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 What Would Joe Do?
Peggy Aycinena
Peggy Aycinena
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.

ESD Alliance: If Edsel Ford had a twin sister

 
March 31st, 2016 by Peggy Aycinena


As much as the energetic re-branding of the EDA Consortium is to be admired
, the name of the new organization is causing distress: If you want to find out more about the newly launched ESD Alliance, your online search will be fraught with angst. Why?

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Herb Reiter at EDPS: Multi-Die IC Design and Application

 
March 24th, 2016 by Peggy Aycinena


To speak with Herb Reiter about the rationale for multi-die packaging
is a chance to follow a logical and energetic continuum from first principles to a final conclusion. Namely, that as the era of the ASIC subsides, the era of the multi-die package will arrive full force.

Reiter, President of eda 2 asic, will be reiterating this line of thinking, in conjunction with a panel of like-minded experts, at the upcoming EDPS conference in Monterey on April 21st. In anticipation of that session – “Multi-Die IC Design and Application” – we spoke by phone this week. The conversation was compelling.

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Accellera’s PSWG: Realists and Optimists, the lot of them

 
March 17th, 2016 by Peggy Aycinena


Mentor Graphics’ Tom Fitzpatrick gave a lunchtime talk at DVCon
several weeks ago summarizing recent efforts to build a standard [set of standards?] around portable stimulus for verification. The room was packed with over 200 people and his talk was sufficiently complete, nobody asked any questions.

After his presentation, however, I did hear some comments. Namely that these types of standards are quite complex and difficult to develop. Hence, setting an actual delivery date of January 2017 for Portable Stimulus Standard Version 1 [PSS V1] is quite aggressive and optimistic.

I was not fully informed about Accellera’s Portable Stimulus Working Group [PSWG] prior to Fitzpatrick’s talk, so could not judge whether January 2017 is or is not overly optimistic as a delivery date for the standard. Since DVCon, I have studied the slides and attempted to better understand what this is all about: What is a Portable stimulus and what would a set of standards look like?

Read the rest of Accellera’s PSWG: Realists and Optimists, the lot of them

Ajoy Bose: The Man Behind the Microchip

 
March 10th, 2016 by Peggy Aycinena


You would probably have learned more about Ajoy Bose
by reading his biography than by attending Jim Hogan’s gentle exercise in collegiality on Tuesday night, March 1st, in Silicon Valley. The conversation between these two giants of EDA, hosted by EDAC as part of DVCon week, was consistently unstructured, whimsical and seemingly without outline.

The next day, I sat in a coffee shop and struggled to find a handle with which to write a coherent summary of the previous night’s random access memory album. But that handle would not reveal itself.

Then I happened to glance over to a nearby table where another caffeine addict was buried in a book: The Man Behind the Microchip. I asked the addict who exactly was the subject of the book and the answer came back: Robert Noyce.

So Robert Noyce is the man behind the microchip, I pondered. The only man behind the microchip? Like Steve Jobs invented the iPod/iPad/iPhone? Or Thomas Edison invented the electric light?

No wonder, I realized, it was hard to get a handle on the previous night’s Hogan/Bose interview. They didn’t do anything. Robert Noyce did it all. And without help. Hogan and Bose did nothing, and ergo had nothing to offer their audience.

These two were not part of a vast conspiracy of contributors, all adding their particular drips and drops of innovation into the trickle of technology, that rolled into a small creek of creativity, that ran into a moderate-sized stream of science-turned-engineering, which poured into a roaring river of real change, which crashed into a seething sea of twenty-first century digital life.

Of course, that’s nonsense. Robert Noyce did not do everything, and Hogan and Bose did not do nothing.

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Attending DVCon: Read this first …

 
February 24th, 2016 by Peggy Aycinena


Emulation is everything in verification today
and therefore at the center of DVCon. Technology expert, Lauro Rizzatti, has prepared this brief tutorial for you, so you’ll be ready for the conference that starts on February 29th.

* The Past

Hardware emulation has been around for 3 decades. It started in the mid 80s with pioneers like Quickturn and Ikos, who used off-the-shelf FPGAs in the fabric of their emulators. The second decade saw the rise of several startups, some of them using custom silicon devices in the emulators.

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Marcom & PR: Discretion, not Thanks, defines the Equation

 
February 17th, 2016 by Peggy Aycinena


Those who play in the world of big business
are fully aware of the risks: Layoffs are part of the landscape. Yahoo is currently organizing a reduction of upwards of 1500 people as part of an attempt to put its financial house in order; the oil giant Schlumberger is letting ten thousand go, per the company’s January announcement; and Silicon Valley’s original anchor tenant, HP, is in the process of letting tens of thousands go as that organization attempts to right its own ship of state.

These pink slips notwithstanding, there is another type of layoff that is also part of the ebb and flow of big business in the modern era: The small layoff, the letting go of an individual or a small group within a larger department, not for performance issues but because the company has decided to go in a different direction. And it’s within this type of thing that folks in Marcom and PR often get caught up, yet nobody talks about it.

Why?

