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Posts Tagged ‘EDA’

Silicon Cloud: Architecting the Future of Design

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014


Despite its ethereal-sounding name, Silicon Cloud International is a company grounded in the reality of chip design, particularly for an important international demographic, professors and students. Mojy Chian is CEO of the Singapore-based SCI. We spoke recently by phone.

Chian started by defining the cloud. “The concept of the cloud is straightforward. It means remote computing, so if you are not using your local machine, you are using the cloud. There are a lot of applications in the cloud, including eCommerce, Facebook, cloud storage, and remote collaboration based in the cloud.

“Certainly, usage of the cloud has taken off in recent years, but remember there are several different types of clouds. In contrast to private cloud computing, public cloud computing means accessing machines [owned by other companies such as Amazon], where you can actually go and use their machines.”

Our conversation being specific to chip design, I asked Chian to comment on widespread industry concerns regarding security when working in the public cloud. Companies are oft-times reluctant to compute and/or store their designs in the public cloud for fear of losing their precious data to hackers and pirates.


EDA Sales: Debunking the narrative

Thursday, April 10th, 2014


As a journalist, you often talk to product managers of EDA companies. Sometimes, you talk to VPs, SVPs, or even EVPs. On the rare occasion, you might event speak with a CEO. This last, being more likely if it’s the CEO of a small EDA company. Of course, these days small companies in the industry are harder and harder to come by, consolidation being the current national pastime across the width and breadth of the EDA Nation.

As a journalist, however, the kind of person you rarely talk to is someone in sales. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

On the rare occasion when a journalist talks to an EDA sales person, it’s usually at big vendor-sponsored dinners associated with large conferences, evening events set aside to entertain press, analysts, and customers where there’s some sort of company rep assigned to sit at each table. It’s on those rare occasions that a journalist might accidentally end up sitting next to, and talking to, someone from EDA Sales – all the way through the salad, the main course, the dessert, and even through the after-dinner entertainment.

And it’s during those rare encounters at big dinners that many journalists realize that the EDA industry they thought they knew, is a completely different kettle of fish, a completely different entity, from the one where EDA sales people live and work.

EDA Sales occupies a completely different EDA Nation from the one journalists hear about from EDA product managers, executives, or marcom specialists who busily spin narratives about the company specifically for the benefit of the press and the endearing little stories they write.


Auld Lang Syne: Forte Design moves on …

Thursday, February 6th, 2014


When it comes to talking about Forte Design, only one word comes to mind: Classy. There’s always been a consistency of messaging, spirit and optimism comprising the public face of Forte, and no small part of that has been the spirit and personable styling of the VP of Marketing & Sales, that ultimate ESL Evangelist, Brett Cline.

Late yesterday afternoon, when I saw in an email blast from Semiconductor Engineering that Forte had been sold to Cadence, I was astonished [oh no, not another company sucked into the EDA Consolidation Vortex !?!], so I shot an email off to Brett and asked if he could make time for a phone call. True to form, he called me at 6 pm California time, which was 9 pm in snowy Massachusetts where Brett lives and works.

For the next 20 minutes, I listened to what has become the new normal in EDA: A great, albeit smallish company was made a “very fair offer” and although it may not have been the exit I myself would have predicted some years ago for Forte, Brett said that selling the company to a large EDA player is, today, the right and true decision for good leadership of good smallish companies in the industry.

All that being said, I noted an undercurrent of wistfulness in Brett’s voice. He wanted me to know how very much Forte Design has been run like a family company, that he felt about his co-workers at Forte as if they were family, and the fact that not all of them will be moving over to Cadence with the acquisition was making him profoundly sad last night. Profoundly sad.

Nonetheless, Brett and his co-execs at Forte will be moving to Cadence and the opportunities there, per Brett, are marvelous. He admires Cadence and is glad, given that Forte was going to be sold, that Cadence is where they’re landing. He admires the corporate culture at Cadence, thinks the management there respects the skills and technology being acquired with Forte, and thinks that not only is it a win for Cadence, but it’s a total win for Forte’s legions of loyal customers around the world.


Gary Smith: EDA’s Master Oracle

Thursday, October 31st, 2013


[Editor’s Note: An abbreviated version of this article first appeared on-line on in July 2001, and again in May 2004 when Gary Smith was engaged to be married to Verisity’s Lori Kate Calise.]


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 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.


Prakash Narain: creating a unique workplace culture at Real Intent

Thursday, June 13th, 2013


Every year, Forbes publishes a list of the Best Companies To Work For. The winners are always big companies, ones well known by you and me. The problem is that Forbes’ polling techniques are flawed. If they were not, EDA stalwart Real Intent would most definitely make the list, particularly if the folks from Forbes were to have been in on a recent phone call with Real Intent President & CEO Prakash Narain.


Dark shadows: The ugly truth of acquisitions

Thursday, April 11th, 2013


DAC is almost here and spring is in the air, so why would anybody dwell on the negative? Because although the truth often hurts, it can be cathartic to get it out in the open, especially on the eve of DAC.

And the truth is that despite all of the celebrations, PR, and instant-bazillionaire stories associated with one company being acquired by another, these acquisitions actually precipitate a world of hurt – today, tomorrow, next year, and sometimes even on into the next decade. Acquisitions are never easy and the reverberations for the people involved often last for a long, long time.


DAC 2013: co-locating ESLsyn in Austin

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013


Each time around, it’s an interesting exercise to see what conferences are being co-located with DAC, and this year is no different. From May 31st to June 2nd in Austin, the 2013 Electronic System Level Synthesis Conference [ESLsyn] will be co-located with the 50th Design Automation Conference. That’s a particularly interesting choice, because after so many years of ESL enthusiasts positioning system-level design at the center of all things EDA, why does it still need its own conference?

Well, let’s look at the organizers’ description of the meeting: “ESLsyn focuses on automated system design methods that enable efficient modeling, synthesis, exploration and verification of systems from high-level specifications down to lower level implementations.”

Okay. That’s sounds good. But, again, isn’t that stuff covered in a host of different sessions at DAC itself, in particular in Tracks EDA1 and EDA2?


Carbon’s Hal Conklin: A conversational random walk

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013


Several weeks into his new gig at Carbon Design Systems, it was a pleasure to speak by phone with Hal Conklin, VP of Sales and Marketing at the company. Conversationally, it was a bit of a random walk.

WWJD: Prior to joining Carbon, what were you doing?

Hal Conklin: I was doing enterprise software development for the government. I enjoyed the work, but not working for the government. I did that for 3 years and was quite successful, but it wasn’t something I wanted to do long term.

WWJD: So what inspired you to join Carbon?

Hal Conklin: I’ve been in EDA for quite a while and know how important it is to be with a company that has a product and customers who renew [their licenses]. Carbon is particularly important today with the changes that are coming in virtual prototyping. So given all the good stuff I’ve been seeing, I joined the company.


Phil Kaufman: At the heart of the matter

Thursday, September 27th, 2012


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.


EDA: where iPhone 5 electronics begin

Thursday, September 20th, 2012


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.


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