Archive for 2012
Saturday, March 17th, 2012
A lot of ink is always spilled over the EDAC CEO Forecast Panel, and this year was no different.
Ed Sperling moderated the panel and had slides to facilitate. They’re available here on the EDAC website. The full video version of the event is now available, as well.
If you would rather read about it, Mike Demler transcribed the event, Paul McClellan encapsulated the event, Richard Goering observed the event, and Steve Leibson abstracted the event.
I was also there on February 29th in Santa Clara, but rather than re-invent the wheel and provide redundant commentary, I’ve taken my notes from the evening and used them to create a Word Cloud. [see below]
If you study it carefully, you’ll see it pretty much sums up the emphasis of the panel discussion: Synopsys’ Aart de Geus, Mentor’s Wally Rhines, Cadence’s Lip-bu Tan, ARM’s Simon Segars, and Gradient’s Ed Cheng in conversation with Ed Sperling, exchanging ideas about Different Problems in EDA: Tools, Power, IP, Memory, Integration, Systems, Hardware, Software, Money and Innovation.
Now let’s look at the Word Cloud without any of the names, just the issues that swirled about in the conversation on February 29th. (more…)
Saturday, March 17th, 2012
When it comes to Westerns, nothing satisfies more than the one about long-time compadres getting together to do one last ride, one last round up, to take one last stand.
It satisfies, because it’s been years in the making and involves all aspects of the genre – long, lonely shots of distant horizons, fading references to the “exploration and settlement of previously untamed frontiers”, and a rich narrative of “rugged, self-sufficient individuals taming a savage wilderness with common sense and direct action.”
This particular type of Western also satisfies, because we know the players well – their faces, their mannerisms, how many notches they’ve got in their gun belts, and whether they normally ride alone or in a posse. (more…)
Thursday, March 15th, 2012
If you missed this week’s Blue Pearl Software workshop in Silicon Valley, you’re in luck – they’re holding it again on April 19th.
These workshops offer not only the opportunity to learn about Blue Pearl’s technologies, they’ll also let you brush up on your acronyms – FPGA, ASIC, SOC, CDC, SDC, SV, VHDL, and RTL – though not necessarily in that order.
Blue Pearl sells a suite of tools offering “comprehensive RTL analysis, clock-domain crossing [CDC] checks, and automated Synopsys Design Constraints [SDC] generation for FPGA, ASIC, and SOC designs.”
Release 6.0 was announced in February at DVCon 2012, where I spoke with Shakeel Jeeawoody, Director of Product Marketing at Blue Pearl.
Jeeawoody said, “We provide tools for linting, clock-domain crossing, and automated SDC generation – things people use to constrain their synthesis. Here in Release 6.0, a major new feature includes language coverage. (more…)
Saturday, March 10th, 2012
Even this deep into the era of IP and design reuse, it’s been my thesis that things are not quite as far along as many in the industry would like you to believe. With that attitude in hand, I spoke with three different companies in the IP space who disagree, although they admit issues still remain.
You can read my conclusions below from what they had to say, or you can read the original interviews and draw your own conclusions …
* Hal Barbour, CEO at CAST
* Warren Savage, CEO at IPextreme
* Bernd Stamme, Marketing Director at Kilopass Technology
Where things stand …
* IP is a reality: Over the last 10 years, the reluctance to buy IP has subsided, because third-party IP is better than ever, and the companies that sell it have come to see themselves principally as product companies, not services companies.
* Lots of different types of IP: Vendors are selling processor cores, standards-based busses, mixed-signal blocks, back-end design blocks, software blocks, drivers, foundation IP, etc., or any combination of the above.
* Standards and tools: Various wrapper standards and IP integration tools are easing the burden of using IP in a design.
* NIH still a reality: Concern still lingers, often without basis, that if I didn’t design it myself, I shouldn’t bank my product and my job on somebody else’s design bit.
