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Peggy Aycinena
Peggy Aycinena
Peggy Aycinena is a freelance journalist and Editor of EDA Confidential at She can be reached at peggy at aycinena dot com.

Semicon West 2013: a quick sponsor eval

July 4th, 2013 by Peggy Aycinena

A note: Since composing this blog, the terrible crash took place at SFO. This tragedy is being felt keenly in the tech industry as it is possible that some of those on board were coming to San Francisco for Semicon West. Many people at the conference may have a special connection to the injured and/or have had their travel plans radically altered while SFO is attempting to deal with the aftermath. The people at EDACafe wish to express their deep concern for everyone affected by the accident.


This is clearly a holiday week, so most people are paying more attention to the barbeque than next week’s massive Semicon West in Moscone Center, so let’s keep this pre-event note short and to the point.

It is always [somewhat] telling to see who is and who is not sponsoring conferences, and Semicon West is no exception. What can be discerned, for instance, from the fact that GlobalFoundries is a sponsor of the conference this year, but TSMC is not? That Mentor Graphics and Synopsys both have their names on the sponsor list, but Cadence does not?

One conclusion might be that GlobalFoundries is putting a huge investment into perceived market presence by their high-profile participation in things like Semicon West and last month’s Design Automation Conference. Hoping as a result to look like they are more successful than TSMC, or more interested in making themselves available at vendor-neutral conferences.

Probably not a coincidence that the opening keynote on Tuesday morning at Semicon will be delivered by GlobalFoundries CEO Ajit Manocha. He will be speaking about Foundry-driven Innovation in the Mobility Era. Expect that talk to focus on one foundry in particular.

With regards to the Big 3 in EDA and their role at Semicon, Mentor Graphics is particularly obvious as a sponsor if you carry a mobile device. When I used mine to access the Semicon website, I was amazed to see the mobile app is being sponsored by Mentor. That Mentor’s so prominently featured there is really interesting; clearly the folks in Wilsonville believe Semicon attendees constitute an important audience for the company’s products.

Wait a minute: It turns out that Mentor’s CEO is participating on a Wednesday afternoon panel at Semicon. Is that because of the app sponsorship, or is it because the panel will be addressing A Promising but Challenging Future?

Actually, that subject sounds so ominous, it’s more likely panel organizers believe Dr. Rhines’ persistent optimism can serve as a balm for what ails the industry, which according to the program blurb includes new manufacturing technologies, finFETs, 3D-ICs, 450mm wafers, and EUV — things that “hold promise” but “remain rife with technical and business challenges and potential roadblocks.”

Mentor’s CEO is an acknowledged expert on the global ecosystem and supply chain needed to turn promise into reality. Even if Mentor wasn’t sponsoring the app, Semicon would want to hear from him.

And finally, there’s Synopsys. Is it too simplistic to say that these days, Synopsys is so big and powerful they have no choice but to be omnipresent? Given their corporate successes over the last few years and their dominant market share, how can they afford not to be a sponsor of Semicon?

And will their CEO be on stage in San Francisco? I couldn’t find Dr. de Geus’ name on the agenda, but that’s probably not something that Synopsys requested. At this point, Synopsys is so huge, having them provide sponsorship for something like Semicon is no more surprising than finding the mustard, mayo, and ketchup on the condiments table. It’s just part of the landscape of July in San Francisco.

Oh, and Cadence? They’ve just spent a tidy sum of money buying Tensilica; there’s far greater ROI to be had by a successful integration there than by putting hard-earned dollars into sponsorships at this point. Give them a couple of years, however, and then don’t be surprised to see them on the list.


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