EDACafe Weekly Review April 22nd, 2016


Just as Auguste Rodin revived the art of sculpture
at the end of the 19th century in Europe, and Wynton Marsalis rescued the art of jazz by the end of the 20th century in America, here in the 21st century University of Illinois CS professor Rob Rutenbar is resurrecting the art of teaching VLSI design around the world.

He’s doing that via his Coursera-based online class entitled VLSI CAD: Logic to Layout, a course with an enrollment that defies comprehension. Per Rutenbar’s own whimsy: “There are about 25,000 people working in the EDA industry today. About 55,000 of them have signed up for my class.”

I had a chance to speak by phone with Dr. Rutenbar earlier this week. He was sitting in his office in Urbana-Champaign, but looking out an academic landscape that encompasses the entire world.

[hint: a MOOC is a Massively Open Online Course.]

Please join Silicon Valley verification and design engineers on April 27, 2016 at Dave and Buster’s in Milpitas for a catered lunch, networking, and presentation by Cliff Cummings.  This is a no charge event.



11:30am: Doors Open / Networking

12:00pm: Lunch / Presentation

1:00pm: Networking

“Using UVM Virtual Sequencers & Virtual Sequences”

What are virtual sequencers and virtualssequences and when should they be used? Tests that require coordinated generation of stimulus using multiple driving agents benefit from using virtual sequences. This presentation will clarify important concepts and usage techniques related to virtual sequencers and virtual sequences that are not well documented in existing UVM reference materials. This presentation will also detail the m_sequencer and p_sequencer handles and the macros and methods that are used with these handles. The objective of this presentation is to simplify the understanding of virtual sequencers, virtual sequences and how they work.


The ESD Alliance has announced two additional updates
on its remarkable road to renaissance. The Alliance formerly known as the EDA Consortium says Dr. Lucio Lanza, long-time EDA investor and 2014 Kaufman Award winner, is joining the organization’s board of directors, effective immediately.

That news is unique for 4 reasons: a) Lanza is the first new board member since EDAC was relaunched as ESDA; b) Lanza is the only member of the board who is not currently serving as the CEO of a company, the first such circumstance in recent memory; c) Lanza serves on the board of PDF Solutions, triggering another first in that one company is now represented twice on the EDAC/ESDA board with PDF’s John Kibarian also serving therein; and d) Lanza was not elected, but appointed.

Certainly for all of these reasons and more, Dr. Lucio Lanza will serve as a refreshing change agent as the EDA Consortium morphs into the ESD Alliance.

The second major update from the ESD Alliance is the announcement of a “cooperative marketing” partnership with Semico.

Designers and Verification Engineers: Living in Different Worlds Together
April 19, 2016  by Tom Anderson, VP of Marketing

As I discussed at last week, there are many different engineering roles involved in the development of a large, complex semiconductor device. The EDA industry attempts to serve nearly all of these groups, from the architects and product marketing engineers who dream up the new ideas to the technicians who test production parts on the factory floor. Today I’m focusing on the work of two of EDA’s most traditional customer bases: hardware designers and hardware verification engineers.

Perhaps I’d better explain my title. It comes from an old expression “we went to different schools together” that I remember hearing as a youngster. Sometimes this refers to two people who didn’t actually attend the same school but who are nevertheless longtime close friends. But I’ve also heard it used to refer to two people who did in fact go to school together but had very different experiences. This latter context is the one I have mind for design and verification engineers who work on the same project yet inhabit different worlds.

ESD Alliance on a Roll …
April 19, 2016  by Bob Smith, Executive Director

ESDA_150 new logo - 2016-03-31It’s been only a few short weeks since we launched the Electronic System Design (ESD) Alliance and we haven’t stopped there.

The party March 30 was a huge success, with more than 100 members of the design ecosystem community helping us celebrate our new name and expanded mission. The pictures show the support and enthusiasm better than I can in words. The slideshow can be found at: http://bit.ly/1SQnfF6

For a look at why we made the sweeping changes, check out the March 31 news release found at: http://bit.ly/1Sg4NrV

Next up, we announced last week that well-known visionary, leader and technology investor Lucio Lanza, managing director of Lanza techVentures, has been appointed to the Board of Directors. We are especially pleased that he accepted the board’s invitation because he has tremendous insights and an astute understanding of the market. Fittingly, Lucio was the recipient of the Phil Kaufman Award for Distinguished Contributions to EDA in 2014 for his substantial impact on EDA through his strategic and financial assistance to innovative EDA companies. Welcome, Lucio! The news release with details can be found at: http://bit.ly/1YyfU0Z

Go Forth!
April 18, 2016  by Colin Walls

I was writing recently about my fondness for RPN [Reverse Polish Notation] and this reminded me of a programming language, designed specifically for real time and embedded applications, which has largely been forgotten: Forth. It is interesting to look at how Forth worked and the benefits it offered for embedded developers. I am not proposing that the language be revived and used for new developments, but I think there are valuable lessons to be learned.

My attention was originally draw to Forth when somebody told me that there was a programming language which facilitated the generation of code using less memory than an assembly language implementation of the same functionality. I did not believe them, but it hooked me in …

Real Intent Job

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