EDACafe Weekly Review August 21st, 2014

Mixed-signal silicon design, bringing the worlds of analog and digital technology onto a single die, has never been an easy task. Formerly, the analog and digital teams would work independently on their designs, leaving the place and route team with the thankless task of integrating everything onto a single chip. A microcontroller design, with all of its carefully thought out peripherals, would be routed leaving analog-sized holes for the oscillator, ADC and transceivers needed to complete the design.

Composition, Chaining, and Vertical Reuse with TrekUVM
August 20, 2014  by Tom Anderson, VP of Marketing

Several posts back, we introduced the idea of “composing” higher-level verification elements from low-level elements with little or no effort. We discussed how this was not possible with traditional testbench elements such as virtual sequencers and scoreboards. We showed that Breker’s graph-based scenario models can be simply combined from the block level to the cluster level, and from the cluster level to the full-chip level.

Last week, we took the unusual step of announcing a new EDA product via social media rather than a traditional press release. The news about TrekUVM clearly spread; we had a nice spike in blog readership and an even bigger spike in traffic to our Web site. Since our readers have interest in this new product, we’d like to continue talking about it and, specifically, show how it fosters model composition and vertical reuse.

Simulate UVM & SystemVerilog online for free
August 19, 2014  by Sunil Sahoo

Aldec-on-EDA-Playground-200-170During a recent trip to Austin, Texas, I spent some time with Aldec Partner, Victor Lyuboslavsky of Victor EDA and creator of the EDA Playground. Victor EDA is one of those organizations that Aldec aligns easily with because we share a strong commitment to accelerate learning within the engineering community by providing the right tools, training and resources.

As a result of this partnership, we are pleased to announce that Aldec Riviera-PRO EDU™ Advanced Verification Platform is now available on EDA Playground.

Here’s an excerpt from Victor’s recent guest blog post on the Aldec Design and Verification Blog, that illustrates how engineers can benefit from leveraging this tool to practice UVM & SystemVerilog simulation:

You may have found yourself among those eyeing the job market and wondering, “How hard is it to switch fields and become a verification engineer?”

Turning thoughts to DAC during summer’s dog days
August 18, 2014  by Anne Cirkel

Here in Portland summer is in full swing. Outdoor tables are full at the restaurants in my neighborhood and there are more people on the trails in Forest Park where I walk my two Miniature Schnauzers most mornings. And this time of year it’s more than feet that wander. Even as I hurry to keep up with the dogs, my mind is often rambling elsewhere, often to matters related to DAC. Some of these musings are making it into my efforts to blog my way to next year’s conference, weekly on the DAC site and monthly here on EDA Café.

Anne Cirkel's two Miniature Schnauzers, Diesel and Kismet.

My two Mini Schnauzers, Diesel and Kismet, who usually set the pace during my morning walks in Portland’s Forest Park.

I know at this point most people are thinking, DAC? That’s a lifetime away. But as general chair for DAC 52, I’m often brought up short during my morning strolls by realizations like this: We have just 10 months to plan this conference! Suffice it to say there is lots to do and, summer and eating and trekking aside, those of us on the executive committee haven’t been idle.

Last week, a few of us met in Louisville, Colorado to audit the 2014 conference and begin budget planning for DAC 52. Yes, it’s a somewhat tedious process to go through expense reports, vendor bills and registration data. However, we take this work seriously, understanding that we’re merely stewards of a conference that has been going on since the days of time-sharing on mainframes. Indeed, just as time-sharing has morphed into cloud computing and the Internet of Things, now among the hottest topics in technology, DAC has proven remarkably adept at staying relevant and even reinventing itself through the years. All of us on the executive committee want this to continue on our watch.

The Golden Age of EDA Editorial
August 17, 2014  by Ed Lee

 

There once was a golden age for EDA editorial.   Seems funny to say nowadays, when we see EDA editorial in a virtual shambles…where one or two publications gamely soldier on as pure play editorial ventures…while others have adopted various sponsorship business models, thereby incurring the snide, not-accurate accusation of being pay-for-play vehicles.

Among the handful of first-tier publications back around the turn of the century, EE Times clearly was the go-to book for EDA.   Staffed by a corps of editors who brought their sharp, keen-edged industry knowledge to their reporting, no EDA startup thought they launched themselves successfully without being covered in EE Times.   And the formula worked for quite a while.  I still remember how those 240 page tomes came to the mailbox each week.

