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 What Would Joe Do?

Posts Tagged ‘Mentor Graphics’

D&VCon: A labor of love for Krolikoski & Co.

Thursday, February 13th, 2014

 

If ever there was a year when you thought to attend DVCon, this should be it, according to a recent phone call with Cadence Fellow Stan Krolikoski, serving as General Chair for the second year in a row. That’s because DVCon 2014 will be serving up the D and the V in equal measure, and won’t be skewed towards the V in DVCon as it has been [perhaps] in the past.

Per Stan, “We’ve gotten feedback every year from attendees that they want more emphasis on design. They say they like verification, but they want more design, so last year I gave marching orders to the Technical Program Committee [headed by Paradigm Works’ Ambar Sarkar] that they should add more people on the review committee who represent design.

“It’s actually been a long time in coming. Although last year was the 25th anniversary of the conference, 10 years ago the name was changed to DVCon. Prior to that, it was HDLCon and the content reflected that name. When the name was changed to DVCon it was supposed to include both design and verification, but [functional verification emerged as the larger focus].”

That focus meant that those types of experts tended to dominate attendance, according to Stan, but that’s been fixed this year: “We will still have excellent functional verification sessions at DVCon – everything for the beginner through to the guru, it’s all there – but we will also have sessions on low-power design, on analog/mixed signal, and on system-level design, as well as IP integration. We’re clearly moving away from just verification in adding lots of design content to the program that’s of interest to our audience.”

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Costello & Carlson: Buckle your seat belt …

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

 

Long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away the EDA Empire began and quickly coalesced into several big players and a band of plucky startups constantly attempting to compete and stay viable.

Back in that halcyon era, Rick Carlson and Dave Millman decided to get those startups to pull as one, to try to keep the industry open and progressing, to protect the EDA industry as a place where new ideas could see the light of day and offerings from small companies could compete on a level playing field against those from the big players.

To do that, Rick and Dave came up with the idea for a consortium of Independent Design Automation Companies, IDAC, and put out the word to like-minded colleagues that this new group would benefit everybody. Creating IDAC proved more difficult than they had hoped, so letting pragmatism rule the day they approached Joe Costello for help, then CEO of Cadence, even though that meant working with one of the ‘big guys’ and hence, EDAC came to fruition.

To hear the rest of the story per Rick, recounted in a phone call in December, click here.

To hear the story recounted by Joe Costello, read below. I spoke with both Joe and Rick together on a conference call in mid-January.

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Revolution from within …

Joe began: “Rick told me he’s concerned that in his recent conversation with you about the history of EDAC, he may have sounded too harsh. I said that’s not possible, because the truth about the industry is quite harsh. Just thinking about it makes my blood boil.

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IDAC: What EDAC might have been

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

 

Before there was EDAC, there was IDAC. But before there was IDAC, there was just DA – Design Automation without Community or Consortium. The EDA industry consisted of a small number of large companies controlling the conversation, and a larger number of smaller companies who thought that if they linked hands they could do it better. It was Rick Carlson and Dave Millman who decided in 1986 to bring that group of small companies together to create IDAC, which stood for Independent Design Automation Companies.

According to Carlson, speaking on a recent phone call, “We wanted to get the small independent companies to work together in a cooperative way to deliver a solution, a flow, that was equal to or better than the big companies. And because even then, the leading-edge algorithms always came out of these small startups, we thought we had good solutions that the customers would appreciate.

“But there was a deeper, more fundamental issue that we hoped to solve by creating IDAC and that was how to grow the industry and foster innovation, whether in through a startup or an established player.”

Things didn’t work out exactly like Carlson and Millman had hoped for.

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Mentor acquires Oasys: Hitting a Home Run with Synthesis

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

 

Who says the last week before the holidays needs to be dull: Mentor Graphics has just announced it’s acquiring Oasys Design Systems.

* The Money: “Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.”

There’s a surprise.

* The Technology: “Oasys RealTime is a next-generation RTL physical synthesis technology [that] enables faster turnaround times and the capacity to synthesize the entire top level of the largest designs, all while being physically aware for better correlation with physical design. Its ‘placement first’ synthesis methodology and integrated RTL floorplanning capability enable physical backend issues to be analyzed and addressed at RTL stages before hand-off to the back-end groups for physical design implementation.”

Turns out the conversation [read “innovation”] in EDA around synthesis, P&R and whack-a-mole is still underway.

