch to call DVCon India the “Portable Stimulus Conference” but surely the first day (Thursday) was “Portable Stimulus Day” and we’ll explain why.

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See Breker at Four Shows in Four Locations over Four Weeks

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014

What verification engineer doesn’t love the occasional conference? It’s a chance to get out of the cubicle farm, hang out with colleagues from other companies, listen to stimulating technical talks, and catch up on what EDA, IP, and semiconductor vendors have been doing. Even in a time of tight travel budgets, the right conference can provide dividends far beyond its cost. There are a lot of smart people in the electronics industry and it’s valuable to share problems and solutions with them.

There are actually quite a few conferences and trade shows that have interesting verification content and draw significant numbers of verification engineers. One of the most-read posts in the history of The Breker Trekker blog was a discussion on which conferences verification engineers like best. We are constantly evaluating which events provide the most value to us and our customers, and find ourselves in the unusual position of having four shows scheduled in four locations over the next four weeks.

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Preview of an Exciting New Show: DVCon India

Friday, August 29th, 2014

As anyone involved in chip development knows, one of the biggest events of the year is the Design and Verification Conference and Exhibition, DVCon, which has been held for many years in San Jose. I’ve frequently shared my thoughts on this show and its importance to the industry in this blog. In just four weeks, DVCon expands to Bangalore for the very first DVCon India show. The full program for September 25-26 is now online and I’d like to focus on a few highlights from my perspective.

The first thing to note is the breadth of material being covered. The technical track is split between electronic system level (ESL) and design and verification (DV) topics, with a slight edge to the latter in terms of overall sessions. There are as many as five tracks in parallel, which is quite an accomplishment for a brand-new event. I know that there were many excellent session proposals submitted, which means that those selected are likely to be of high quality and wide interest.

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To Standardize or Not to Standardize, That Is the Question

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

As regular readers know, Breker’s claim to fame is the automatic generation of multi-threaded, self-verifying test cases that run on multiple heterogeneous processors within an SoC. The source for the generation process is a graph-based scenario model that captures the design intent and verification space. We chose graphs as an enabling technology more than ten years ago for a number of reasons, some of which we’ll discuss in this post.

The catalyst for this discussion is a new effort within the Accellera standards body to form the Portable Stimulus Specification Proposed Working Group (PWG). Basically, Accellera has formed a proposed working group to determine whether a technical working group should be established to start developing a specification for a standard. What does this have to do with graphs, and Breker? We’ll do our best to explain the history and current status.

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Extending Verification Planning to Formal and Graphs

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

Last week I mentioned that I attended the third “Decoding Formal Club” meeting sponsored by formal consulting experts Oski Technology. I started out to write about this event but was distracted by the big news that Cadence had acquired formal leader Jasper Design Automation for $170M. As the meeting was winding up, a friend from Mentor picked up the news alert and showed it to me. I pulled up the news on my own smartphone and showed it to Vigyan Singhal, CEO of Oski and also the original founder of Jasper.

So I had the pleasure of informing Jasper’s founder that his old company had been acquired. But I don’t want to let that bit of fun or the Jasper news in general to lead us to forget about the Decoding Formal meeting. There were two primary segments: a presentation from Vigyan on verification planning and a panel of expert users on building a formal team. I’ll talk about the presentation today and cover the panel in a future post.

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April 21, 2014: A-Day for Formal Analysis

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

Yesterday may well go down in EDA history as one of the most important days in the evolution of the market for formal analysis. If you had asked me why yesterday morning, I would have said it was because I was attending the third “Decoding Formal Club” meeting sponsored by formal consulting experts Oski Technology. The range of companies represented there, and the enthusiasm for the topic, was a clear indication that formal has become an A-list technology for many verification teams.

So I planned to write today’s post about this meeting. But then, just as it was ending and Oski was thanking all the participants, news broke that Cadence had acquired formal leader Jasper Design Automation for $170M. Of course, this news was of intense interest to the attendees. It made yesterday “Acquisition Day” for formal analysis, so I’ll dub it “A-Day” and provide some thoughts in this post. I will talk a bit about the meeting as well, but will go into more details about the material presented in a future post.

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The Dawn of the Embedded Verification Engineer

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

Some readers may recall that I was on the panel “Is Software the Missing Piece In Verification?” at this year’s DVCon. I mentioned a bit about it in my summary of that show, and moderator Ed Sperling has done an outstanding job of transcribing the panel discussion and transforming it into one of his signature “Experts at the Table” three part series on SemiconductorEngineering. I encourage you to read all three parts since a bunch of interesting topics came up.

Cadence recently published an odd blog post that appeared to be based on the panel: it showed a photo of the panelists and included quotes from several of them, although it mentioned neither DVCon nor the panel. Perhaps they were trying to make it sound as if they held a separate event. They quoted their own representative, the panelist from Vayavya, and the panelist from Intel (although they didn’t list his affiliation). But they did hit on one of the more lively topics of the panel: the changing role of the verification engineer.

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