There were two people who figured prominently in the EE Times braintrust.

Brian Fuller, as editor-in-chief, oversaw and created much of what was successful for the various sections that covered all of electronic design.   And there was Richard Goering, the longtime EDA editor with his imposing manner, startling industry knowledge and contacts.   Richard was perhaps best known for refusing to allow canned presentations during interviews.  He’d ask for material before the interview, then start off the interview with those famous words, “I’ve looked over your material and have a few questions,” and run the 30 -45 minute interview.  It was a little like Steve Jobs saying, “Oh, and one more thing.”

EDA editorial has changed, needless to say.  Fortunately, we have Fuller and Goering here to talk a little about what EDA editorial used to be, what it is today, and what we can look toward in the future.   We’ll post their thoughts over the next several weeks, usually on a Monday.

I can’t think of any individuals more qualified to speak cogently on this subject.

 

Brian Fuller

Brian Fuller

Richard Goering

Richard Goering

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ED:   Brian, Richard, thanks for taking time to reminisce a little and to analyze and speculate about where we’re at now.  So let me kick it off with this question:

What’s happened to electronic design editorial and where is it today?

BRIAN:  Ed, to your question what’s happened to electronic design editorial is pretty simple: it’s still there…it’s just in a different place.

ED:   I keep referring to a golden age for EDA editorial.  There was one, wasn’t there?

BRIAN:  Yes, there was!  Think back 20 years ago and you had at least three major publications with EDA editors of one type or another: EDN, Electronic Design, EE Times, Electronic News (not to mention overseas publications).

ED:  There also was Computer Design, the first publication covering EDA to bite the dust.

BRIAN:    That’s right!

ED:  But I interrupted you…

BRIAN:  EE Times, of which I am most familiar, had 2.5 editors at one point covering the design automation industry from the technology and business standpoint.

ED:  So what happened?

BRIAN:  Well, we all know the backstory since then: In 2001, the dot-com bubble burst. Semiconductor and EDA companies shifted marketing dollars to their own site development and to those publications they thought could deliver more eyeballs.

ED:   What about the notion that EDA vendors never bought sufficient advertising and therefore killed their own editorial?

BRIAN: It wasn’t just with EDA, but I think EDA started the ball rolling, and they were big advertisers so the impact was significant.   Electronics publications had to prioritize areas that they were going to cover. Paul Miller, then CEO of UBM Electronics, said pretty bluntly “EDA marketers: If you’re not going to support us, we can’t invest in editors.”

That was the end of Mike Santarini at EE Times; just a few years later it was the end of Richard Goering, now my colleague at Cadence.

RICHARD: Well, not really the “end” of Mike or myself; Mike went to Xilinx, and I’m now at Cadence. But I do agree with Brian that a lack of advertising revenues ended my career at EE Times.

ED:  So what do we have today?

RICHARD:  Not much is left in print.  EE Times, EDN and Electronic Design still exist on-line, but in more of a blog format than traditional journalism. Their EDA coverage is limited.

BRIAN:  Richard’s right. There isn’t an EDA “press corps” in the old definition of the term. The electronics publishing industry has restructured itself into smaller, more specialized sites with much lower overhead than the traditional electronics publishing houses, and they are quite healthy. Editors do cover EDA from various angles, but they also cover lithography and foundry and SoC design and so on.

These are outfits like SemiWiki, EE Journal and its sister publications, Semiconductor Engineering, Chip Design Magazineand so on.

Over this same period, those companies that shifted their marketing dollars away from third-party publishers to build out their own sites, realized they needed content experts, because that¹s never been their strength. So, as more editors have been turned out onto the streets from third-party publishing, industry companies have eagerly snapped them up to build content.

Right now, we have a very interesting mixture of editors working together from two sides of the aisle, if you will, to create technology conversations.

……………………..

 

So what is the EDA editorial braintrust these days?  See what Richard and Brian have to say about it in our next blog. 

 

 

 

 

C, C++ and the family tree
August 15, 2014  by Colin Walls

I am interested in programming languages in general and particularly as they apply to embedded systems programming. The most popular programming language for embedded continues to be C. Clearly it offers the capabilities and facilities that most developers need today, but what comes next?

I think we can get some ideas by looking at the genealogy of C – where it comes from and how it relates to other languages …



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