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Posts Tagged ‘Xilinx’

Dream Catcher: Synopsys’ FPGA-based Prototyping

Thursday, September 17th, 2015


This week, Synopsys announced its HAPS-80 FPGA-based prototyping systems, which  the company says “delivers up to 100 MHz multi-FPGA performance and high-speed time-domain multiplexing technology.”

Johannes Stahl, Synopsys Director of Product Marketing for Prototyping, told me in a phone call related to the announcement that when it comes to physical prototyping, “things are breaking.” Which is why, per Stahl, Synopsys is fulfilling the dreams of its customer base with these new HAPS-80 systems, fully integrated systems that address the biggest problems in prototyping.


Lauro Rizzatti: Still Bullish on EDA

Monday, February 16th, 2015


Lauro Rizzatti, formerly VP of Marketing at verification-centric EVE, thought he was going to move to Oregon last year and retire, but he was wrong. Instead he is busier than ever, hard at work both in the EDA tech sector and in the larger world of venture capital.

Lauro is consulting with Mentor Graphics to promote the company’s ever-expanding presence in the world of emulation, and he is also involved with the Oregon Angel Fund, a group of investors led by Eric Rosenfeld and former SpringSoft USA President Scott Sandler, also busy residents of Oregon.

Mentor is one of the top two emulation companies in the world, along with Cadence. Synopsys also has a foot in the door of that market thanks to their 2012 acquisition of EVE, which brings us back to Lauro. It was after his year spent at Synopsys following the acquisition that he ‘retired’ to Oregon. Clearly, however, it was a waste of his 30+ years of experience in verification to not have him continue contributing to the conversation around that technology, hence his consulting work at Mentor.

I had a chance to talk with Lauro about all of this in a recent phone call, a discussion in which he celebrated the green of Oregon while also gently chiding the endless rain that makes that lushness possible.


Strange bedfellows: Synopsys & Software Freedom Conservancy

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014


Open source EDA software has been of interest to many, albeit not all, for a number of years. The appeal is intuitive: price point, ability to modify code, ability to weigh in on the design and usability, and so on. The drawbacks are also intuitive: unstable code, insufficient and/or eccentric documentation, ebb and flow of volunteer developers, lack of long-term support for algorithms and code, inability to interact with customers at a detailed enough level to provide software that truly solves problems and supports design.

There are two other drawbacks as well. Open source software is difficult to monetize around and it’s the antithesis of all things proprietary. The EDA industry, however, is profoundly proprietary. End of story?

Surprisingly, no. If you google “Synopsys Open Source”, you’ll get a whole page of links with this intro: “The following open source software are included in one or more Synopsys FPGA software products. Each is a link to information and source code for the respective package. In addition, when required by the open source license agreement, source code or information on acquiring source code is also included with the software product.”


Herb Reiter: The three-legged stool of Technology Choices

Thursday, September 5th, 2013


Herb Reiter, founder and president of eda2asic, has been in the semiconductor and EDA industry for 30+ years, including stints at Barcelona Design, Viewlogic, Synopsys, VLSI Technology, and National Semiconductor. In the last few years, Reiter’s work has focused on SOI, 2.5/3D ICs, and FinFET topics in semiconductor design and manufacturing. Straightforward enough, until you realize that these are significantly different ‘3D’ technologies, where ‘3D’ means different things to different people.

In a recent phone call, I asked Reiter to distinguish between what he calls the “three legs” of technology choices and to weigh in on which “leg” is most likely to succeed.

Fully-depleted SOI …

Per Reiter, “The original technology was partially-depleted SOI, a fairly thin film of silicon on top of a thin insulating layer. IBM came up with the idea, because substrate capacitance was slowing their chips down. They realized if they put in the insulating layer, they wouldn’t have to worry about substrate capacitance, because the oxide layer would insulate things.

“The planar transistor gate cannot reach all of the electrons in an 80-nanometer channel, cannot fully control the flow, and causes what we called ‘body-effect’ and ‘kink-effect’ design challenges. That’s why partially-depleted SOI was not widely used. So fully-depleted silicon on insulator, FDSOI, was introduced. It only has about a 20-nanometer active film on top of the oxide layer. The gate is sitting on top of the active film and can control all of the electrons passing through the source/drain channel, which is why it’s called fully-depleted SOI.


