What Would Joe Do?
Peggy Aycinena is a freelance journalist and Editor of EDA Confidential at www.aycinena.com. She can be reached at peggy at aycinena dot com.
November 8th, 2012 by Peggy Aycinena
It might be the impression of late that all EDA-startup roads lead to Synopsys, but that would be incorrect. Small, privately-held companies continue to make their way in the industry, independent and productive.
Ausdia, based in Silicon Valley, has been underway since 2006 developing tools for timing constraint verification and management. Today the company announced a new board member, Sanjay Lall. Per the press release, Lall has 20+ years of experience in the EDA and semiconductors, “an expert in operations, marketing, fund raising and sales.”
He is also Chairman and Managing Partner at Cronox Group, on the Board of Advisors at Verdigirs Technologies, and a Director at Mobi-holdings. Previously, Lall was VP of Sales at Extreme DA, and “influential in the company’s acquisition by Synopsys in 2011.”
All EDA-startup roads may not lead to Synopsys, but not surprisingly the CVs of most seasoned EDA veterans do lead to Synopsys, and/or to Cadence and/or Mentor Graphics.
November 1st, 2012 by Peggy Aycinena
The leadership of ProPlus Design Solutions has a long history in EDA, although the company itself is a newly launched startup. Ten years ago, the majority of the leadership were involved in Celestry Design Technologies, Inc., while 5 years ago all of today’s ProPlus executive team were at Cadence. Today the company, based in Silicon Valley, is building on those many years of experience to make inroads in the demanding market for design-for-yield tools.
In late September, ProPlus released its newest product offering, NanoYield for yield prediction and design optimization. When I spoke with Dr. Zhihong Liu, Executive Chairman of the company, he touched on the history of ProPlus and explained the intent of NanoYield.
Per Liu, “ProPlus has foundation technology in modeling that goes back to Celestry, a company acquired by Cadence in 2003. When the team bought the technology out of Cadence, they founded ProPlus and [worked to create] a unique DFY solution, design for yield.
“Before I joined ProPlus two years ago, they were developing lines of technologies for both high-performance parallel modeling and circuit simulation/analysis with true SPICE accuracy. Now we have put everything together to provide an integrated solution for designing better circuits in shorter time, including modeling, simulation and multivariate statistical analysis. No one else in the industry is addressing all three of these together.
“One technology that was originally licensed from IBM is a multivariate High-Sigma solution. We put that together with our own industry-validated solution, and now provide the only integrated solution in the industry, NanoYield.”
October 31st, 2012 by Peggy Aycinena
Today is Halloween on both the East Coast and the West Coast of the United States. Millions of children on both ends of the country will be arriving at school in full costume regalia, prepared for parties, parades, and cheerful pandemonium. There is a major difference, however, between the events that will be unfolding in two specific locations on these two coasts.
In the San Francisco Bay Area on the West Coast, hundreds of thousands of children will be going to school in costume, while some hundreds amongs those thousands will be playing hookey, with their parents’ permissions, in order to stand on Market Street in The City and be part of the spectacle and ticker-tape parade celebrating the World Series winning San Francisco Giants.
In the New York/New Jersey metropolitan area on the East Coast and beyond, however, millions of people will spend this same day not celebrating at all. Instead they will be enduring another day without power or heat, only venturing out for food as needed from darkened shops, while having to slog through mud, sand, and the shattered remnants of their communities to do so.
October 25th, 2012 by Peggy Aycinena
Montreal is not a place that normally comes to mind when you think of EDA. Space Codesign Systems, however, is on a fast track to change that in a classically Canadian way – calm, cool, and collected.
When I spoke with General Manager Dr. Gary Dare on a beautiful afternoon in Southern France at SAME Forum in early October, he explained how the company started in Canada, and the road map they have set out for themselves: “We’re an EDA company, an EDA startup, and we are definitely based in Montreal. If you doubt that EDA has a place in Canada, we will soon convince you otherwise.
“Space Codesign comes from the acronym, SystemC Partition of ACE, which was the 2004 research project at the Ecole Polytechnique [University of Montreal] that our technology is based on. In 2008, Professor Guy Bois and various graduate students associated with the project decided to do a spin-out, and in 2010 Space Codesign Systems went into operation.”
He laughed and added, “Our company has nothing to do with space, however. But it has everything to do with hardware/software co-design – doing it simultaneously, rather than the usual way of ESL hardware design followed by software design. The audience we are targeting is the systems architects who are looking at the algorithmic level and need a route to design exploration and implementation. Our tools give them that route.
October 11th, 2012 by Peggy Aycinena
Once again this year, SAME Forum in Sophia Antipolis demonstrated what it does best: Bring technologists together in a collegial atmosphere to discuss and debate the latest trends in technology. Always a key part of the agenda, this year’s Startup Panel was even better than the 2011 event because it was held in the several hours before cocktails and the conference dinner.
Moderated by Intel’s Steven Klinger from 5:30 to 7:30 pm on October 2nd, six companies had the opportunity to stand up in front of an SRO crowd of over 100 to describe their ideas, vision, and business plans. At the end of the two hours, a panel of judges met to determine which of the six companies would receive the annual Most Promising Startup Award. In the eyes of many, however, just appearing on the panel was reward enough.
