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 What Would Joe Do?
Peggy Aycinena
Peggy Aycinena
Peggy Aycinena is a freelance journalist and Editor of EDA Confidential at She can be reached at peggy at aycinena dot com.

2015 Kaufman Award: Dr. Walden C. Rhines

September 9th, 2015 by Peggy Aycinena

This week, the EDA Consortium and the IEEE Council on Electronic Design Automation announced Dr. Walden C. Rhines as recipient of the 2015 Phil Kaufman Award, the EDA industry’s highest commendation for contributions to the business and technology of tools for electronic design automation.

Per the Press Release: “Dr. Rhines is being recognized for growing the EDA and IC design industries through his efforts as a leading voice of EDA and for pioneering the evolution of IC design to SoCs design.”

EDAC Executive Director Robert Smith is quoted in the Press Release, acknowledging Rhines having serving as EDAC Board Chair five different times: “Dr. Rhines has helped drive EDAC to a position of leadership, creating a mechanism for the EDA industry to grow and address common issues. He has worked tirelessly to promote EDA as a key enabler, driving the growth of the worldwide semiconductor industry as well.”

Paul Cohen, Chair of EDAC’s Market Statistics Services, is also quoted, acknowledging Rhines’ energetic, quarterly efforts to publicize and explain – for the benefit of analysts and press alike – the ebb and flow of the EDA industry: “Dr. Rhines was involved from the beginning with the quarterly EDAC Market Statistics Services, [which is] based on detailed revenue numbers voluntarily reported in confidence by public and private EDA, semiconductor intellectual property and design service companies. Rhines remains a strong advocate of the program as it approaches its 20th year.”

Read the rest of 2015 Kaufman Award: Dr. Walden C. Rhines

Alain Labat: Harvest Management Partners in the Driver’s Seat

September 3rd, 2015 by Peggy Aycinena

Alain Labat, the former President & CEO of VaST Systems, told me on a phone call this week that his story, in a way, is very simple: “When we got acquired by Synopsys in 2010, 5 years ago now, our management and investors clearly saw an opportunity to start our own investment bank and advisory company, so that’s what we did.

“We believed then, and still believe, that if you need a big bank from New York or a huge amount of money [to begin your enterprise], the right people are the Goldman Sachs or the other Wall Street guys. But for a technology-based company, you need something different.

“And so, at the advice of our investors, we started Harvest Management Partners specifically for those companies who need something different. Coming from VaST as we did, with a great deal of true operational experience, we felt we could offer much-needed guidance to those companies who were not a good fit for Wall Street.

Read the rest of Alain Labat: Harvest Management Partners in the Driver’s Seat

Camposano & Zelnik: Sage-DA promotes EDA Evangelism

August 27th, 2015 by Peggy Aycinena

Blogs are a dime-a-dozen, but you’re going to want to read this one if you want to know why distinguished veterans of EDA continue to evangelize for the viability and vitality of the industry.

On a phone call this week with Raul Camposano, newly-minted CEO of Sage Design Automation, and Coby Zelnik, President and Co-founder of the company, the point was driven home repeatedly: There’s as much of a future in EDA as there is a past, no matter what the current demographics may imply. Evolving demand in the CAD-tool marketplace means EDA companies will continue to emerge to meet that demand.

Read the rest of Camposano & Zelnik: Sage-DA promotes EDA Evangelism

Kaufman Award: My vote goes to Wally

August 20th, 2015 by Peggy Aycinena

As you all know, the Kaufman Award is presented every 12 to 18 months by the EDA industry, with support from the EDA Consortium and the IEEE Council on EDA.

Year in and year out, an individual from industry or academia is honored for providing a “demonstrable impact on electronic design through contributions in the field of EDA,” an impact in business, or industry direction and promotion, or technology and engineering, or education and mentoring.

Based on those parameters, in recent years we’ve seen luminaries such as Dr. Lucio Lanza, Dr. Chenming Hu, Dr. C.L. Liu, Mr. Pat Pistilli, Dr. Randy Bryant, and Dr. Aart de Geus receive this highly coveted commendation in reflection of their hard work, innovation, and dedication to EDA.

Now the fall of the year is upon us, and even though there is no date as yet posted to the EDAC website to indicate which day and hour in November this year’s Kaufman Award will be presented, or to whom, it’s a good guess the info will not be long in coming. It’s my hope that when the news does break, the answer will be Dr. Walden C. Rhines.

Read the rest of Kaufman Award: My vote goes to Wally

Groeneveld & Steinhorst: Optimizing the tech-nomics of EVs

August 5th, 2015 by Peggy Aycinena

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.

Read the rest of Groeneveld & Steinhorst: Optimizing the tech-nomics of EVs

Means, Motives, Opportunity: why TSMC should buy Cadence, the Reunion Tour

July 30th, 2015 by Peggy Aycinena

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.

Means …

First of all, let’s look at the numbers (per Yahoo Financials re: 2014):

* Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd.

Employees: 43,500
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.

Employees: 6,100
Market Cap: $6.14 billion
Revenue: $1.61 billion
Operating margin: 11.23%
Net income: $161.1 million

* Conclusion

TSMC has got the means to buy Cadence.

By a long shot.

Read the rest of Means, Motives, Opportunity: why TSMC should buy Cadence, the Reunion Tour

PDF’s Kibarian: Jedi Knight unplugged

July 23rd, 2015 by Peggy Aycinena

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.

Read the rest of PDF’s Kibarian: Jedi Knight unplugged

Emulation: Mentor & Ansys change the game

July 16th, 2015 by Peggy Aycinena

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].

Read the rest of Emulation: Mentor & Ansys change the game

Gary Smith: The Ecclesiastical Purple & The Pagan Orange

July 12th, 2015 by Peggy Aycinena

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.

Read the rest of Gary Smith: The Ecclesiastical Purple & The Pagan Orange

Remembering Gary Smith: The One & Only Oracle of EDA

July 7th, 2015 by Peggy Aycinena

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.

Read the rest of Remembering Gary Smith: The One & Only Oracle of EDA

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