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Archive for August, 2012

Autumn Destinations: a sampling of upcoming conferences

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

 

As Labor Day Weekend comes to a close, summer is officially over. Now it’s time to look out across the next 4 months and figure out how you’re going to spend your conference travel budget. Here’s just a small sampling of the many excellent options available to you.

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* IMAPS: International Symposium on Microelectronics
September 9-13
San Diego Convention Center

* CICC: Custom Integrated Circuits Conference
September 9-12
Double Tree Hotel, San Jose

* HPEC: High Performance Extreme Computing Conference
September 10-12
Westin Hotel, Waltham

* IDC: Intel Developers Conference
September 11-13
Moscone Center, San Francisco

* Design East: The Center of the Engineering Universe
September 17-20
Hynes Center, Boston

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Patent Law 103: Litigation a way of life in EDA

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

 

There are at least 4 ways to learn about Patent Law:

1) Go to law school.

2) Follow the ginormously expensive shoot-out between Samsung & Apple.

3) Read my articles on Patent Law.

* Patent Law 101: Patent Prosecution
* Patent Law 102: Patent Litigation

4) Read recent Press Releases out of EDA.

* Mentor Graphics announces filing of suit against EVE for patent infringement
* EVE Will Continue to Defend Itself Against Mentor Graphics’ Patent Infringement Suits
* Sidense wins patent infringement case against Kilopass
* Kilopass Plans to Appeal the Summary Judgment Ruling in its Patent Infringement Case Against Sidense

Clearly options 1 & 2 would take way too much time, so let’s go with a combo of options 3 and 4: First revisit several highlights of my articles on Patent Law, and then review the recent press releases regarding EDA-related litigations.

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Mixed-signal Design: a new how-to guide from CDNS

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

 

This week, Cadence announced availability of the 400-page Mixed-Signal Methodology Guide written by Jess Chen, Michael Henrie, Monte Mar, Mladen Nizic, et al, edited by EDA DesignLine’s Brian Baily.

Cadence says the book is targeted at both chip designers and CAD engineers, and “focuses on current and future advanced mixed-signal design challenges and solutions.” The company also says the book is “critically acclaimed and much anticipated,” which is a little confusing; if the book is much anticipated, how could it already be critically acclaimed?

Nonetheless, the availability of the book on Lulu.com – an on-demand self-publishing website – makes the text easy to purchase and reasonably priced: $69.00, marked down from $115 if you buy it by August 31st. The question is not one of price, however, but of usefulness: Where else are you going to get information on mixed-signal design if you want to get it out of a book?

If you go to Amazon, for instance, what can you find? Below is a small sampling of what’s currently available. Sorry for the tedious assignment, but if you scan through the contents of each book you’ll see there’s quite a bit of overlap, and there’s also quite a bit of differentiation. Looking at the first 4 selections on the list, and then comparing them to the 2012 Cadence publication, you may actually conclude that this new book by Chen et al is indeed bringing something very useful to the discussion of mixed-signal design, albeit with a focus on Cadence tools.

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Ali Iranmanesh: pursuing quality on a global scale

Thursday, August 9th, 2012

 

Ali Iranmanesh is a busy man. He continues to head up the Silicon Valley Institute of Technology, the school he founded in 1997, and continues to lead ISQED, the conference he founded in 1999. Now he is also leading ASQED, the Asia-based spin-off of ISQED Iranmanesh founded in Malaysia.

I caught up with Ali in early August by phone. He was in Silicon Valley and had just returned from ASQED 2012 in Penang, Malaysia.

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WWJD: What prompted you to start ASQED?

Ali Iranmanesh: It was a natural extension of ISQED, which I started 14 years ago. I decided to keep ISQED in Silicon Valley, and to create other conferences for different regions.

WWJD: Remind me how many ASQED’s have taken place.

Ali Iranmanesh: This is our fourth year, with the conference alternating between Kuala Lumpur and Penang in Malaysia. Our next event is scheduled for August 26th to 28th in Penang.

WWJD: Malaysia seems an unusual destination for a conference on design.

Ali Iranmanesh: Historically, there has been a lot of manufacturing in Malaysia, but not so much design. I’ve been working with the several government entities there, helping them to move up the value chain through training, and was able to implement the conference as part of that process. Now for the past few years, there has been design going on in Malaysia – the conference has done a great job helping with that.

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Medals: Why we love them

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

 

Everybody loves to get medals because everybody loves to be best at something: Swimming, Diving, Rowing, Running, Jumping, Hurdling, Riding, Kicking, Dunking, Punching, Throwing, Serving, Digging, Batting, Vaulting, Balancing, Leaping, Cycling, Dancing, Singing, Strumming, Humming, or Whistling.

In the same way, everybody loves to get awards because it also means they’re be best at doing something: Starting, Founding, Investing, Inventing, Creating, Building, Programming, Designing, Testing, Manufacturing, Assembling, Integrating, Packaging, Selling, Leading, Teaching, or Winning.

Yes, it’s true: Everybody wants to be best at something, everybody wants to get a medal or an award, and yet it’s also true that not everybody can. Not everybody can be best, because the equation simply doesn’t allow for it.

And for those who cannot win awards or medals, they have two choices:

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Wow factor: SNPS to acquire SpringSoft

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012

 

When it comes to wow factor, nothing outpaces the August 3rd announcement that Synopsys is going to acquire Taiwan-based SpringSoft. The announcement is astonishing for three reason:

1) Synopsys just announced the acquisition of Ciranova last week. True, the details of that deal were not released and Ciranova is not a ‘large’ company – still, two acquisitions by Synopsys in as many weeks is noteworthy.

2) SpringSoft is a publicly-traded company and therefore the details of the acquisition must be announced: Synopsys will be paying about $300 million for SpringSoft (net of cash acquired), which is a helluva lot of money …

3) … given that Synopsys has already executed another high-profile, high-priced acquisition of a publicly traded company earlier this year, buying Magma Design Automation for about $523 million (net of cash acquired).

Wow!

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Vision fulfilled: SNPS acquires Ciranova

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

 

When Eric Filseth took over as CEO at Ciranova in September 2007, he was already a seasoned EDA veteran having clocked in an accumulated 17 years at Cadence at that point. Now here in 2012, Ciranova has just been acquired by Synopsys and it would seem Filseth’s organization has fulfilled the vision he articulated 5 long years ago.

Per Filseth in 2007: “The problems in analog are very hard. In the digital world, everything is very, very automated, but in the analog world it just isn’t that way. It’s still mostly done by hand and the concept of IP as you consider it in digital – take the RTL and port it to this design or that process – is not there. In analog, it’s still a manual thing for PLLs, and amplifiers, and so on.

“There’s been so much focus on digital SoCs, and things like place and route, there’s been a lot less time spent on analog. Now digital design works fantastically well. You can get a junior engineer with only a couple years’ experience designing thousands of gates a day.

“Just think about it. Over the last 20 years, we’ve had 4 or 5 generations of digital architectures developed but in analog, people are still doing things the way they did it 15 or 20 years ago. Clearly there‘s an opportunity here, and Ciranova is well positioned to take advantage of that opportunity.”

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