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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.

Morphing Mentor: Haiku haunts Wilsonville

 
October 6th, 2016 by Peggy Aycinena


In July 2008 and with much fanfare
, Cadence declared its intention to purchase Mentor Graphics. The Cadence executive team was so confident the purchase would go through, then-CFO Bill Porter declared during an analysts’ call at the time: This acquisition is going to happen, Mentor needs us. Accept it and move on.

Well, people did move on. By September 2008, Cadence CEO Mike Fister, CFO Porter and the entire executive team had indeed moved on. CDNS Board member Lip-Bu Tan was named acting CEO and here, 8 years later, he continues to serve in that role.

* Results: Mentor stock in May 2008 was at about $11.50/share, by June 2008 it had moved to $16, by October 2008 it was down to less than $8, and by March 2009 was barely above $4. Ouch.

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The Dictates of Fate: Andrzej Strojwas receives 2016 Kaufman Award

 
September 29th, 2016 by Peggy Aycinena


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.

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PCB Tools, Part 2: Request for info

 
September 22nd, 2016 by Peggy Aycinena


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.

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ESDA Market Timing: I’ve got the horse right here

 
September 15th, 2016 by Peggy Aycinena


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?

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Dancing Queens: Armstrong Kendall & The Soul of EDA

 
September 7th, 2016 by Peggy Aycinena


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.

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Real Intent: A sustained culture of Respect & Innovation

 
August 25th, 2016 by Peggy Aycinena


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.

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SNPS & OneSpin: Saving for Rainy Day not always Best

 
August 18th, 2016 by Peggy Aycinena


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.

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TetraMAX II: Synopsys renovates and innovates

 
August 11th, 2016 by Peggy Aycinena


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.”

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Conferences: Paper submission deadlines approach

 
July 28th, 2016 by Peggy Aycinena


A number of conferences important to EDA and IP
 are coming up over the next 12 months and currently looking for content. If you have an industry-relevant topic you’d like to talk about, the organizers of some of these conferences need to hear from you soon. Various deadlines are looming, most over the next few weeks.

Meanwhile, it’s interesting to consider that one of the most thrill- for-your-buck conferences on the list is Black Hat USA 2016 and Synopsys’ co-located CodenomiCON, both promising to teach you everything you need to know or are allowed to know about cybersecurity. Synopsys’ involvement in Black Hat may validate a comment overheard recently: ‘Synopsys is no longer really an EDA company. They’ve become a software integrity company.’

Also interesting, DVCon in San Jose and Mobile World in Barcelona in 2017 are on the exact same days. Perhaps there’s no overlap in the attendee population. But most interesting on the list, the sheer scale of the China International Modern Industry & Intelligent Equipment Exhibition with 500+ exhibitors, over 40,000 attendees, and more topics that you can possibly imagine.

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Shishpal Rawat: Intel, CEDA, Accellera, Calm Commitment

 
July 14th, 2016 by Peggy Aycinena


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.

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