What Would Joe Do?
Peggy Aycinena
Peggy Aycinena
Peggy Aycinena is a freelance journalist and Editor of EDA Confidential at www.aycinena.com. She can be reached at peggy at aycinena dot com.

PDF’s Kibarian: Jedi Knight unplugged

 
July 23rd, 2015 by Peggy Aycinena

 

Luckily this week PDF Solutions announced the acquisition of Syntricity, a “provider of yield-improvement technologies and services for the IC process life cycle. Syntricity’s dataConductor platform is a comprehensive, enterprise-wide yield management system that leverages a thin-client architecture to provide a cloud-based SaaS or distributed enterprise solution, allowing users to access their data anytime, anywhere.”

That news gave me a chance to attend to a long-overdue task: Compose a blog based on a lengthy interview with PDF co-founder and CEO John Kibarian conducted in the lobby of the DoubleTree in San Jose earlier this year. On that day, Kibarian and I sat in the bar at the hotel, although sadly it was mid-afternoon and the bar was not yet open.

Instead, ours was an all-business conversation that gave me a chance to learn far more about the man, the enterprise, and PDF’s newest product release, Exensio, “an enterprise-wide, Big Data platform, which analyzes and reports critical data generated across the semiconductor ecosystem”.

I last interviewed Kibarian in 2005 and labeled him then a Jedi Knight. In the intervening years, little has changed. He’s still singularly focused on the technology, and his incredible obsession with the interminable analysis of manufacturing data. Nowadays there’s also a dollop of Haiku thrown into the narrative, however, which somehow adds additional weight to the whole Jedi discipline thing. It’s a discipline based on deep understanding, patience, intuition, and the ability to learn. Indefinitely.

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Emulation: Mentor & Ansys change the game

 
July 16th, 2015 by Peggy Aycinena

 

On May 27th, Mentor released its Veloce Power Application software, which “replaces a file-based power analysis flow with a Dynamic Read Waveform API integration to power analysis tools. [The new] approach captures information from the power switching activity plot and transfers that data to power analysis tools, [enabling] accurate power calculation at the system level, better power exploration at RTL for power budgeting and trade-offs, and more accurate power analysis and sign-off at the gate level.

“The [previous] approach of running the emulator, creating the file, reading the file into the power analysis tool, and running the power analysis tool is now reduced to just the emulator and power analysis run times.”

Several weeks after this announcement, I had a chance at DAC to meet with Jean-Marie Brunet, head of marketing for Mentor’s Emulation Division, and his team. We had a very interesting chat about the company’s progress with the Veloce technology.

Brunet was emphatic: “Mentor graphics is currently the global leader in emulation, with all others trying to play catch up but not succeeding! Our May 27th Veloce Power Application [is a reflection of that leadership].

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Gary Smith: The Ecclesiastical Purple & The Pagan Orange

 
July 12th, 2015 by Peggy Aycinena

 

The sun set quietly over the San Francisco Bay Area this evening, leaving a dusk awash in the light jewel tones of early evening. A hint of fleeting pink against a dome of whisper blue. Small breezes stirred the leaves on the big trees stenciled against the sky, while the little trees closer to the earth stood respectful and still. Sitting on the front stoop and listening to the calm, it was hard to remember the chaos of this morning, the noise, the color, the wicked mischief of Gary Smith’s wake.

Held in Silicon Valley, before the noon hour had even arrived, the ballroom at the Double Tree was awash in folks wearing ORANGE! (Master Cooley’s bossy caps, not mine) because that, according to all reports, was Gary Smith’s favorite color. And there was many a photo in the slide show presented to prove the point.

The wake was put together by a large committee of well wishers on behalf of Gary’s family, so Lori Kate, Gary’s son, daughters, and granddaughters could hear more about a man who everyone in the industry knew, everyone in the industry argued with, and everyone in the industry loved. The family simply showed up to Gary’s wake and was surrounded by all that love.

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Remembering Gary Smith: The One & Only Oracle of EDA

 
July 7th, 2015 by Peggy Aycinena

 

On behalf of IBSystems and my own family, we extend our very deepest condolences to the family of Gary Smith, his children, grandchildren, and the love of his life, Lori Kate. Gary was an extraordinary man.

