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 What Would Joe Do?

Archive for 2012

Joe Costello: Orb, Oasys, Epicenter

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012


On May 1st, Joe Costello was standing in his office at Orb Networks on the 6th floor of a building in downtown Oakland. When we started our phone call, he said, “I’m looking down on Broadway and there’s a massive march out there. It’s crazy — wish I could send you the video!”

It was, of course, the May Day Occupy Oakland march, which seemed just about right for this long-planned interview.

Twenty years ago, Joe Costello was CEO at Cadence; today he’s President & CEO at Orb Networks, a company that’s “cranking away at cool stuff in the media space.” Twenty years ago, Joe Costello was the epicenter of EDA; today he’s roiling things up elsewhere in the technology ecosystem.

So first we talked about Joe’s present and future, and then we got around to EDA’s present and future and What Would Joe Do if he was back in the epicenter today.


Eruptor: Portal of Power!

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012


My good friend Chas is 7 years old, and he is an expert on Skylanders. And I mean, an expert!

And because of that, I myself am now almost an expert. For instance, I know there are 9 elements: Life, Fire, Earth, Water, Tech, Magic, Air, Undead, and Legendary.

Every element has 4 Skylanders, and if you are Chas — or me — your hands-down favorite among the 32 Skylanders would be Eruptor and his magma pool. Or maybe Ignitor and his blue-flame combo. Eruptor and Ignitor, of course, are both Fire types which is why we like them so much!

Meanwhile, if you haven’t a clue what Chas and I are talking about here — or don’t know why there are 9 elements and 4 Sklyanders per element, but only 32 Skylanders in total — just ask us. Or better yet, watch the YouTube videos below and prepare to be blown away!


DAC 2012: Thermocouple Thursday in San Francisco

Monday, May 14th, 2012


Why call this Thermocouple Thursday?

For two reasons. First, because the rest of the days at DAC 2012 in San Francisco got alliterated:

* Super Sunday
* Marvelous Monday
* Terrible Tuesday
* Wicked Wednesday

And second, because “a thermocouple is a device consisting of two dissimilar metals joined at two points, the potential difference between the two junctions being a measure of their difference in temperature.”*

And if that doesn’t describe Thursday, June 7th, at DAC 2012 what does?

After all, nobody really sticks around for Thursday at DAC unless a) they’re presenting on that day, b) they’ve got a client and/or student presenting on that day, or c) they’re staying through the weekend to vacation in The City.

But people not sticking around for Thursday at DAC is just wrong, because Thursday is the thermocouple day that connects the  two main parts of life in EDA.


DAC 2012: Wicked Wednesday in San Francisco

Sunday, May 13th, 2012


DAC looms!

If you do nothing else on Wednesday, June 6th, at the Design Automation Conference be sure to attend the second of the two keynotes.

Intel’s Brad Heaney will be talking about “designing a 22nm Intel Architecture Multi-CPU and CPU.” It’s got well over a billion transistors and would have only been the stuff of Sci-Fi dreams a brief 15 or 20 years ago.

After that, just like on Terrible Tuesday, you’ve got a wicked wheelbarrow full of different ways you could go, starting with the User Track. The Wednesday line-up in this well-received recent addition to the DAC schedule includes:

* Packaging & Automatic P&R, with speakers from Mentor Graphics, Samsung, and Intel
* Keynoter Q&A, with the morning’s IBM & Intel speakers fielding questions from the crowd
* Practical Formal Methods, with speakers from IBM, Oski, and Intel

If your interests, however, reside with the young more than the mega-organizations in the EDA ecosystem, Wednesday is your day to visit the ACM Sigda University Booth in the Exhibition Hall, where the “new EDA tools, EDA tools applications, design projects, and instructional materials” will be your guide to the future minds of this industry.


DAC 2012: Terrible Tuesday in San Francisco

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012


DAC looms!

And never more so than on Tuesday — especially this year, June 5th, when you’re going to have to make some terrible decisions about what to miss, and what not to miss.

First there’s the opening session in the morning when a boatload of awards are handed out, followed by the 2012 keynote. The Exhibition Hall won’t open until these things wrap up, so other than company meetings or company special-product announcement breakfasts, you should be able to be in the main theater at Moscone from 8:30 to 10:00 am or so.

Of course, worst case scenario: The opening session at DAC is always video-taped, so you could watch it at a later date after it’s uploaded to the DAC website but that’s hardly ideal.

This year’s main address will be delivered by ARM’s Mike Muller, “comparing the original ARM design of 1985 to those of today’s latest microprocessors … how far design has come and what EDA has contributed to enabling … systems, hardware, operating systems, and applications.” Then Muller plans to talk about 2020, how to get there, and what it will be like when we do. Conclusion? This stuff’s better heard in person than tape delayed. Go to the opening session, and plan not to regret it.


