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 What Would Joe Do?

Archive for 2013

Prakash Narain: creating a unique workplace culture at Real Intent

Thursday, June 13th, 2013


Every year, Forbes publishes a list of the Best Companies To Work For. The winners are always big companies, ones well known by you and me. The problem is that Forbes’ polling techniques are flawed. If they were not, EDA stalwart Real Intent would most definitely make the list, particularly if the folks from Forbes were to have been in on a recent phone call with Real Intent President & CEO Prakash Narain.


DAC 2013: Cowboys, Revolutionaries, The Art of War

Thursday, June 6th, 2013


One would think if DAC were to be located in Austin, it would be natural to connect the dots between the kind of folk who come to the conference and the cowboy of yesteryear – that iconic, laconic, sole warrior and minimalist who rides the open range with few possessions and even fewer words, but carries big ideals of freedom and individual liberties in his saddle bag, as well as a respect for hearth and home – although he’s rarely there – and the ability to defend the weak and helpless from organized power brokers who put the interests of the few above the needs of the many.

Nope, those aren’t the folks who come to DAC. Nope, the designers aren’t cowboys, and neither are the CAD managers, nor the CAD tool vendors, nor the IP vendors, nor the system houses, nor the fab guys, nor the PR folks or the press, and definitely not the academics. Nope, not cowboys.


DAC 2013: Top 10 on Day 3 in Austin

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013


The last day of the Exhibit Hall portion of DAC always arrives with a certain sensibility. Over the course of the 3 days, the place has become something between Our Town and a small college campus, and now with graduation it’s not clear when everyone will be together again. Yet the next phase of life beckons with all of its possibilities and trepidations, and people have to move on.

Happily this afternoon, as the 50th instantiation of DAC drew to a close in Austin, many residents of Our Town EDA could look forward to continuing the camaraderie at a first-ever DAC Banquet this evening at the nearby Four Seasons Hotel. Many of us were en route home by that time by plane, train or automobile and could not be there, but I hear tell it was a great evening. So my Top 10 on Day 3 in Austin starts with this late night report regarding the banquet thanks to ARM’s Tiffany Sparks, who was in attendance at the event.


DAC 2013: Top 10 from Day 2 in Austin

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013


The only thing most people remember about Tuesdays at DAC are the parties. You’re a success if you attended at least two, less than a success if you only attended one, and guaranteed immortality if you attended more than three.

Of course, other things happen on Tuesdays at DAC – early morning breakfasts where sincere technologists present and/or opine about somber challenges facing the industry, the plenary session, presentation of multiple awards, pavilion panels, mid-day luncheons, afternoon sessions, posters, and many, many hours logged in by booth staff talking and talking and talking to customers, potential customers, and general industry hangers-on looking for free give-aways.


DAC 2013: Top 10 from Day 1 in Austin

Monday, June 3rd, 2013


The Design Automation Conference is mostly about People who need People, so my Top Ten list from Day 1 in Austin here at the 50th DAC is about just that: The Luckiest People in the World.

No. 10)
Rushing up to Room 18 on Level 4 of the Austin Convention Center to attend the DFM&Y Workshop at 9 am, only to find that I couldn’t get in because I hadn’t paid. Why is this disappointment on the list of favorites?

Because on my way back down to Level 1, I ran into Jill Jacbos who’s been working overtime here in Austin on behalf of Accellera Systems Initiative (Stan Krolikoski received the 2013 Leadership Award at the 7 am breakfast today), the North American SystemC Users Group Meeting (taking place all day today on Level 3), and Jim Hogans’ Hot Zone Party tonight at Austin City Limit’s Moody Theater.

Jim’s efforts, and those of the folks helping him, are all to raise money for his Heart of Technology charity, which is donating funds raised in Austin to CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) of Travis County, Texas. If you want to donate, you can do so at Jim’s website.