Because absolutely no one knows better than the folks in Marcom and PR that when they are let go, their future employment depends on their utter and complete discretion, their ability to keep a stiff upper lip and move on, their willingness to embrace the pink slip, pack up their desks, surrender their employee badges, and head for the exit with grace and style. Or, if they are employed by an external PR agency, to do the same without even the benefits of a severance package.

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DVCon Week: Bose and Hogan to Showcase Gravitas

 
February 10th, 2016 by Peggy Aycinena


Sometimes you just gotta wonder
what happens behind the closed doors of the executive suite. Last June, when Synopsys acquired Atrenta, Atrenta’s founder – a distinguished technologist, alum of IIT Kanpur, UT Austin, Bell Labs, Cadence and Interra, and profoundly well-seasoned EDA leader – closed the door on his leadership role at the company he founded 14 years before.

I will admit, I do not know if Dr. Ajoy Bose actually ever reported to duty at Synopsys last summer – the received wisdom would have us believe he needed to set foot there long enough to help his team transition into the Big Purple – but in truth, it is hard to imagine him ever playing second fiddle to Dr. Aart de Geus or Dr. Chi-Foon Chan, or anyone else for that matter. He is a man of that much dignity and gravitas.

Of course, if Bose did punch a time clock at Synopsys, it was for nary a nanosecond in geologic time. It’s been 9 months since the acquisition and now Bose is clearly free to speak in public about the past, present and future of the industry he has helped to create. That surely would not be happening if Bose was just a node in the org chart that has Chan and de Geus at the top of the pyramid.

So there’s one half of the good news included herein.

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DVCon: A moment in time

 
February 4th, 2016 by Peggy Aycinena


On a phone call last week
with the DVCon 2016 General Chair, Synopsys’ Yatin Trivedi, and 2016 Technical Program Chair, eInfochips’ Ambar Sarkar, I was again reminded of two unalienable truths: DVCon is a labor of love for those who have been involved for so long, and without these people the conference simply would not exist.

DVCon is the granddaddy of all design and verification conferences. It’s been housed annually in Silicon Valley since before the beginning of time, this year from February 29 to March 3 at the DoubleTree Hotel. As inevitable a part of the yearly conference cycle as DVCon may be, however, always remember that nothing is forever.

Learning and networking opportunities like DVCon only exist because a group of over-achieving volunteers continue to infuse the event with their special brand of energy and credibility. The conference goes on and on, because of the selfless dedication of the folks who carve time out of their busy professional lives to lead it — to solicit, vet and assemble the technical program, and to solicit, vet and assemble the exhibition hall (a unique ‘science fair’ sort of a deal that opens every afternoon after the technical sessions have wrapped up for the day).

But these kinds of volunteers do not always step forward and even when they do contribute at this level, their efforts often go unnoticed. Hence, when you think of DVCon, remember to be grateful to the team that brings it to you. Nothing lasts forever, even if DVCon seems likes it could. End of sermon.

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Gary Smith EDA: The Remarkable Journey Continues

 
January 27th, 2016 by Peggy Aycinena


Gary Smith EDA has set the gold standard for EDA analysis
for longer than GSEDA has actually existed. That’s because the core of the team has been together since way back in the 1990’s when the group was internal to Gartner Dataquest and had only one charter: Track the fortunes of the companies that then constituted the EDA industry.

Profound developments have unfolded since that time: Gartner saw fit to divest itself of an internal EDA analysis team in 2006, Gary Smith EDA was founded to embrace the market opportunity left to them by the Gartner decision, and the IP industry came out of left field and became as important a part of the chip design equation as the design tools themselves.

EDAC’s membership expanded to include companies like MIPS and ARM, the abstraction levels for design moved in fits and starts up and up, and Gary Smith’s affable expertise and relentless push for an ESL state of mind became one in the same in the minds of many in the industry. Then tragically last summer, Gary Smith succumbed to illness and a singular voice intimately associated with EDA industry was silenced. However, that was not the final chapter for GSEDA.

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Hypothetical Stock Index: Lip-Bu Tan vs. EDAC

 
January 20th, 2016 by Peggy Aycinena


Just short of 2 years ago
, the EDA press corps sat in a room in the Hyatt Regency in Santa Clara and enjoyed a face-to-face with Cadence CEO Lip-Bu Tan. A full report of that conversation is available here, but it is the closing segment of the report that informs this blog:

Finally, the Cadence PR machine closed out the hour by making sure the Press Corps was privy to the human side of CEO Tan. It would appear his wife does not make the tech-product purchasing decisions at home as much as do the two boys. Tan said that his two CMU-educated engineer sons are smart and savvy, and had advised him early on to invest in both Netflix and Tesla. Tan humbly acknowledged that he had, unfortunately, ignored those two pieces of advice and hence had lost out on the opportunity to win big in both movies and EVs.

So, here’s the hypothetical: Given Lip-Bu Tan’s involvement with a $2 billion investment group – efforts interleaved with his responsibilities as Cadence CEO – wouldn’t it have been wise to harvest stock tips from his press meeting back in March 2014 in Santa Clara?

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