EDPS 2013: surf, sand, serenity, semiconductors

Thursday, April 4th, 2013


Let’s be honest about this. The reason the Electronic Design Process Symposium takes place every year in Monterey is because of the surf and sunshine. Otherwise, this conference would be so much more appropriately located in Silicon Valley.

Oh well, where’s the harm? Just hop into your favorite woodie, be it a hybrid or an EV, don’t forget the suncream, sandtoys, and surfboard, and head on down to Monterey Bay for two days of great talks, good food, and quiet-ish contemplation, with an emphasis on -ish. The 20th annual EDPS awaits.


DVCon 2013: Best Practices in Verification Planning

Thursday, February 28th, 2013


Sometimes magic happens at panel discussions at technical conferences, and that was the case mid-day on Wednesday at DVCon in San Jose this week, where the conversation was lively, entertaining and informative on the pedestrian, albeit foundational, topic of “Best Practices in Verification Planning.”

Ironically, the hour-long conversation did not appear to be planned at all, but to be organic and spontaneous. The Cadence-sponsored lunch and panel discussion, moderated by Cadence’s John Brennan, included Verilab’s Jason Sprott, Cadence’s Mike Stellfox, ParadigmWorks’ Ambar Sarkar, Maxim’s Neyaz Khan, Oski Technology’s Vigyan Singhal, and Xilinx’ Meirav Nitzan. The panelists began with an overview of their experiences.


Blue Pearl: Facilitating FPGA design

Thursday, December 6th, 2012


Shakeel Jeeawoody is VP of marketing at Blue Pearl. I enjoyed a long conversation with Shakeel at SAME Forum in France in October, and again at ARM TechCon in November. We completed the discussion by phone this week, starting with a brief profile of Blue Pearl and a discussion of FPGA versus ASIC design needs.

Per Jeeawoody, “Blue Pearl has been around since 2005, we’re located in Santa Clara, and our technology has all been developed in-house. Our underlying technology improves RTL analysis using symbolic simulation techniques and adapting them to our customers’ market requirements. We have competitors in the linting and clock-domain crossing [CDC] space, but not many that can generate SDC constraints and offer easy-to-use tools that run on Windows at an attractive price point to support FPGA designers.

“More FPGA designers today struggle with IP integration in their projects in the same way ASIC designers have in the past; if they don’t do the right level of analysis, there are reliability problems in the field. With that in mind, we focus on addressing emerging and major FPGA design issues – one we call Grey Cell Methodology, and we offer mode-based analysis to address issues associated with longest path analysis.


DAC 2012: Terrible Tuesday in San Francisco

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012


DAC looms!

And never more so than on Tuesday — especially this year, June 5th, when you’re going to have to make some terrible decisions about what to miss, and what not to miss.

First there’s the opening session in the morning when a boatload of awards are handed out, followed by the 2012 keynote. The Exhibition Hall won’t open until these things wrap up, so other than company meetings or company special-product announcement breakfasts, you should be able to be in the main theater at Moscone from 8:30 to 10:00 am or so.

Of course, worst case scenario: The opening session at DAC is always video-taped, so you could watch it at a later date after it’s uploaded to the DAC website but that’s hardly ideal.

This year’s main address will be delivered by ARM’s Mike Muller, “comparing the original ARM design of 1985 to those of today’s latest microprocessors … how far design has come and what EDA has contributed to enabling … systems, hardware, operating systems, and applications.” Then Muller plans to talk about 2020, how to get there, and what it will be like when we do. Conclusion? This stuff’s better heard in person than tape delayed. Go to the opening session, and plan not to regret it.


OVPs: old ideas made new

Sunday, April 15th, 2012


Open Virtual Platforms are an idea whose time has arrived. That is, if you understand what they are. Certainly, if you’re reading this blog, you know what a virtual platform is.

“Platform virtual machines are software packages that emulate the whole physical computer machine, often giving multiple virtual machines on one physical platform.”

For additional clarity, check it out on Wikipedia, paying particular attention to the incredibly dense/complex table found there that attempts to catalog various virtual platforms, their origins, supporting organizations, and features.


Imperas & Open Virtual Platforms

So, if that’s what virtual platforms are, then what are Open Virtual Platforms, OVPs?

Imperas – an enterprise founded in Silicon Valley in 2008 – would like you to understand and use OVPs. To do that, they are sponsoring a portal-based community called Open Virtual Platforms – a resource  designed to help chip developers have access to various open source virtual platforms, or models, of various commonly used hardware platforms endemic to the embedded systems world.


S2C: FPGA Base prototyping- Download white paper

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