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 What Would Joe Do?

Posts Tagged ‘Synopsys’

Synopsys’ Newton Project: Isaac, Richard, and the Power of 10x

Monday, March 24th, 2014

 

March 24th, 6:01 AM – Later this morning at Silicon Valley SNUG, the CEO of Synopsys will be presenting a keynote that will most likely dwell on the newest major tool release from his company: IC Compiler II.

Synopsys notified the press several weeks ago that the announcement would be made this morning, but we would only be blessed with a pre-briefing if we promised to honor the embargo. Undoubtedly most agreed to these most conventional of terms. However, either ESNUG was never asked, or simply learned details of the launch through more creative channels; a preliminary description and critique of ICC II were published there last Thursday for all to see.

When I asked Synopsys last Friday morning if the ESNUG post made their embargo invalid, it was clear I had touched a nerve in their organization. They were absolutely adamant that the embargo was still valid, and if I refused to promise to honor it, not only would I not receive my pre-briefing later that day, I would never receive another pre-briefing from Synopsys going forward. Ever.

Okay then, I’ve honored the embargo. I’ve also used the information published on ESNUG last Thursday afternoon to inform my interview with Synopsys last Friday afternoon. Speaking for Synopsys on my March 21st conference call with the company was Sanjay Bali, Director of Product Marketing. Numerous PR people were also on the call. Here’s an abbreviated report on how the interview went.

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CDNLive 2014: Delicious Sensory Overload

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

 

In the spirit of full disclosure, Cadence paid for lunch yesterday for the Press Corps attending CDNLive 2014. We had a scrumptious gourmet meal at Tosca in the lobby of the Hyatt Regency before returning to the Santa Clara Convention Center next door to have an hour-long “one-on-one” with Cadence CEO Lip-Bu Tan. In truth, it was actually an hour-long “twenty-on-one” with CEO Tan, because all of the usual suspects EDA Press Corps was in the room throwing softball lobbing questions at Tan.

Over the course of the hour, we learned that CEO Tan has a host of different investment partners – sorry, didn’t write down the names – involved in his various VC-funded ventures that span everything from GoPro [the trendy wearable camera enterprise out of Half Moon Bay] to a fabless startup that he said can tape-out a design at 16 nanometers for a scant $15 million, rather than the usual $150 million being lamented today in the global press. [In fact, Tan mentioned so many ventures he’s involved with, it begs the question: How does he have time to run Cadence?]

We learned that CEO Tan is very excited about all of the technologies involved in the semiconductor design/supply chain, that he believes it’s a great time to be a player in the industry, and that Cadence is innovating rapidly on multiple fronts simultaneously. And if/whenever Tan senses that they’re slowing down in any particular area, he pushes Cadence Engineering to move forward even faster.

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Imperas: Test it now or Recall it later

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

 

These are good days for virtual prototyping vendor, UK-based Imperas. The company will be making appearances this coming week at Embedded World in Nuremberg, at DVCon in San Jose the following week, and at CDNLive in Santa Clara the week after that, as well as several events in the UK in this same time frame. Imperas has a lot to talk about, including an announcement involving MIPS, a division of Imagination Technologies.

Per CEO Simon Davidmann in a recent phone call: “We’re small, self-funded and growing, with revenues last year up 65 percent. [Even better], the type of customers we’re seeing are tier-one semiconductor and embedded systems companies. We want to help people build better software. No one builds a chip without simulation, and we believe software development should be done like that as well.”

I asked about the competition. Simon answered, “It’s true, other people have models in the same space as ours – companies like Synopsys, Cadence and ARM – but we tend to cooperate with them. Our real competition is legacy breadboards, and kick-it-and-see techniques, rather than proper methodologies.

“For most complex SoCs, many people try to develop software with simulation at the RTL level, or with a hardware-accelerator box, but those approaches don’t get the throughput of software and performance they need. And with a prototype, they don’t get the controllability and observability. That’s why most of our competition is the legacy mindset in the customers.”

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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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Character: Sports, Entertainment and EDA

Monday, February 3rd, 2014

 

Yesterday was awash in poignancy. If you’re online a lot, you learned around noon California time that actor Philip Seymour Hoffman had died suddenly in NYC of an apparent overdose. The news really gave pause, particularly because it turns out he was so much younger than he looked, because the young people in my life really thought him a great actor and were stunned by his death, and because it gave evidence, yet again, that people of fame and legendary talent are also often so completely human and frail.

And, I was a big fan of Amy Winehouse. My friends and family knew that about me. When she died 3 years ago, I actually received condolence notes because they knew how I felt about her voice and her talent, and they were sad about it for me. Oddly, we somehow feel very personally connected to famous people. We feel we really know them, how strange. People wept for John Kennedy, for Abraham Lincoln, for Paul Walker, for Heath Ledger, for Marilyn Monroe, yet I’m pretty sure that most of those grieving never actually met the person they mourned.

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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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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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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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Aart de Geus: Smartest guy in the room

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

 

Several years ago, after a phone briefing about a new product launch, I received a call back from the PR counsel who had organized the meeting. She asked me if I had all the info I needed regarding the product and the company. I said yes, and offered a minor apology for asking too many pointed questions of the marketing manager during the interview.

She said, “Oh, that’s okay. Talking to you is like talking to Aart de Geus. It’s clear you both think you’re the smartest guy in the room.”

That comment has come to mind multiple times since then, for two reasons. One, you never really know what impression you leave with people until it comes out at some capricious moment. And two, Aart de Geus isn’t the smartest guy in the room, just because he thinks so. He’s the smartest guy in the room, because he really is the smartest guy in the room.

That’s particularly applicable today with the EDAC event celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the EDA industry about to commence this evening in Silicon Valley. Per the Consortium, a plethora of industry luminaries will be in attendance. Per this writer, none will be more luminary than Dr. de Geus. If you’re reading this, you’re probably pretty well versed in both the history of EDA and the history of Aart de Geus. Nonetheless, here’s the latter in a nutshell.

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