DAC 2013: EDA news in anticipation of Austin

Thursday, May 30th, 2013


** Aldec announced the launch of Spec-TRACER, which helps organizations manage, control and track requirements throughout the entire FPGA/ASIC development lifecycle by streamlining and automating the requirements engineering process such as capture, traceability, requirements versions tracking, results management and reporting. The new product is targeted for use in safety-critical industries in which rigorous certification standards exist, such as DO-254 for avionics, ISO 26262 for automotive, IEC 61508/61511 for industrial and IEC 61513 for nuclear.

Louie De Luna, Aldec DO-254 Program Manager, is quoted in the Press Release: “Ensuring that traceability exists throughout the entire development lifecycle is crucial to proving that the product has been designed and tested through a requirements-based process, from top-level design requirements to HDL source code, and from verification test cases to the testbench and through to the simulation results. Spec-TRACER is exactly what the avionics industry needs to help satisfy the traceability objectives of DO-254.”


pre-DAC 2013: TSMC certifies ATopTech, CDNS, MENT, SNPS

Thursday, May 30th, 2013


In the old days, TSMC made a big toolflow announcement every year at DAC, and hosted a lively ‘partner pavilion’ where dozens of companies were showcased in small auxiliary booths that stood in addition to their conventional booths elsewhere in the Exhibit Hall.

At DAC 2103 in Austin, however, something different is happening. Hosted by GlobalFoundries, this year’s ‘foundry pavilion’ will showcase countries, not corporations: “The DAC Global Forum celebrates contributions and future plans of nations around the globe to the field of electronic design in past (sic) 50 years.” Should be very interesting; check out Booth #137 in Austin.

In the meanwhile, TSMC’s taking this week prior to DAC 2013 to announce various tool certifications, including FinFET v0.1 design enablement: “The tool certification serves as the foundation of design infrastructure for 16-nanometer FinFET technology.”

It’s always fun to read through these types of joint announcements, at least if you’re easily amused by the exercise of comparing the quotes embedded in dueling Press Releases. TSMC Senior Director Suk Lee, for instance, is quoted in all four press releases paraphrased below, sent out this week from ATopTech, Cadence, Mentor, and Synopsys.


Paul Estrada: BDA with an ACE up its sleeve

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013


BDA chief operating office Paul Estrada has been at Berkeley Design Automation for over 7 years and is as enthused about the company today as when he first arrived. Particularly, because he says BDA is getting more attention than ever these days thanks to its growing portfolio of leading-edge products.

“We are a small business that continues to grow,” Estrada says with pride, “focusing on nanometer verification, a market where there are lots of problems, but where we are definitely making [inroads]. It’s an area that’s ripe for innovation, and better tooling, and as we don’t see the big EDA companies putting time or effort into making progress there, it’s a sweet spot in the market for us.”

Sounds great, so what’s the elevator pitch for potential customers?

Estrada responds easily: “Many companies continue to buy from our competition – principally Cadence and Synopsys – but we go into leading edge RF and analog/mixed-signal design teams and ask them what they can’t do with their current tools. They tell us and then we do those things for them with our tools. As a result, they buy even more tools from us and we go on from there.


ProximusDA & STMicro: distributed SOC TLM VPs

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013


ProximusDA has announced it’s working with STMicroelectronics to develop next-gen software virtual prototypes. ProximusDA brings its expertise in parallel-code distribution to the effort and STMicroelectronics knows a bunch about transaction-level modeling and distributed-computing architecture, so the combination’s terrific.

That’s according to ProximusDA CEO Enno Wein: “Our collaboration with ST demonstrates the beneficial synergy between ProximusDA and its customers. The first achievement of the collaboration has been to allow ST to build distributed execution runtime of its SystemC TLM platforms on machines with up to 64 cores.”

So what is it that ProximusDA is providing that ST finds so useful?


DAC 2013: carpe diem with Ten in Texas

Thursday, May 16th, 2013


Let’s be honest. If you haven’t booked your flight and hotel yet for the Design Automation Conference in Austin in the first week of June, you’ve probably decided you’re not going. If that’s the case, more’s the pity because the sessions alone are going to be great, above and beyond the parties and networking, and will make the trip totally worthwhile. Here’s a sampling of the some of the topics that will be among the most compelling, with an acknowledgment that not everybody’s interests are the same.


S2C: FPGA Base prototyping- Download white paper

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