* Mentor’s Interest in Synthesis: “This acquisition aligns with Mentor’s goal to deliver a best-in-class digital implementation platform to address the performance, power and area challenges at advanced nodes.”

Interesting.

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Career Girls: Does anyone really know what time it is?

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

 

Last week, I had a chance to interview the founder of Career Girls, a YouTube channel chock-a-block with 220+ video interviews of successful women talking about how they got started in their careers, what educational background they needed for those careers, and what features and/or people in their lives helped to bring them to where they are today.

All good stuff, but then this week Mary Barra was named CEO of GM – yeah, yeah, you’ve already heard – the first woman CEO of a major American automobile manufacturer. Outgoing CEO Dan Akerson is quoted as saying, “Mary was not picked because of her gender or political correctness, [but because] Mary’s one of the most gifted executives I’ve met in my career.”

So, it’s a meritocracy after all? If that’s the case here in 2013, do we actually still need something like CareerGirls.org to encourage our daughters to be all they can be? Well, despite Detroit’s Mary Barra, and the likes of Meg Whitman, Marissa Meyer, and Sheryl Sandberg here in Silicon Valley, there are still, according to some studies, very few women anywhere near to the top in big business. And we need look no farther than EDA to prove it … again.

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Hybrid ATPG/LBIST: Mentor says 1 + 1 = 1.3

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

 

Mentor Graphics has just posted a very interesting white paper on their website that discusses the advantages of combining ATPG and logic BIST to produce improved test coverage: Improve Logic Test with a Hybrid ATPG/BIST Solution, by Ron Press and Vidya Neerkundar.

The paper’s a good read for several reasons. There’s a brief, but accessible explanation of both ATPG and logic BIST, and then an equally accessible explanation of the benefits of combining the two to create a hybrid test approach.

This week, I spoke with Mentor’s Steve Pateras and Gene Forte about the paper and asked why, at this late date in the development of ATPG [automatic test pattern generation] and BIST [built-in self test], the paper starts with basic explanations of these two seemingly well-established test strategies.

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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.]

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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.

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3D technologies: Help for ‘The Lost Generation’

Thursday, October 10th, 2013

 

Bill Martin, E-System Design President & VP of Engineering, sent the following essay detailing 4 Generations in the History of Electronics, including the Last/Lost Generation …

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“If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.”
Isaac Newton, 5 February 16761

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1st Generation (1940-1960s): Vacuum tubes and possibilities

The start of the electrical computer age produced first generation electrical computers that required large rooms to contain them. These computers were large, heavy, power-consuming devices that had poor reliability (mean time between failures, MTBF): nothing like today’s handheld consumer devices that are more powerful, fit in your pocket, easily connect wirelessly to networks and can last 4+ hours on a single charge.

A few smart engineers realized that larger systems could not be built unless higher levels of integration were possible, helping to improve MTBF, size, weight, power and cost: a recurring theme for each generation that followed.

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At the Verification Bar: Solutions from Here to Eternity

Thursday, September 26th, 2013

 

A Professor, a Sage, and a Guru walked into a bar. Brian the Bartender, greeted them: “What’ll it be, boys?”

The Professor said, “We need some help, Brian, settling an argument.”

“No problema,” Brian the Bartender said. “I’ve got an answer for everything.”

“Well,” the Professor said, “I think ESL’s not going to happen in our lifetime, but the Guru here says it’s just around the corner now that he and his have finally got all the pieces of the flow in place.”

Brian the Bartender laughed, “Yeah, the Guru’s been saying that since the dawn of mankind!”

“Exactly,” the Professor said.

Again Brian the Bartender laughed, “Guru, can you defend yourself? And don’t even think about plunking your wordy White Paper down on the bar. This is a public house, not a public library.”

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Higgs: What a boson!

Thursday, September 19th, 2013

 

Mentor Graphics has thrilled once again. This past Monday, they hosted one of their periodic Silicon Valley dinners for customers, press and analysts where they include a physicist on the menu along with a gourmet meal and lots of fine reds and whites. The physicist de jour on September 16th was Cal Tech celeb Sean Carroll, author of the best selling book, The Particle at the End of the Universe.

An excellent speaker, gifted and glib, Carroll walked his audience of 75+ through stuff they once knew but had forgotten, or never knew at all – the history of the science of particle physics, the evolution of field theory, and the importance of Geneva-based CERN and its still-wet-behind-the-ears Large Hadron Collider [LHC], which last year on July 4th validated its $9 billion+ price tag by smashing things around a bit and creating the first observable Higgs boson.

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