Wednesday, August 5th, 2015
If you live in or near Silicon Valley, you’re fully aware of what a Tesla Model S looks like. They’re everywhere, gliding along silently, leaving behind a wake of enormous marketing cache.
My driving costs are lower than yours are, because I drive a Tesla. My carbon footprint is smaller than yours is, because I drive a Tesla. I’m hip and modern, because I drive a Tesla, so get outta my way. I own a) this parking space, b) the right-of-way at this intersection, c) this lane on the freeway, and d) the right to glare at you if you think you’ve got the right to a, b, or c.
Okay, perhaps a little overstated, but I’ll bet you’ve seen some version of this phenomenon. Yet, had you attended the single, most information rich session at DAC 2015 in San Francisco, you would have learned that a lot of the street cred claimed by Tesla doesn’t actually hold up to close, tech-nomic scrutiny.
On Monday, June 8th, Synopsys’ Patrick Groeneveld and TUM Create’s Sebastian Steinhorst offered a lengthy tutorial [“Electric Vehicles – What’s in it for the EDA Folks?”] during which they blew away the feel-good haze that surrounds EV ownership and revealed numerous harder truths instead.
Thursday, July 30th, 2015
It’s been 10 years since I first explained why TSMC should buy Cadence. Now a decade on, many things have changed in the world and many have not.
Among the things that have not changed? TSMC still should buy Cadence.
First of all, let’s look at the numbers (per Yahoo Financials re: 2014):
* Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd.
Market Cap: $166.44 billion
Revenue: $27.31 billion
Operating margin: 39.26%
Net income: $9.70 billion
Total Cash: $16.61 billion on $7.40 billion in debt
* Cadence Design Systems Inc.
Market Cap: $6.14 billion
Revenue: $1.61 billion
Operating margin: 11.23%
Net income: $161.1 million
TSMC has got the means to buy Cadence.
By a long shot.
Thursday, July 23rd, 2015
Luckily this week PDF Solutions announced the acquisition of Syntricity, a “provider of yield-improvement technologies and services for the IC process life cycle. Syntricity’s dataConductor platform is a comprehensive, enterprise-wide yield management system that leverages a thin-client architecture to provide a cloud-based SaaS or distributed enterprise solution, allowing users to access their data anytime, anywhere.”
That news gave me a chance to attend to a long-overdue task: Compose a blog based on a lengthy interview with PDF co-founder and CEO John Kibarian conducted in the lobby of the DoubleTree in San Jose earlier this year. On that day, Kibarian and I sat in the bar at the hotel, although sadly it was mid-afternoon and the bar was not yet open.
Instead, ours was an all-business conversation that gave me a chance to learn far more about the man, the enterprise, and PDF’s newest product release, Exensio, “an enterprise-wide, Big Data platform, which analyzes and reports critical data generated across the semiconductor ecosystem”.
I last interviewed Kibarian in 2005 and labeled him then a Jedi Knight. In the intervening years, little has changed. He’s still singularly focused on the technology, and his incredible obsession with the interminable analysis of manufacturing data. Nowadays there’s also a dollop of Haiku thrown into the narrative, however, which somehow adds additional weight to the whole Jedi discipline thing. It’s a discipline based on deep understanding, patience, intuition, and the ability to learn. Indefinitely.
Thursday, July 16th, 2015
On May 27th, Mentor released its Veloce Power Application software, which “replaces a file-based power analysis flow with a Dynamic Read Waveform API integration to power analysis tools. [The new] approach captures information from the power switching activity plot and transfers that data to power analysis tools, [enabling] accurate power calculation at the system level, better power exploration at RTL for power budgeting and trade-offs, and more accurate power analysis and sign-off at the gate level.
“The [previous] approach of running the emulator, creating the file, reading the file into the power analysis tool, and running the power analysis tool is now reduced to just the emulator and power analysis run times.”
Several weeks after this announcement, I had a chance at DAC to meet with Jean-Marie Brunet, head of marketing for Mentor’s Emulation Division, and his team. We had a very interesting chat about the company’s progress with the Veloce technology.
Brunet was emphatic: “Mentor graphics is currently the global leader in emulation, with all others trying to play catch up but not succeeding! Our May 27th Veloce Power Application [is a reflection of that leadership].
Sunday, July 12th, 2015
The sun set quietly over the San Francisco Bay Area this evening, leaving a dusk awash in the light jewel tones of early evening. A hint of fleeting pink against a dome of whisper blue. Small breezes stirred the leaves on the big trees stenciled against the sky, while the little trees closer to the earth stood respectful and still. Sitting on the front stoop and listening to the calm, it was hard to remember the chaos of this morning, the noise, the color, the wicked mischief of Gary Smith’s wake.
Held in Silicon Valley, before the noon hour had even arrived, the ballroom at the Double Tree was awash in folks wearing ORANGE! (Master Cooley’s bossy caps, not mine) because that, according to all reports, was Gary Smith’s favorite color. And there was many a photo in the slide show presented to prove the point.
The wake was put together by a large committee of well wishers on behalf of Gary’s family, so Lori Kate, Gary’s son, daughters, and granddaughters could hear more about a man who everyone in the industry knew, everyone in the industry argued with, and everyone in the industry loved. The family simply showed up to Gary’s wake and was surrounded by all that love.