[The following article from EDA Confidential was posted online in May 2004, with an abbreviated version first posted in EDA Vision in July 2001.]

***********************

Gary Smith: The Oracle at Delphi has nothing on the Chief EDA Analyst at Dataquest

Starting and ending with the Tao is pretty enigmatic stuff when, in the middle of the stream, you find a bass-toting, black-leather-clad blues musician fresh out of the Naval Academy living in a shack in the midst of Silicon Valley.

That pretty much summarizes Gary Smith for those who know him. For those who don’t, to quote from an introduction to Gary I heard at a panel last year where he was acting as moderator, “If anyone in this room doesn’t know who Gary Smith is, they don’t belong in this room.”

For a number of years, Gary Smith has been (and by the looks of things will continue to be) the single most important prognosticator in EDA. The industry listens to Gary, at DAC and a thousand other venues over the course of the year. They bank on his annual numbers reporting on the health of the industry. They pin his EDA Landscape poster up on the wall to keep track of which companies are which in the here today/acquired tomorrow world of EDA. They take their business plans and nascent product ideas to him and hope for his blessings. They quote him. They court him. They keep him busy. And, apparently, he loves it — taking all of the adulation in stride with a smile and a nod. Which is what you would expect from a guy who takes Eastern philosophies seriously and incorporates them into his mindset and lifestyle.

The rest of Gary’s story is as follows. However, if you believe as Gary does that “less is more,” you needn’t read on. Based on what you’ve read, you already know him.

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Mentor Graphics: building Pillars of the IoT Community

 
July 1st, 2015 by Peggy Aycinena

 

If you’re interested in Wearables and the IoT, you need go no further than talking with Mentor Graphics, in particular the company’s spokesman Warren Kurisu. Warren and I spoke by phone last month, our conversation sparked by two aggressively confident press releases out of Wilsonville.

* Mentor Graphics announces its Embedded Nucleus RTOS framework includes a complete range of features targeting next-generation wearable IoT devices for the medical, fitness, and security markets.

* The new release of Mentor’s Nucleus RTOS targets connected embedded devices for high-performance, advanced IoT applications, utilizing process model technology that enables developers to reconfigure, update, and provision connected embedded devices that utilize cloud-based remote software services.

The IoT being at the center of all of this, I asked Warren to define the IoT. He said, “That’s an interesting challenge, because it actually depends on the industry.

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#52DAC: Rumors & Realities

 
June 11th, 2015 by Peggy Aycinena

 

It’s always hard to capture the spirit of any particular trade show/tech conference when it’s as large as DAC. So here’s just a small sample of the rumors and realities being bandied about at Moscone Center this week in San Francisco.

* Rumor: The Exhibit Hall ran until 7 pm on Wednesday night, so if you wanted to see the bagpipes close out the show, you could see it if you arrived at the Cadence booth by 6:45 pm.

* Reality: The Exhibit Hall closed at 6 pm on Wednesday, not 7 pm as on Monday and Tuesday. The bagpipes closed out the show, but at 6 pm, not 7 pm. Those who missed it were very, very sad.

* Rumor: DAC’s Exhibition Hall has shrunk so much over the last few years, it’s no longer going to be housed at Moscone Center. After next year’s DAC 2016 in Austin, the show’s headed to the San Jose Convention Center in 2017.

* Reality: Moscone Center is being renovated over the next several years, so DAC’s going to be in Austin in 2016, in Austin in 2017, and (probably) back in San Francisco in 2018.

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CEDA Nerd Fest @ DAC: Expanding the Reach of DA

 
June 11th, 2015 by Peggy Aycinena

 

Most mortals at the end of the day on Monday this week in San Francisco polished off their beers on the DAC Exhibit Hall floor at 7 pm and headed out for dinner and some R&R to prepare for the rigors of Tuesday. For those truly passionate about the future of Design Automation, however, Monday’s labors did not end at 7 pm. They had only begun.

