Posts Tagged ‘PDF Solutions’
Thursday, September 7th, 2017
John Kibarian has been involved with PDF Solutions since co-founding the company in 1991 in Pittsburgh, through its relocation to California in 1996, through the IPO in 2001, and on into today. He’s been CEO since 2000. PDF Co-founder Kimon Michaels has also been with the company since the beginning, and currently serves as VP of Products and Solutions.
As well, CMU Professor Andrzej Strojwas [2016 Phil Kaufman Award recipient] has been PDF’s Chief Technical Advisor from the beginning — not surprising considering he served as Kibarian’s PhD thesis adviser at CMU — and Lucio Lanza has been on the board of directors for 20 years, serving as Chairman since 2004.
PDF is a company that defines stability, steady growth, and an intellectually rigorous and serious-minded approach to solving problems. It’s not a company of self-promoters or grand-standers. It’s a company of highly accomplished technologists, deeply involved in one of the toughest jobs in semiconductors: Finding out why chip yields are good, bad or ugly, and figuring out how that data might be used to improve design and manufacturing.
The last time I interviewed John Kibarian, it was 2015 and PDF Solutions had just acquired Syntricity a company with yield-improvement technology and services for the IC process life cycle.
This time when Kibarian and I spoke, PDF had just acquired several assets of Kinesys Software, including its ALPS (Assembly Line Production Supervisor) software, “designed to enable complete manufacturing traceability, including individual devices and substrates, through the entire assembly and packaging processes” – capabilities which PDF plans to integrate with their Exensio big data analytics platform.
Thursday, January 26th, 2017
If you were to attend only one Kaufman Award dinner throughout your career, tonight’s might have been the right choice: a lovely meal in downtown Silicon Valley, and presentations full of warmth, respect, humor and clear-eyed admissions, all in honor of CMU’s Dr. Andrzej Strojwas, long-time CTO at PDF Solutions.
Having interviewed Prof. Strojwas some months ago when he was first named the 2016 Kaufman Award winner, and knowing the event was in the capable hands of the ESD Alliance, this evening’s ambiance was not a complete surprise. But the display of emotion and palpable affection with which Dr. Strojwas is held by colleagues and family was almost mesmerizing.
In fact, as PDF CEO John Kibarian hit his stride at the podium, detailing the lifetime of achievements and leadership at the core of Dr. Strojwas’ award commendation, there could be no looking away.
Thursday, January 5th, 2017
IEEE’s CEDA and the ESD Alliance – with help from their friends at PDF Solutions, Cadence, Mentor, Synopsys and ACM SIGDA – will host a dinner on Thursday, January 26th, in honor of the 2016 Phil Kaufman Award recipient: Dr. Andrzej Strojwas, Keithley Professor of ECE at Carnegie Mellon and long-time CTO at PDF Solutions.
Unfortunately, the last several Kaufman Award dinners were such over-the-top events – the 2014 event in honor of Dr. Lucio Lanza awash in glamour and luminaries, and the 2015 event in honor of Dr. Walden Rhines replete with zany zeitgeist and a roast from Intel-legend Craig Barrett unparalleled in the annals of EDA history.
The organizers of this year’s event may, therefore, find it impossible to craft something anywhere close to the previous two dinners, if the metrics of energy and frenetic glad-handing are the only ones of importance.
Of course, these are not the only two metrics of importance and nothing is ever impossible in EDA or IP, so do not despair.
Thursday, September 29th, 2016
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.
Wednesday, January 20th, 2016
Just short of 2 years ago, the EDA press corps sat in a room in the Hyatt Regency in Santa Clara and enjoyed a face-to-face with Cadence CEO Lip-Bu Tan. A full report of that conversation is available here, but it is the closing segment of the report that informs this blog:
Finally, the Cadence PR machine closed out the hour by making sure the Press Corps was privy to the human side of CEO Tan. It would appear his wife does not make the tech-product purchasing decisions at home as much as do the two boys. Tan said that his two CMU-educated engineer sons are smart and savvy, and had advised him early on to invest in both Netflix and Tesla. Tan humbly acknowledged that he had, unfortunately, ignored those two pieces of advice and hence had lost out on the opportunity to win big in both movies and EVs.
So, here’s the hypothetical: Given Lip-Bu Tan’s involvement with a $2 billion investment group – efforts interleaved with his responsibilities as Cadence CEO – wouldn’t it have been wise to harvest stock tips from his press meeting back in March 2014 in Santa Clara?
Thursday, July 23rd, 2015
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.
Monday, June 11th, 2012
This is the third in a series of blogs describing conversations with small companies that exhibited at 2012 Design Automation Conference in San Francisco, June 4th to 6th.
Since I published the Monday@DAC and Tuesday@DAC blogs, both Dan Nenni and Mike Demler have published attendance numbers for the conference. Interesting that the two sets of numbers see the same cup as either half-full or half-empty.
Per Nenni, the cup’s half-full when comparing DAC 2011 in San Diego to DAC 2012 in San Francisco: “Conference attendees were up to 1901, up 9% on last year. But exhibits only passes were way up to 2783, an increase of 39%. Even booth staff was up 11% to 2704.”
Per Demler, however, the cup’s half-empty when comparing DAC 2009 to DAC 2012, both in San Francisco: “Conference attendees remained essentially flat compared to the last San Francisco DAC, at 1,962 in 2009 versus 1,902 this year. Exhibit-only attendees dropped by nearly 20%, from 3,337 three years ago to 2,703 in 2012. It is interesting to note that Booth Staff actually increased slightly, from 2,697 to 2,704.”
Demler added: “An analysis of the DAC exhibitor list reflects many of the changes that have occurred in the industry. Fewer than 100 companies on the show floor, approximately half of the exhibitors, actually develop design tools.”
Demler also observed that PDF Solutions, a company whose CEO is on the EDAC Board, did not exhibit at DAC 2012. PDF Solutions does not consider itself a design tool company, however – see my interview with John Kibarian here – so even had the company exhibited that may not have alleviated concerns.