Thursday, September 29th, 2016
Dr. Andrzej J. Strojwas, professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, has been named recipient of the 2016 Phil Kaufman Award for Distinguished Contributions to Electronic System Design.
Interestingly, this is the first year that the Kaufman award is being presented for contributions to Electronic System Design, not EDA. Very appropriate given that Strojwas’ contributions are in manufacturing and not design. Prof. Stojwas is CTO at PDF Solutions, which per company CEO John Kibarian has never been an EDA company. And with Kibarian serving as co-chair of the ESD Alliance, the organization formerly known as EDAC has now fully embraced its role across the entirety of electronic system design.
Besides this nod to EDAC’s ongoing evolution, the larger implications in CEDA and the ESD Alliance naming Andrzej Strojwas as this year’s Kaufman recipient are profound: The problems associated with electronic systems are not so much in the design these days, but in the extraordinary difficulties associated with manufacturing those designs. It’s really tough, as you all know, when the structures being manufactured are smaller than the wavelengths of light used to etch them.
Which bring us back to Dr. Strojwas. He has been CTO at PDF for 20 years. Back in the last century/millennium, the problems of manufacturing below 193 nanometers could only have been guessed at, yet the company was already working on the intriguing issues of capturing post-manufacturing data and somehow packaging it up to make it useful: How does the semiconductor supply chain glean vital information about the vagaries of manufacturing a real chip and send it back up to the designers so they can learn from the reality when they put pen to paper to design the next hypothetical?
This engineering of the engineering demands scientific curiosity, steely eyed attitudes towards the realities of physics and material science, and a large dollop of business savvy to navigate between the needs and demands of the foundries and the needs and demands of the designers. Let’s allow Dr. Strojwas to take it from here. We spoke by phone this week after his award was announced.
Thursday, September 22nd, 2016
Last year a blog was posted in this space talking about tools for PCB design: PCB Tools, Part 1: Zuken, Mentor, Cadence, Altium. Lengthy and detailed, that discussion included commentary on the state of the art, and the market, for PCB design tools.
Now it’s time to assemble Part 2 of the discussion, which will be posted here in early November. This second installment intends to include input from more than just the four companies in the first article.
Thursday, September 15th, 2016
January opened with a thud this year from a stock market point of view. Just a handful of days into 2016, things looked really bad, although it got slightly better by the start of February. Since then everything’s pretty much been up and to the right – at least for the five publicly traded companies whose CEOs sit on the board of the ESD Alliance.
The question is, of those five – ARM, Cadence, Mentor Graphics, PDF Solutions, Synopsys – which company should you have discerned in January would outperform the rest by the end of August? On which horse should you have put your money back in January, so you’d be the envy of the guys in August?
Wednesday, September 7th, 2016
Nothing is forever in life, most things are fleeting. And such is certainly the case for the giddy, glory days of EDA at the end of the last millennium when the likes of Abbie Kendall and Jean Armstrong ran the show — the PR show, that is, for Cadence at the height of the Ray Bingham Era.
The DAC of 1999 has already been memorialized here, in and around an homage to the late, great Marie Pistilli – but the DAC of 2000, at least the Cadence version, was even grander.
The night Cadence took their Press & Analyst constituency out on the town in June of 2000 was almost beyond belief. Remember that something like 11,000 hearty souls were on board in Los Angeles for DAC that year, the conference ramping up for the week at Staples Center just as the previous week’s Exotic Erotica Show was winding down. How appropriate.
Big money was flowing everywhere within the EDA ecosystem and the Big Players needed to demonstrate in the showiest way possible that theirs was the one that was going to dominate the next decade, theirs was the enterprise that was going to win the war.
Thursday, August 25th, 2016
Real Intent, a Silicon Valley-based EDA company, has been underway since 1999. That’s a lot of time for a company to continue to succeed amidst the shifting sands of an industry that specializes in either acquiring smaller companies or under-cutting their prices until the smaller companies simply close their doors.
In other words, Real Intent is a survivor and tells a remarkable story of steady perseverance and a well-established, respectful relationship with its customer base. Without both of these things, the company could not have remained viable.
This week, I enjoyed an excellent phone call with company CEO, Prakash Narain, a conversation of particular interest because Dr. Narain spoke candidly of the challenges that face small EDA companies in the current business climate.
Thursday, August 18th, 2016
As of August 17th, when they posted financial results for Q3_2016, Synopsys is reporting somewhere in the neighborhood of $1 billion in cash and cash equivalents. As prudent as it may be to save for a rainy day, here’s something a bit more creative the company could do with a portion of that cash: Buy OneSpin.
Why? Because OneSpin offers something that Synopsys doesn’t have – a market-leading position in formal verification. OneSpin would bring that to Synopsys, along with a strong, well-established track record and proven customer engagements across European, North American and Asian markets.
Thursday, August 11th, 2016
It takes courage to re-launch an existing product rather than start from scratch, to announce a refreshed and updated offering as if it were something brand new. That’s certainly the case with Synopsys‘ recent release of TetraMAX II. It took courage to build on a franchise that first arrived on the scene not just in the last century, but in the last millennium.
And it was with this sentiment that Synopsys’ Robert Ruiz and I started a recent phone call to discuss the July news that TetraMAX II has arrived on the scene.
Ruiz began: “This is TetraMax II. We wrote the key engines from scratch, an effort that took the R&D team a full two years to complete. The goal was to get 10x faster and 25-percent fewer patterns.”
Thursday, July 14th, 2016
Intel’s Shishpal Rawat has been Chair of Accellera for 6 years and is currently serving as President of CEDA, IEEE’s Council on Electronic Design Automation. In previous discussions, Rawat has insisted that his leadership is not what makes these organizations work. Only the enthusiastic efforts of the many members guarantee that both Accellera and CEDA continue to shape ideas, standards, and forward progress within design automation and its adjacent technologies.
Two years ago, I enjoyed a lengthy interview with Rawat about all of this, described here. This year, I’ve chatted with Rawat at DVCon in San Jose in March, and again by phone just prior to DAC in June. During the phone call, Rawat focused on CEDA’s activities at DAC in Austin. He told me the upcoming Sunday night panel, set to be moderated by SRC’s Bill Joyner on June 5th, was a new and very exciting addition to the DAC program.
Thursday, July 7th, 2016
It was the middle of the morning on a school day in California when the President was shot in November 1963. The principal came over the PA system and announced the President was injured in Dallas and was in surgery. She asked all teachers to suspend classroom activities and wait for further news.
In my class, our teacher told us to take something out to read and sat down at his desk at the front of the room. After a very long time, the principal came back on the PA. The President had died. She asked teachers to help their students understand what had happened.
Our teacher sat very still at his desk for a long time and then stood up. He started to speak, but stopped. He took off his glasses with his left hand and covered his eyes with his right. For at least 10 minutes he stood like that, still and silent with his eyes covered.