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 What Would Joe Do?

Posts Tagged ‘Synopsys’

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.


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.


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 …


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


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.


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.”


Good times: EDAC says Q1_2013 a solid success

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013


Well, it looks like the industry has done it again, delivering good growth over a recent quarter. The Press Release issued by EDAC’s Market Statistics Service on August 6th detailed the numbers for Q1_2013: 8.1% growth overall, including 23.8% growth in Services, 20.2% growth in IP, and (a bit less glam) 2.4% growth in EDA. Interesting.

Meanwhile, Dr. Wally Rhines continues to contribute to the industry by making himself available for conversation about the MSS numbers as they are released each period, clarifying as always that his comments are on behalf of EDAC and do not reflect his role as CEO of Mentor Graphics. When I spoke by phone with Rhines earlier this week, I asked him if we can anticipate industry results for all of 2013 by looking at the Q1 numbers.

He said no, EDAC numbers do not portend the future, they only aggregate the results from the past. To know more about the future of the industry, Rhines referred me to the four visionary keynotes given at DAC by Synopsys’ Aart de Geus, Cadence’s Lip-Bu Tan, Jasper’s Kathryn Kranen and Rhines’ own talk.


FinFETs: Yes, No, Maybe

Thursday, July 25th, 2013


Ed Sperling, Editorial Director for Semiconductor Manufacturing and Design Community, moderated a breakfast panel on Tuesday morning, June 4th, at DAC. Having missed the bulk of the event, I was fortunate to have a chance later to review the slides of the five speakers:  Cavium Networks VP Anil Jain, GlobalFoundries VP Subramani Kengeri and Director Kelvin Low, and Synopsys VP Raymond Leung and Senior Director Bari Biswas.

Having now gone through the slide deck twice, I’ve come away with a set of conflicting messages. On the one hand, the challenges of FinFET implementation are so great there is still much to be done, and the promise of the technology is yet to be fully proven. On the other hand, the synergy between GlobalFoundries and Synopsys is so excellent the challenges associated with FinFET implementation are definitely being met. So which is the more accurate message?


Semicon West 2013: a quick sponsor eval

Thursday, July 4th, 2013


A note: Since composing this blog, the terrible crash took place at SFO. This tragedy is being felt keenly in the tech industry as it is possible that some of those on board were coming to San Francisco for Semicon West. Many people at the conference may have a special connection to the injured and/or have had their travel plans radically altered while SFO is attempting to deal with the aftermath. The people at EDACafe wish to express their deep concern for everyone affected by the accident.


This is clearly a holiday week, so most people are paying more attention to the barbeque than next week’s massive Semicon West in Moscone Center, so let’s keep this pre-event note short and to the point.

It is always [somewhat] telling to see who is and who is not sponsoring conferences, and Semicon West is no exception. What can be discerned, for instance, from the fact that GlobalFoundries is a sponsor of the conference this year, but TSMC is not? That Mentor Graphics and Synopsys both have their names on the sponsor list, but Cadence does not?


Obilisetty, Hassoun, Snyder, Willis: ignore networking at your own peril

Thursday, June 20th, 2013


Great if you were able to attend DAC in Austin this month. Even better if you were able to attend the Monday afternoon Pavilion Panel on the how-and-why of networking for career growth. The topic may seem irrelevant to some of you, but networking sits as the center of successful career development and it’s definitely not for the faint of heart.

Sashi Obilisetty, Director, R&D at Synopsys, assembled a seasoned panel of experts to discuss the issue – How networking is crucial to professional growth – with the June 3rd panelist including Tufts University Professor and DAC 2014 General Chair, Dr. Soha Hassoun, Calibra Consulting President Jan Willis, and Blue Pearl Software VP Kavita Snyder. The panel discussion began with Jan Willis:

Jan Willis – I want to share three perspectives on the issue. First, networking matters a great deal – for changing jobs, for moving into other fields, and for changing your career trajectory. I didn’t realize how much it mattered until I found that 100-percent of my current business in consulting is a result of networking.

Second, sponsors are very different from mentors, not at all the same. Sponsors tap you on the shoulders and point out when a job is available that would be good for you going forward. Third, networking is critical and it’s important to spend time on it. LinkedIn is a wonderful thing, but it offers you a false sense of security that you have great connections. If you’re not working at networking, [your network] won’t work for you.

Soha Hassoun – I would like to emphasize that it’s important to network early on in your career. Some people wait until they are at the mid-point in their careers, but that is too late. Whether in academia or industry, it holds true – you need to start early.


DAC 2013: Top 10 from Day 2 in Austin

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013


The only thing most people remember about Tuesdays at DAC are the parties. You’re a success if you attended at least two, less than a success if you only attended one, and guaranteed immortality if you attended more than three.

Of course, other things happen on Tuesdays at DAC – early morning breakfasts where sincere technologists present and/or opine about somber challenges facing the industry, the plenary session, presentation of multiple awards, pavilion panels, mid-day luncheons, afternoon sessions, posters, and many, many hours logged in by booth staff talking and talking and talking to customers, potential customers, and general industry hangers-on looking for free give-aways.


DAC 2013: Top 10 from Day 1 in Austin

Monday, June 3rd, 2013


The Design Automation Conference is mostly about People who need People, so my Top Ten list from Day 1 in Austin here at the 50th DAC is about just that: The Luckiest People in the World.

No. 10)
Rushing up to Room 18 on Level 4 of the Austin Convention Center to attend the DFM&Y Workshop at 9 am, only to find that I couldn’t get in because I hadn’t paid. Why is this disappointment on the list of favorites?

Because on my way back down to Level 1, I ran into Jill Jacbos who’s been working overtime here in Austin on behalf of Accellera Systems Initiative (Stan Krolikoski received the 2013 Leadership Award at the 7 am breakfast today), the North American SystemC Users Group Meeting (taking place all day today on Level 3), and Jim Hogans’ Hot Zone Party tonight at Austin City Limit’s Moody Theater.

Jim’s efforts, and those of the folks helping him, are all to raise money for his Heart of Technology charity, which is donating funds raised in Austin to CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) of Travis County, Texas. If you want to donate, you can do so at Jim’s website.


S2C: FPGA Base prototyping- Download white paper

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