EDACafe Weekly Review June 13th, 2013

TSMC Ecosystem Moving Online
June 13, 2013  by Tom Quan

There has been a great proliferation in the quantity and quality of online resources for IC designers over the past two decades.  This expanding set of options benefits both the designers and ecosystem partners such as foundries, tool vendors and IP suppliers.

For intellectual property (IP), multiple established sites deliver IP cataloging, news, planning and aggregation, and consulting.  These useful services come from established providers like ChipEstimate, Design & Reuse, and Silicon-IP.  Providing fast access to detailed information on thousands of IP alternatives helps build the market for IP innovators while providing designers with myriad technology solutions.

Web-based EDA solutions are also becoming more mainstream.  Many are ideally suited to the advantages that only online resources can deliver.  Examples include Cadence’s hosted design solution, Mentor’s thermal analysis, Synopsys’ logic verification and Nimbic’s electromagnetic analysis.  With seemingly unlimited compute power residing “in the cloud,” designers can have on-demand access to these types of scalable tools, eliminating constraints on their productivity.

 

Every year, Forbes publishes a list of the Best Companies To Work For. The winners are always big companies, ones well known by you and me. The problem is that Forbes’ polling techniques are flawed. If they were not, EDA stalwart Real Intent would most definitely make the list, particularly if the folks from Forbes were to have been in on a recent phone call with Real Intent President & CEO Prakash Narain.

 

Freescale IP Design Manager Jose Nunez presented a tutorial on Tuesday, June 4th, at the Design Automation Conference in Austin entitled “Challenges of Integrating External IP”.  Through a show of hands, he found the majority of his audience were IP users and therefore knew his comments would be of more than passing interest.

Nunez first noted there are even challenges in reusing internally-generated IP – big companies often have multiple groups, each with different ways and methodologies for designing IP blocks. He said, however, his talk would focus on licensing third-party IP – standard IP such as PCI Express and USB, which would add no value to Freescale if developed internally, as well as other types of IP, which if developed internally might exceed a need-by date. In such cases, he said, licensing third-party IP almost always proves cheaper in the long run, but it has to be done with care!

Nunez cited common misconceptions: 1) When companies use widely-available third-party IP from known providers, it means those blocks come with fewer bugs. 2) If everybody’s using third-party IP, it can’t be that hard to integrate it into a project. 3) Third-party IP always delivers best-in-class features, maturity, power and speed.  Having set the stage, he then listed some straightforward guidelines for interfacing with IP vendors, and using their products.

Back from DAC
June 11, 2013  by Dmitry Melnik

Functional Verification Insights from Austin

Aldec Dac 2013

I just returned  back to the office from the 50th Design Automation Conference (DAC) which took place in Austin, TX, on June 2—6. As I began compiling my trip report, I thought that I might share some of my observations, especially for those who couldn’t attend this industry event but still wanted to gain some insight.

 

 

Conference itself

One of the reasons I like DAC is that it has always been the main industry event, attracting people from all over the world, and provides participants with the opportunity to meet most of their key customers, ecosystem partners, and competitors in a single location. From an exhibitor’s perspective, DAC is mainly about engaging with attendees on the floor, learning about their current and anticipated challenges, and educating them on how they can innovate and succeed using our product offerings.

Looking Back on DAC 2013
June 7, 2013  by Tom Anderson, VP of Marketing

My last post provided some impressions on the first two days of the first-ever Design Automation Conference (DAC) in Austin. It was very personal and perhaps even a bit self-congratulatory since I was so excited about how well the conference had gone for Breker. Well, this post isn’t going to be any less upbeat since the final day of the show was also great fun. For a start, we scanned more badges on Wednesday than on either Monday or Tuesday. That has to be a DAC first.

In addition to the skit and musical entertainment in our DAC booth theater, we also offered a brief product overview and several guest presentations. I’d like to thank Brian Bailey of EDA DesignLine and Brian Bailey Consulting, J.U. Nambi of CMR, and Srini Venkataramanan of CVC. Each of their talks drew a crowd and contributed to the diversity of our theater program. I’d like to expand this even further at future shows, with customers and additional partners offering their thoughts.

I was pleased with the technical panel “Disruptive Verification Technologies: Can They Really Make a Difference?” on Wednesday morning. Moderator Brian Bailey wove together several threads about the state of functional verification and a couple of “non-answers” from the panelists opened up some additional topics. I thought that Breker CEO Adnan Hamid did a nice job of positioning our SoC verification approach as a rare example of a technology that is disruptive yet usable today.

After a very busy six days (two days of booth setup, an all-day company meeting, and three days of exhibits), I finally found an hour or so to wander through the Convention Center and see what other companies had done for the show. I spotted two other booths with professional entertainers, but no musicians. As far as I could tell, in the self-proclaimed Live Music Capital of the World, Breker was the only DAC exhibitor to feature live music in its booth.

Since I did my wandering around wearing the “Breker Man” cape from our skit, I saw lots of double-takes and a few doubling-overs with laughter. My former colleagues at Cadence teased me repeatedly and I’m sure there are incriminating photos somewhere on the Web, but I minded not a bit. The combination of recommendations from Gary Smith and others, Breker’s growing reputation, live music, and a wacky skit that stopped people in their tracks resulted in us gathering more than three times the leads of any previous DAC (or any other show).

Finally, I can’t say enough good things about the decision to hold DAC in Austin. Our lead number speaks for itself and, as I noted in my last post, we saw a lot of local folks who had never attended a DAC before. We had tons of good food, including four of the most famous BBQ joints, and I capped the week off with visits to the Blanton Museum of Art and the incredible Flatbed Press and Gallery before heading to the airport on Thursday. I’m planning a separate post on DAC locations, but for now suffice to say that I hope Austin becomes a regular stop.

Tom A.

The truth is out there … sometimes it’s in a blog.

 

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