Following the two hours of presentations, the Startup company representatives had a chance to sit and talk one-on-one at tables near the cocktails and hors d’oeuvres with those interested in their nascent product offerings. It was an ebullient event full of substantive conversation, start to finish.
October 4th, 2012 by Peggy Aycinena
Synopsys announced today it has completed the acquisition of EVE, the French emulation company that provides platforms for SoC verification. The terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.
I interviewed Lauro Rizatti, General Manager and Marketing VP for EVE-US, in May of this year. [You can read that interview here.] Given the vigor of the messaging out of EVE at the time, it has come as a surprise to many, but undoubtedly not all, that EVE was acquired this week.
Per today’s Press Release issued by the two companies: “Emulation is a rapidly growing solution in the spectrum of technologies used to verify today’s highly complex SoCs. Integrating EVE’s technology with Synopsys’ best-in-class platform of simulation, debug, verification IP, coverage, static verification, low power verification, FPGA prototyping and virtual prototyping solutions will give Synopsys customers access to the broadest verification offering in the industry.
October 2nd, 2012 by Peggy Aycinena
It’s not often that the rumor hits the fan that Synopsys is buying EVE, it’s not often that you’re standing in a cocktail party at a tech conference in the South of France, and it’s not often that these two events happen simultaneously.
When the Synopsys/EVE rumor swept through the cocktail party in Sophia Antipolis on this first evening of the SAME Forum, not surprisingly a lot of people had opinions. This is not just a tech conference, after all, it’s a microelectronics conference with an emphasis on design; EDA is at the center of the conversation.
This is also Europe and at the moment EVE, headquartered in France, is the darling of the EDA ecosystem on the Continent. The company is doing very well, is felt to be holding its own in a series of lawsuits with Mentor Graphics, and is widely admired overall. Needless to say, the reaction over cocktails that EVE may go the way of SpringSoft and Magma was not one of jubilation. Just the opposite, in fact.
September 27th, 2012 by Peggy Aycinena
If you knew Phil Kaufman, you would have known how old he was when he died. Brief details of his life can be found through searching online: His last post was CEO of Quickturn, he died while on a business trip to Japan in July 1992, and the EDA Consortium established the Kaufman Award in his honor the following year.
This information is all readily available, but Phil Kaufman’s age at the time of his death is not so easily found. And why would that information be important?
By all reports, Phil Kaufman died of a heart attack, yet clearly he was fully engaged in his career at the time, which indicates his sudden death came as a shock to his family and colleagues. Did he know he had a problem? Did he have a history of cardiac disease? Was he being tracked by a doctor? Was the stress of the job just too much for someone whose health was compromised? I didn’t know Phil Kaufman, so I don’t know the answers to any of these questions.
September 20th, 2012 by Peggy Aycinena
This week the iPhone 5 goes viral as millions queue up to buy the latest and greatest from Apple. No small amount of ink has been spilled in the period leading up to the September 21st release detailing everything known [and/or presumed] about the product:
The supply chain [sophisticated & complex], the package [thinner], the screen size [bigger], the connector size [smaller & backwards incompatible], the case [which providers have accurately predicted the form factor], the manufacturing [more distributed], the apps [kludgey Maps], the business implications [a possible uptick in the U.S. GDP based on sales volume], the marketing [a juggernaut], and of course, the A6 processor [a precedent setter].
What’s not heard amidst any of these billions of word about the iPhone 5 is which EDA tools were used by the Apple team to design the chip(s) at the heart of the thing.
September 13th, 2012 by Peggy Aycinena
Samsung Venture Investment Corp. has just put $4 million into Carbon Design Systems in conjunction with the debut of a new strategic partnership between the two companies.
Per the September 12th Press Release: “Funds from the strategic investment will be used as working capital and will support Carbon’s ongoing development of leading tools in the ESL design space, including its fast, accurate virtual prototypes. Initiatives will be undertaken to expand the reach of Carbon’s fast, accurate virtual prototypes.”
I spoke with Bill Neifert, Carbon’s founder, CTO and VP of Business Development on the day of the announcement. He was amazingly relaxed, a clear indication that the Samsung-Carbon partnership is a logical outcome of a long-term relationship between the organizations:
“Samsung been a heavy user of our tools for quite some time, and has been looking for ways to take even more advantage of that situation – to speed up product introductions, something that everyone’s trying to do in that marketplace.
“Today’s announcement is part of a Samsung initiative to advance their SoC design methodologies. They have both the resources and expertise today to innovate and are looking to us to help them with that. This is also a nice partnership for us, of course. It will help us share our methodology in a broader fashion.”
I asked if Samsung’s investment will jettison Carbon into an even better market position.
Bill said, “Yes, but this is a true partnership. It’s not just about money for Carbon, but about having additional access to Samsung’s time, expertise, and technology. Samsung wants to make better products, and enhancing our technology will also expand their customer base.”