EDACafe Weekly Review August 6th, 2015

EDA, Electronic Design Automation gets its share of getting kicked around. After all, since the Internet boom (or some might say bust), the Social Media boom, Analytics boom, and Big Data boom, several alternatives to EDA have had significant impact on hiring. This has forced upon us numerous challenges because these skills are in demand and plentiful. The mere impact of such world changing technologies cannot be understated. EDA has always had some of the most brilliant minds imaginable; creating technologies that only a select few could possibly understand. Who, just a few years back, could have possibly imagined a tiny (and I do mean tiny) chip doing the billions of functions it does today? Who could have ever imagined that we could build on a computer screen, detail all the functionality, and design chips (we will use “chip” as a generic word to make my point)?  Furthermore, who could have imagined that we would build devices that use to take a building to compute, would now work in the palm of our hands?

EDA is at the epi-center of all devices Electronic, which is why I coined the phrase, “All Electronics Starts With EDA”. (Use it EDAC, just give me the credit). With that level of intensity, comes a dynamic work space that few can possibly step into because of the incredible complexities and needed education/training. The good news is, once in, EDA could be your home for life. Now I get it, many that grew up in the Start-Up world, I guess even the big 3 were once start-ups, know that the environment has dramatically changed and over the last few years, or dare I say, matured.   Yet, EDA is still going strong and achieves quarter after quarter of profitability and growth.

 

If you live in or near Silicon Valley, you’re fully aware of what a Tesla Model S looks like. They’re everywhere, gliding along silently, leaving behind a wake of enormous marketing cache.

My driving costs are lower than yours are, because I drive a Tesla. My carbon footprint is smaller than yours is, because I drive a Tesla. I’m hip and modern, because I drive a Tesla, so get outta my way. I own a) this parking space, b) the right-of-way at this intersection, c) this lane on the freeway, and d) the right to glare at you if you think you’ve got the right to a, b, or c.

Okay, perhaps a little overstated, but I’ll bet you’ve seen some version of this phenomenon. Yet, had you attended the single, most information rich session at DAC 2015 in San Francisco, you would have learned that a lot of the street cred claimed by Tesla doesn’t actually hold up to close, tech-nomic scrutiny.

On Monday, June 8th, Synopsys’ Patrick Groeneveld and TUM Create’s Sebastian Steinhorst offered a lengthy tutorial [“Electric Vehicles – What’s in it for the EDA Folks?”] during which they blew away the feel-good haze that surrounds EV ownership and revealed numerous harder truths instead.

Life on the Hardware-Software Frontier
August 5, 2015  by Tom Anderson, VP of Marketing

In last week’s post, we spent quite a bit of time talking about the concept of a (realistic) use case that reflected how actual users will eventually manipulate the design being verified. Our focus was on Breker’s graph-based scenario models and how they can easily and concisely capture such use cases. We did some research on the term “use case” and found that it seems to be more common in software design and verification than in hardware verification. That caused us to think about how we at Breker seem to be living on the hardware-software frontier.

It’s not uncommon for hardware designers and software engineers to borrow ideas from each other. Code coverage, for example, was well established in software before it was adopted for hardware design and verification languages. With the move from gates to RTL, hardware became just another form of code and therefore more amenable to software techniques. This is just one example showing that the boundary between hardware and software is fuzzy and changing over time.



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