* Risk Aversion still a reality: Buying IP is still not great for the highly risk adverse, people who need to guarantee a block is interoperable, meets required specs, and has been sufficiently deployed to work out the bugs. (more…)
Thursday, March 8th, 2012
Even this deep into the era of IP and design reuse, it’s been my impression that things are not quite as far along as many in the industry would like you to believe. With that attitude in mind, I spoke with IPextreme CEO Warren Savage, who convinced me otherwise, although with several caveats.
Q: Are people still reluctant to buy IP?
Warren Savage: That’s last century, and no longer a problem.
Q: How long has that been the case? 2 Years? 10 years?
Savage: I would say the pressure cooker that the semiconductor industry has gone through over the last decade has made that shift fully complete
Q: And is that true for all categories of IP?
Savage: I think so. We work with the large semiconductor companies with their internal IP. They’re definitely buying IP, although I’ve seen them creating IP when they need to differentiate around that block. We’re also seeing a shift in our business. Today we’re selling more differentiated IP, not commoditized IP.
Q: Can you define differentiated IP? (more…)
Thursday, March 8th, 2012
Even this deep into the era of IP and design reuse, it’s been my impression that things are not quite as far along as many in the industry would like you to believe. With that attitude in mind, I spoke with CAST CEO Hal Barbour, who convinced me otherwise, although with several caveats.
Q: Are people still reluctant to buy IP?
Hal Barbour: There’s been a big change. There used to be fly-by-night IP companies, which were really services companies, so people were leery.
Over the last few years, however, people have pulled back from those attitudes. Some “IP” companies have gone out of business – they couldn’t survive on just selling data sheets – while the established suppliers have become more mature. Now people know who is and isn’t [a reliable supplier].
Q: Was that the case 10 years ago, or has it evolved over the last decade?
Barbour: I would say 10 years ago, everybody was still leery. They didn’t know if they could trust outside suppliers.
But time to market pressures have grown such that people found they couldn’t reinvent the wheel for lots of the IP used by their competitors, or other people doing similar projects, so they started to go outside for processors and peripheral devices such as USBs, and so forth.
There’s still some concern lingering today – it’s not completely gone – but you’ll find that customers are definitely a lot more knowledgeable about IP.
Q: Are there tools available for comparing and contrasting similar IP offerings? (more…)
Tuesday, February 28th, 2012
Your assignment, should you choose to accept it, is to understand the new VIP product suite out of Synopsys. That’s really not too hard – the press releases, FAQs, and presentations are all out there for the taking, if you just get your act together and do your homework.
Unfortunately, I hadn’t – at least, not before my phone call last Friday, February 24th, with Neill Mullinger, Group Marketing Manager for Verification IP at Synopsys, and Michael Sanie, Director of Verification Product Marketing.
The call went badly, I couldn’t fully grasp the subtleties of their presentation, and I was running late for another meeting. Turns out, if I had just studied the materials beforehand, not only would it have clarified things, we could have skipped the call completely. The info was all there in the marketing collateral.
Here’s what Niell and Michael were trying to tell me.
Sunday, February 26th, 2012
Cal Berkeley EECS professor David Patterson did a great job this year organizing Berkeley’s EECS Annual Research Symposium on Thursday, February 23rd.
B.E.A.R.S. used to always be held in a theater in an engineering building on campus, however last year it was moved to International House to accomodate more people. But it was crowded and dark in there, and not a good fit.
This year, B.E.A.R.S. was held in Pauley Ballroom instead, atop the Student Union next to Sproul Plaza, and between great weather and plentiful refreshments, the audience of about 400 people seemed happier than ever to be there.
Good vibes in 2012 could also be attributed to Patterson’s choice of presenters, and the time allotted to each. Instead of the usual 10+ professors, each with 20 or 30 minutes to describe their research (academics who’ve consistently felt entitled to run long), Patterson limited faculty speakers this year to just 3. Each of them spoke succinctly and, miracle of miracles, stayed within their allotted time.
Hence, the fourth and final part of the 2012 program started on schedule, and consisted of 11 grad students talking for 5 minutes each about their respective research and labs. It was great – totally enjoyable and informative.