Because in Room 300 from 7 pm to 8 pm, a series of visionary talks were offered — not one of them more than 3 minutes long — each proposing a different direction that the highly skilled DA community might take this industry by capitalizing on its vast expertise in optimization, algorithms, and hardware/software co-design. It was a great hour of presentations, which by the way was also a contest, complete with a panel of judges who got to choose the top three proposals and award cash prizes.

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Fulfilling Marie Pistilli’s Dream: Dignity, Opportunity for Women in DA

 
June 11th, 2015 by Peggy Aycinena

 

Something special happened Wednesday night this week at DAC, something magical in fact. Dozens of highly educated Design Automation professionals gathered for an intimate dinner in a private dining room at Kuleto’s on Powell Street in San Francisco for a first-time event.

Sponsored by the DAC EC and hosted by Dr. Soha Hassoun, Computer Science Department Chair at Tufts University in Boston, and Dr. Patrick Groeneveld, Synopsys Scientist and former CTO at Magma Design Automation, attendees included EE/CS professors from around the world, numerous post-doctoral fellows and PhD candidates, several 2015 Richard Newton Scholarship winner, as well as multiple design professionals from some of the largest commercial enterprises in EDA.

As attendees arrived, energized and/or exhausted from a long day at Day Three of DAC, Dr. Hassoun welcomed the gathering warmly and asked that people choose their seats carefully for the meal about to be served: Please do not sit next to anyone you already know!

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Black Magic Woman to Bobby McGee: Fiddling into the night as Rome burns

 
June 9th, 2015 by Peggy Aycinena

 

After a long day concentrating at DAC, it’s odd to spend the early hours of the evening at a DAC party. So much noise, loud music, silly carryings-on, when all one wants to do really is compose an essay about the impressions of the day.

So how about a compromise. Sit on the edge of the dance floor and write. Glass of lovely Sauvignon Blanc, plate of shrimp, an egg roll or two. It’s sorta like being in a coffee shop, but louder. Back in the day, Carlos Santana dated a high school friend of mine. Black Magic Woman, indeed. It’s like writing in a coffee shop called Time Warp.

So the point of this essay is specific. To capture as accurately as possible a thesis expressed to me an hour ago when I first came into this Love IP Party at Jillian’s, a pool and pub venue just across from Moscone Center. This particular Anonymous Source has seen everything in the EDA industry. Literally. And knows everyone. Literally. No joking.

His thesis? EDA (as we knew it) is over. Not dead, but over. Unequivocally.

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#52DAC Day Zero: Ten Astonishing Bits

 
June 7th, 2015 by Peggy Aycinena

 

Omygosh, DAC’s here again! Has it already been a year? Apparently yes, and apparently once again the Design Automation Conference is going to be great. And how does one know? Because once again the DAC Executive Committee is great, lead in 2015 by the more-than-capable Anne Cirkel (Mentor’s own). Everything from academia to industry, from networking to hard-core learning (read, ‘Nerd Alert!)’, from food and libation to product announcements: DAC is always special.

So today is Sunday, which in the world of DAC is a lovely day full of workshops for those interested in the newest, and social opportunities for those interested in the noshing and nattering. Sunday is also lovely, because it’s a moment for astonishing realizations, and this year’s 52nd DAC Sunday is no different. Here are my 10 favs:

10 – Per Stanford’s Philip Wong speaking in Workshop 2, carbon nanotubes are smooth which helps with mobility-restricting surface roughness and band-gap issues. Also CNTs are no longer “a bowl of spaghetti” when manufactured. Now they’re 99% orderly and courteously aligned. (read, ‘Is asking about the other 1% a legitimate question?’)

9 – EDA’s own Karen Bartleson of SNPS fame, has not only just completed 2 years of distinguished service as President of IEEE’s worldwide Standards Organization, she’s now been nominated to serve as President of the Whole Enchilada; Bartleson’s running for President of the IEEE itself. In a word, Wow!

8 – Design Automation Summer School, for those who have not been keeping up (read, ‘me’), is no longer a week-long confab in July. These days Summer School is a one-day event on DAC Sunday. Still highly attended and full of pithy content for The Young & The Restless in EDA.

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