Tuesday, July 7th, 2015
On behalf of IBSystems and my own family, we extend our very deepest condolences to the family of Gary Smith, his children, grandchildren, and the love of his life, Lori Kate. Gary was an extraordinary man.
[The following article from EDA Confidential was posted online in May 2004, with an abbreviated version first posted in EDA Vision in July 2001.]
Gary Smith: The Oracle at Delphi has nothing on the Chief EDA Analyst at Dataquest
Starting and ending with the Tao is pretty enigmatic stuff when, in the middle of the stream, you find a bass-toting, black-leather-clad blues musician fresh out of the Naval Academy living in a shack in the midst of Silicon Valley.
That pretty much summarizes Gary Smith for those who know him. For those who don’t, to quote from an introduction to Gary I heard at a panel last year where he was acting as moderator, “If anyone in this room doesn’t know who Gary Smith is, they don’t belong in this room.”
For a number of years, Gary Smith has been (and by the looks of things will continue to be) the single most important prognosticator in EDA. The industry listens to Gary, at DAC and a thousand other venues over the course of the year. They bank on his annual numbers reporting on the health of the industry. They pin his EDA Landscape poster up on the wall to keep track of which companies are which in the here today/acquired tomorrow world of EDA. They take their business plans and nascent product ideas to him and hope for his blessings. They quote him. They court him. They keep him busy. And, apparently, he loves it — taking all of the adulation in stride with a smile and a nod. Which is what you would expect from a guy who takes Eastern philosophies seriously and incorporates them into his mindset and lifestyle.
The rest of Gary’s story is as follows. However, if you believe as Gary does that “less is more,” you needn’t read on. Based on what you’ve read, you already know him.
Wednesday, July 1st, 2015
If you’re interested in Wearables and the IoT, you need go no further than talking with Mentor Graphics, in particular the company’s spokesman Warren Kurisu. Warren and I spoke by phone last month, our conversation sparked by two aggressively confident press releases out of Wilsonville.
* Mentor Graphics announces its Embedded Nucleus RTOS framework includes a complete range of features targeting next-generation wearable IoT devices for the medical, fitness, and security markets.
* The new release of Mentor’s Nucleus RTOS targets connected embedded devices for high-performance, advanced IoT applications, utilizing process model technology that enables developers to reconfigure, update, and provision connected embedded devices that utilize cloud-based remote software services.
The IoT being at the center of all of this, I asked Warren to define the IoT. He said, “That’s an interesting challenge, because it actually depends on the industry.
Thursday, June 11th, 2015
It’s always hard to capture the spirit of any particular trade show/tech conference when it’s as large as DAC. So here’s just a small sample of the rumors and realities being bandied about at Moscone Center this week in San Francisco.
* Rumor: The Exhibit Hall ran until 7 pm on Wednesday night, so if you wanted to see the bagpipes close out the show, you could see it if you arrived at the Cadence booth by 6:45 pm.
* Reality: The Exhibit Hall closed at 6 pm on Wednesday, not 7 pm as on Monday and Tuesday. The bagpipes closed out the show, but at 6 pm, not 7 pm. Those who missed it were very, very sad.
* Rumor: DAC’s Exhibition Hall has shrunk so much over the last few years, it’s no longer going to be housed at Moscone Center. After next year’s DAC 2016 in Austin, the show’s headed to the San Jose Convention Center in 2017.
* Reality: Moscone Center is being renovated over the next several years, so DAC’s going to be in Austin in 2016, in Austin in 2017, and (probably) back in San Francisco in 2018.
Thursday, June 11th, 2015
Most mortals at the end of the day on Monday this week in San Francisco polished off their beers on the DAC Exhibit Hall floor at 7 pm and headed out for dinner and some R&R to prepare for the rigors of Tuesday. For those truly passionate about the future of Design Automation, however, Monday’s labors did not end at 7 pm. They had only begun.
Because in Room 300 from 7 pm to 8 pm, a series of visionary talks were offered — not one of them more than 3 minutes long — each proposing a different direction that the highly skilled DA community might take this industry by capitalizing on its vast expertise in optimization, algorithms, and hardware/software co-design. It was a great hour of presentations, which by the way was also a contest, complete with a panel of judges who got to choose the top three proposals and award cash prizes.
Thursday, June 11th, 2015
Something special happened Wednesday night this week at DAC, something magical in fact. Dozens of highly educated Design Automation professionals gathered for an intimate dinner in a private dining room at Kuleto’s on Powell Street in San Francisco for a first-time event.
Sponsored by the DAC EC and hosted by Dr. Soha Hassoun, Computer Science Department Chair at Tufts University in Boston, and Dr. Patrick Groeneveld, Synopsys Scientist and former CTO at Magma Design Automation, attendees included EE/CS professors from around the world, numerous post-doctoral fellows and PhD candidates, several 2015 Richard Newton Scholarship winner, as well as multiple design professionals from some of the largest commercial enterprises in EDA.
As attendees arrived, energized and/or exhausted from a long day at Day Three of DAC, Dr. Hassoun welcomed the gathering warmly and asked that people choose their seats carefully for the meal about to be served: Please do not sit next to anyone you already know!