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.

Vision fulfilled: SNPS acquires Ciranova

 
August 1st, 2012 by Peggy Aycinena

 

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.”

I asked Filseth why Ciranova thought they could change things that had been becalmed for so long.

He responded with optimism: “It will be hard to do, but the OpenAccess movement is making it possible to do custom design without being as tied to the database of your tools, and the low-level aspects of the silicon. Also, the new IPL [initiative] will help. For digital folks, IPL is not really on the radar screen yet, but the combination of OA and IPL is going to make it a lot easier to make progress in analog.”

Now here in 2012, Synopsys’ press release announcing the Ciranova acquisition proves Filseth’s optimism was well founded: Synopsys “has completed the acquisition of Ciranova, a privately held EDA company focused on delivering productivity improvements in custom IC design by reducing the time and effort needed to develop transistor-level layout on advanced nodes.

“Synopsys intends to utilize Ciranova’s technology to accelerate advancements in its custom IC design solutions and enable design teams to better meet the productivity challenges created by the complexity of nanometer designs.”

Paul Lo, Senior VP and GM of Synopsys’ Analog Mixed-Signal Group, is quoted in the July 2012 press release: “Adding Ciranova’s technology and engineering talent to the Synopsys custom IC solution team supports our goal to make continual gains in productivity for designers working on advanced custom IC designs. This acquisition creates an opportunity to deliver productivity gains by integrating Ciranova’s Helix placer with Synopsys’ custom design solution.

“Additionally, the combination of Synopsys and Ciranova – both founding members of the IPL Alliance – underscores Synopsys’ commitment to enabling an iPDK ecosystem. To ensure the long-term growth of the iPDK ecosystem, Synopsys will continue providing Ciranova’s PyCell Studio and PyCell usage at no charge.”

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Notes …

* The terms of the Ciranova acquisition have not been disclosed.

* Read my September 2007 interview with Eric Filseth here.

The IPL Alliance is “an industry standard organization established to develop an interoperable eco-system for custom design. The current focus is to create and promote standards for interoperable PDK and analog constraints. There are currently 28 member companies. The board of directors consists of individuals from Ciranova, SpringSoft, STMicroelectronics, Synopsys and TSMC.”

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One Response to “Vision fulfilled: SNPS acquires Ciranova”

  1. Mo Casas says:

    Peggy, You did it, once again you show the humanity in EDA. Eric, of course, is a great example of setting a vision and focusing on it. I tried to defocus Eric once in 2009. He held his direction and politely sent me away. He had his target and stuck to it. Through the difficult process of building, focusing and selling Ciranova, Eric never lost his humanity and that makes his success even sweeter for our entireindustry.
    Mo Casas

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