DAC 2012: Marvelous Monday in San Francsico

Monday, May 7th, 2012


DAC looms!

It’s time to start examining the Conference Program and figure out how you’re going to spend your time in the first week of June when you’re attending the Design Automation Conference next month in San Francisco at Moscone Center.

Marvelous Monday …

On Monday June 4th at DAC there’s so much going on you really need to take some time to seriously consider how you’re going to schedule your day. So, first click here to see the jam-packed program, and then figure out what your priorities are.

Sessions or Exhibition Hall? You better work on this now, because if you suffer from sensory overload syndrome, you’ll never figure it out on the day of.


DAC 2012: Super Sunday in San Francisco

Sunday, May 6th, 2012


DAC Looms!

It’s time to start examining the Conference Program and figure out how you’re going to spend your time in the first week of June when you’re attending the Design Automation Conference next month in San Francisco at Moscone Center.

Super Sunday …

Sunday is never a Day of Rest for DAC attendees, and Sunday June 3, 2012 is no exception. First, there are 4 co-located conferences happening in Moscone Center on DAC Sunday:

* IWLS: International Workshop on Logic Synthesis
* SLIP: System Level Interconnect Prediction Workshop
* HOST: IEEE Internt’l Symposium on Hardware & Trust
* ESLsyn: Electronic System Level Synthesis Conference

There are also 7 DAC-related workshops:

* CMOS Design at 60 GHz & Beyond
* Moore than More Technologies
* EDA & Process Automation
* Bio-Design Automation
* Young Faculty at DAC
* System-level Design of Automotive Electronics & Software
* Computing in Heterogeneous, Autonomous ‘N’ Goal-oriented Environments


SAME: Microelectronics in the South of France

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012


The Sophia Antipolis Microelectronics Forum takes place every fall in the ‘Silicon Valley’ of Southern France, Sophia Antipolis, 5 miles inland from the beautiful Mediterranean city of Antibes.

Sophia Antipolis is about 20 minutes from the International Airport at Nice, with offices for approximately 800 high-tech companies – included among them: ARM, Broadcom, Cadence, HP, IBM, Infineon, Intel, Mentor Graphics, Nvidia, STMicro, and Synopsys – housed in a range of buildings set among the rolling hills of the enclave. Within that forested place and 800 enterprises, almost 40,000 people are employeed. There are also two college campuses in Sophia Antipolis, as well as restaurants, a golf course, multiple hotels, and a tennis institute.

In other words, if you’ve never been to the Cote d’Azur, never been to Nice or Antibes, if you think you’d love vistas across the wide blue Mediterranean Sea, want to learn more about good food, wine, Picasso, Matisse, ancient Greeks, the French Riviera, or microelectronics – and not necessarily in that order – you’re going to be wanting to go to the Sophia Antipolis Microelectronics Forum taking place this year on October 2nd & 3rd.


Imec: Firat Yazicioglu & the Cardiac Patch

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012


For the last few years, the world of Imec Senior Scientist and R&D Team Leader Firat Yazicioglu has revolved around IC design of mixed-signal and analog devices, specifically those used for bio-medical health monitoring, and not just the technical challenges, but the economic and ergonomic aspects as well.

When we spoke recently, Firat said, “At Imec [in Leuven, Belgium] we are looking at all pieces of the puzzle with regards to bio-medical devices. How can you curb the costs, what are the details of the electronics, and how can a wearable sensor offer a solution to the problem of home monitoring for patients with chronic disease? Things like arrhythmia or predicting a seizure before it happens.

“These questions are definitely More than Moore issues that involve both digital and analog content on-chip, signal processing problems, and the need for such devices to run on very, very low power.


Breker: The Art of Destructive Testing

Thursday, April 26th, 2012


Here in Silicon Valley, there’s a small company that should be on your radar. Founded in 2003 as a consulting service, the company discovered their solutions – developed to address customers’ verification problems – had become sufficiently robust to be commercialized. Over time, those solutions proved so successful that Breker Verification Solutions morphed into a 100-percent product company.

No longer a consultancy, Breker is thriving today, actively hiring with multiple openings posted on their website. and just this week named well-known EDA veteran Tom Anderson as Vice President of Marketing. I had a chance to speak by phone this morning with Tom Breker, CEO Adnan Hamid, and company CFO Maheen Hamid.

Adnan addressed the challenge of morphing from consultancy to product company: “As we have figured out how to do this, we feel we have done it with style. But still it’s true, this is a very hard path.”

Tom added, “We are relatively small, but already with people in Europe, India, and the U.S., and we have plans to grow over 2012 – looking for good AEs and hiring in R&D to implement the ideas customers constantly come up with. Our momentum is building as we cast a wide net for great employees, and work to serve our customers even more. So that’s the top-level view of company.”


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