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Posts Tagged ‘Imec’

DATE 2015: Great Ideas in Grenoble

Thursday, November 27th, 2014


A recent early morning phone call to Germany to speak with DATE 2015 General Chair Wolfgang Nebel re-enforced the idea that it’s going to be a lot of fun next March in Grenoble, if your idea of fun is new ideas and exploring frontiers.

Dr. Nebel said the conference is deep into its evolution away from being a pure EDA conference with associated exhibition, and is moving instead towards being a conference focused on applications of embedded systems and microelectronics. DATE 2015 is set to reflect that change by showcasing two special-topic days, one about IoT and one about medical applications.

“This IoT thing’s been around for a long time,” I said impolitely, “but suddenly it’s got a trendy name as if it’s just been discovered. What do you think we’ll be calling it in 5 years?”

Dr. Nebel chuckled and said politely, “That requires one to be very speculative. Perhaps by then, it will be a completely connected world and we won’t need a name at all, the concept will be so ubiquitous?”

I asked which topics would be included in the special day on medical applications.

Dr. Nebel responded, “There will be sessions looking at drivers for health-care innovation in three different areas. The first will be wearable computing for medical applications, meaning sensors that people will carry around with them as part of their clothing or directly attached to their bodies. These devices present challenges of energy supply and other such things. The second area will be implantable devices into the human body, and the third area will be diagnostics supported by medical devices.”


Tanner’s PDK: Pretty Darn Kool

Thursday, October 30th, 2014


Tanner EDA is based in Monrovia, California, which already tells you something about the company. They don’t play by the expected rules in EDA, they’re not based in Silicon Valley, they’re independent-minded, customer-centric, and have a long-time commitment to interoperability and straight-forward messaging.

When I spoke by phone this week with Tanner President Greg Lebsack, I suggested that Tanner is the Madison Bumgarner of EDA – steady, delivering without fanfare, successful and consistently attributing that success to team and hard work, while also expressing respect for the competition in the league.

Lebsack chuckled at the comparison and suggested an L.A.-based pitcher would be a more appropriate Tanner totem, one that wouldn’t get him in hot water with friends and family, but if I couldn’t see past Bumgarner he would reluctantly accept the compliment.

He added, “From the founding of Tanner, we have been a company built by engineers for engineers and taking great pride in our products. Being a small company without the marketing budget of the big companies, it’s true we are a well-kept secret in EDA, but that is changing with more and more people taking notice of us.”


Antun Domic: in hindsight, Mead-Conway Revolution at DATE

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013


Not all of the 1600+ people who attended DATE 2013 earlier this year in Grenoble were able to fit into the room where the panel celebrating 30+ years of the Mead-Conway VLSI Revolution took place. Those who could, however, were treated to a lively 90 minutes of conversation on what that revolution meant to the world of electronics and chip design.

Organized by Synopsys’ Marco Casale-Rossi and moderated by U.C. Berkeley’s Alberto Sangiovanni-Vincentelli, panelists included Berkeley’s Jan Rabaey, IMEC’s Hugo de Man, CMP’s Bernard Courtois, Columbia University’s Luca Carloni, and  Synopsys’ Antun Domic.

Although I was among those disappointed to have missed the event, I was able to speak after the fact with Antun Domic. He described the ambiance of the SRO session in Grenoble and enumerated several of the points laid out by the panelists, starting with their praise of Lynn Conway and Carver Mead’s ground breaking text book, published in 1980, Introduction to VLSI Systems.


Great Circle: from ISQED to DATE

Thursday, March 7th, 2013


If you were lucky enough to be at the ISQED Poster Session in Silicon Valley on Tuesday afternoon, March 5th, you had a chance to speak with various university students presenting novel work, various industry researchers presenting new ideas, and Chi-Foon Chan, Co-CEO of Synopsys, whose long involvement with ISQED, and deep and abiding interest in the underlying technology, fueled lively conversations as he too visited posters being presented by academia and industry alike.

As well, you would have had a chance to speak with Prof. Daniela De Venuto from the Politecnico di Bari. She told me about her research into implanted devices which monitor rate of chemical absorption in the digestive tract, and ways in which the resulting data could impact our understanding of the biochemistry of drug delivery mechanisms.

She also told me about various fascinating sessions at the upcoming DATE 2013 conference in Grenoble, starting on March 18th. These sessions are of particular merit for anyone interested in the interface between biological systems, electronic systems, environmental systems, and all manner of collaborative research embracing them all.

On March 21st, Prof. De Venuto is chairing a session on Smart Health along with U.C. Berkeley Prof. Alberto Sangiovanni-Vincentelli. The session is part of a Special Day on Electronic Technologies for Smart Cities.


49DAC Unplugged: Methodics, Synaptic, Instigate, ProximusDA, Fractal

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012


Each year, both Gary Smith and John Cooley provide a “Must See” list of companies they recommend attendees seek out and talk with at the Design Automation Conference. DAC 2012 was no different: Gary’s 2012 list had 27 companies and Cooley’s had over 80. Short of one, all of the companies on Gary’s list also appeared on John’s.

However, there were almost 200 exhibitors at DAC in San Francisco so clearly many companies exhibiting were not on these lists, which made for an interesting exercise: Go out onto the Exhibition Hall floor and only talk to companies who are not on the lists.

That’s what I did each day in San Francisco, walking up to booths without an appointment and in the process finding a host of articulate technologists, and their enterprises, which seem to exist under the radar at DAC. On Tuesday, June 5th, I spoke with 5 of them.


Imec: Firat Yazicioglu & the Cardiac Patch

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012


For the last few years, the world of Imec Senior Scientist and R&D Team Leader Firat Yazicioglu has revolved around IC design of mixed-signal and analog devices, specifically those used for bio-medical health monitoring, and not just the technical challenges, but the economic and ergonomic aspects as well.

When we spoke recently, Firat said, “At Imec [in Leuven, Belgium] we are looking at all pieces of the puzzle with regards to bio-medical devices. How can you curb the costs, what are the details of the electronics, and how can a wearable sensor offer a solution to the problem of home monitoring for patients with chronic disease? Things like arrhythmia or predicting a seizure before it happens.

“These questions are definitely More than Moore issues that involve both digital and analog content on-chip, signal processing problems, and the need for such devices to run on very, very low power.


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