EDACafe Weekly Review June 25th, 2013

Design Rule Manual Creation a Bottleneck?
June 24, 2013  by Ed Lee

Sage Design Automation, Inc. announced its founding technology last month and created a lot of customer and media buzz at DAC’13 inAustin.  I bet a lot of people were surprised that design rule manual creation and DRC deck implementation were manual, error-prone  tasks – especially as we get into smaller process geometries – and that they can take years to put one together.

In a way, it’s a lot like writing a long paper on a typewriter, or even by hand.  When you make an error, you use White Out (remember that?) or type back over the error with the erasing ribbon.  There’s no way to correlate the paper’s index, spell check, grammar check or check for consistency.

So we accosted Sage-DA president and CEO Coby Zelnik to ask him about this problem, one that many of us assumed just took care of itself!  Here’s what he had to say.

Wait….Did you say HDL Editor?
June 24, 2013  by Satyam Jani

Productivity Boosting Features
Yes I did, but with no intention to start a holy war on which HDL editor is best. When it comes to HDL editors, each engineer has their own choice and I am not attempting to hurt any madly, deeply felt sentiments. My goal is only to bring the awareness to those using the HDL editor built into Active-HDL™ and to help them use it more efficiently.

There are two main categories for HDL editors (1) general purpose text editors, and (2) integrated text editors. Both have their own pros and cons, and in the end it is for each engineer to decide which suits their needs.

The HDL editor built into Active-HDL falls under the second category of integrated text editors. It offers many basic features (syntax highlighting, templates, columns selection, code folding, auto-formatting) as well as semantic features (code navigation, on-the-fly error detector), and also offers seamless integration with the simulator and version control system. The HDL editor in Active-HDL can be used with VHDL, Verilog, SystemVerilog, SystemC, C/C++, PSL, OVA, Perl scripts and Tcl scripts.

Update: IP on the move
June 20, 2013  by Peggy Aycinena

 

Despite their marked contributions to DAC in Austin, the folks in the IP world have not been resting on their laurels, but have continued to generate developments of both a technical and business nature.


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Synopsys and OCZ Technology Group announced OCZ “achieved first-pass silicon success” in its newest NAND flash Vector SSD using Synopsys’ DesignWare DDR2/3-Lite PHY, Embedded Memories, STAR Memory System, and Professional Services.

The companies say the OCZ Vector SSD was designed “to deliver superior sustained performance through its new, high-performance Indilinx Barefoot 3 flash controller supporting the SATA-3 protocol. Synopsys’ design consultants worked closely with OCZ’s engineers throughout the implementation of their chip, delivering expertise and advanced methodologies in IP integration, physical design, and physical verification that enabled OCZ to complete their implementation in less than six months.”

 

Great if you were able to attend DAC in Austin this month. Even better if you were able to attend the Monday afternoon Pavilion Panel on the how-and-why of networking for career growth. The topic may seem irrelevant to some of you, but networking sits as the center of successful career development and it’s definitely not for the faint of heart.

Sashi Obilisetty, Director, R&D at Synopsys, assembled a seasoned panel of experts to discuss the issue – How networking is crucial to professional growth – with the June 3rd panelist including Tufts University Professor and DAC 2014 General Chair, Dr. Soha Hassoun, Calibra Consulting President Jan Willis, and Blue Pearl Software VP Kavita Snyder. The panel discussion began with Jan Willis:

Jan Willis – I want to share three perspectives on the issue. First, networking matters a great deal – for changing jobs, for moving into other fields, and for changing your career trajectory. I didn’t realize how much it mattered until I found that 100-percent of my current business in consulting is a result of networking.

Second, sponsors are very different from mentors, not at all the same. Sponsors tap you on the shoulders and point out when a job is available that would be good for you going forward. Third, networking is critical and it’s important to spend time on it. LinkedIn is a wonderful thing, but it offers you a false sense of security that you have great connections. If you’re not working at networking, [your network] won’t work for you.

Soha Hassoun – I would like to emphasize that it’s important to network early on in your career. Some people wait until they are at the mid-point in their careers, but that is too late. Whether in academia or industry, it holds true – you need to start early.

As a society entrenched in connectivity, we put a great deal of pressure on our portable electronic devices to provide us with more and more computing power and capabilities.  Take this blog for example.  As I’m traveling, I’m actually writing this blog post on my smart phone. To write this effectively, I need to be able to easily flip back and forth between PowerPoint, Word, and the Internet while still answering emails and the occasional phone call.  The fact that my mobile device is able to handle all of these requests with no errors is astonishing given that just a few short years ago, this idea was just “pie in the sky”.  The computation complexities that make this possible are staggering.  But what is also staggering, is that even more complex designs are being created in ever shrinking time-to-market windows.  How do system and SOC companies remain competitive with these seemingly unrealistic expectations?

There are, of course, a myriad of answers to that question, but a critical facet is the use of third-party IP.  More and more companies must adopt third-party IP so that they can focus their design on their companies’ core competence.  Outsourcing other, proven, capabilities to IP providers saves a great deal of time, energy, and money.  However, the use of this third-party IP also introduces new challenges for interface specification, integration, and verification of SoCs on a large scale.  These challenges, if not addressed properly, can eliminate any of the productivity gains thought to be realized with the use of third-party IP.

We have a winner of the hardware hackathon
June 19, 2013  by Ed Lee

 

Liz here.  I’ve just gotten word from Angel Orrantia of Innopartners, and we have a winner of the 2nd-ever hardware hackathon, mentioned in our earlier post today.

Drumroll please…..

 

We’re waiting to hear from SKTA Innopartners LLC director Angel Orrantia on the results of the Open Compute Project hackathon that took place yesterday at the Facebook campus.   Orrantia is one of the judges. We hear that the winner will be announced at the GigaOM Structure conference this afternoon sometime.

What happened at the hackathon?

There were a number of  teams comprised of over 50 hackers from Silicon Valley, Singapore, Miami, Boston, Seattle, Virginia and Texas.

Projects included:

• building an ARM based system on a chip

• bringing robotics into the datacenter to automate repairs

• building a fast interconnect between ARM boards

• gathering server diagnostics data into a web interface for remote diagnostics over the web

• two projects on car automation

1- collecting diagnostic data about the car – like speed, fuel consumption, acceleration, etc. – to give people the ability to monitor their driving habits to prevent or avoid accidents

2- designing a headset that measures brainwaves to alert the driver or a third party company that can get in touch with the driver

Also, the winners from the last hackathon returned to continue working and expanding on their debug port aggregation hack.

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