Getting More than You Pay For - Part I

Per the Press Release: “Prof. De Man successfully combined his work on design automation with that on the actual design of electronic circuits. Some of the circuits that he helped to design have been in use for over a decade. His research led to the publication of 152 international journal papers and 438 internationally refereed conference papers. He supervised 37 PhD dissertations and won eight best paper awards and one best circuit award. Based on the research that he guided and motivated by his entrepreneurial spirit, several companies have been founded in the field of design automation (CoWare, Target Compiler Technologies, Adelante Technologies - now ARM Belgium, PowerEscape), design services (Ansem, Easics - now a Transwitch company) and applications (Sirius - now Agilent Belgium, Acunia, Septentrio). He is one of the most influential scientists in design automation in the world.”

The Structured ASIC Association (SAA) - Per the Press Release: “A group of Structured ASIC manufacturers and EDA companies, including Chip Express, Lightspeed, Synplicity, and Tera Systems, announced that they have formed the Structured ASIC Association (SAA). The founding members are collaborating to firmly establish structured ASICs as a unique market segment and educate the industry about this new technology.”

“As defined by the SAA, Structured ASICs are a new category of semiconductors targeted at customers who are looking for the fast-turn capabilities of FPGAs without their high unit cost, and those who want to take advantage of the relatively low unit costs of ASICs without paying high NREs. Structured ASIC devices reduce much of the up-front NRE and shorten development time by using pre-diffused base metal layers to implement logic cells, memory and I/O common to many designs. Custom logic for a specific application is then implemented in the final few layers of metal, requiring far fewer mask layers for each design.”

“Customers using Structured ASICs reap many of the performance and cost advantages of a full custom ASIC in a device which can be fabricated in as little as three weeks. Using this revolutionary new technology, design teams can build complex ASICs for 25 percent or less of the development cost of a standard cell device, at a unit cost approximately 90 percent less than a complex FPGA.”

Atrenta Inc. announced that its SpyGlass Constraints product, a design constraints validation solution, has been selected as a finalist for this year's EDN Magazine Innovation of the Year Award. This program is dedicated to honoring outstanding engineering products in the electronics industry. A panel of EDN's technical editors selected SpyGlass Constraints in the EDA Design Exploration category.

InTime Software Inc. announced that its InTime's Time Director RTL Timing Analysis (RTA) and RTL floorplanning software has been selected as a finalist, as well, for this year's EDN Magazine Innovation of the Year Awards, as one of four finalists in the EDA design exploration category. The program honors outstanding products, ranging from integrated circuits to test equipment, as well as the creative engineers who invent them.

TDA Systems announced that it, too, has been selected as a finalist for this year's EDN Magazine Innovator/Innovation Awards. TDA Systems says its IConnect MeasureXtractor automated model extraction tool was selected in the EDA - Physical Analysis category. The Innovator of the Year Award honors an engineer, engineering manager, or team of engineering professionals currently working in the electronics industry. Nominees must have demonstrated innovation that resulted in a significant advance in technology and/or product development during the past 12 months.

Atrenta Inc. announced that it has partnered with Transfer Nederland BV to deliver Atrenta's SpyGlass predictive analysis products to the BeNeLux region. The companies say that this new distribution relationship further extends Atrenta's presence in Europe, which already includes a distribution network in the U.K., Ireland, Israel, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, and direct sales efforts in France and the U.K.

Cadence Design Systems, Inc. announced that Lip-Bu Tan, Chairman and Founder of Walden International, has been elected to the Cadence Board of Directors. Per the Press Release: “Lip-Bu Tan has been active in the venture capital industry for the past two decades with a special focus on software, semiconductors, and communications. He introduced and pioneered the U.S. venture capital concept in Asia and contributed towards the promotion of early-stage technology investing in the Asia-Pacific region. He is a board member of Flextronics, the National Venture Capital Association, a member of the Visiting Committee for the Department of EECS at MIT, and a member of the Committee of 100.”

Tan has an MS in Nuclear Engineering from MIT, an MBA from the University of San Francisco, and a BS from Nanyang University in Singapore.

CriticalBlue has added venture capitalist Lucio Lanza to its Board of Directors. Lanza is Managing Director of Lanza techVentures, which recently invested in the company's $2 million round investment. Before founding Lanza techVentures, Lanza was general partner in U.S. Venture Partners, chief strategist and leader of merger and acquisition activity for Cadence Design Systems, and held executive management positions with several companies including Olivetti, Intel, Daisy Systems, and EDA Systems.

Hier Design Inc. announced that it has opened a regional office in Andover, MA. Vice President of Sales Craig Robbins will work from the new office, as will the regional account manager and several AEs.

Magma Design Automation, Inc. announced its expanded users group, MUSIC, will host a series of meetings in India, the U.S., and the U.K., starting with a conference in Bangalore in August. MUSIC stands for "Magma Users Summit on Integrated Circuits." The company says the former name, “Fusion,” was too closely tied with just one of Magma's tools. The new moniker is intended to represent Magma's “broader portfolio.”

Tharas Systems, Inc. announced that Gary Kiaski has joined the company in the capacity of Worldwide Sales Vice President. Kiaski has 20+ years of experience in domestic and international sales in EDA and most recently was VP of North American sales for Axis Systems. Previously, he served in an executive capacity at Innoveda, where he was responsible for sales staffs through three mergers and a spin off from Synopsys in 1998. Prior to Innoveda, he held various sales management positions at Calay and Intel.

Verisity Ltd. announced it has completed its acquisition of Axis Systems, Inc., a privately held company that offers simulation technology for hardware, embedded software, and system-level verification. The announcement of the definitive agreement to acquire Axis was made last December. Axis' President and CEO Mike Tsai will be Executive Vice President at Verisity and General Manager of the Platform Division. Steve Wang of Axis will serve as Vice President and Integration Executive at Verisity.

Per Gary Smith, at Dataquest GartnerGroup: “The acquisition puts Verisity in a position to become the leading power in ESL verification. Without the purchase, they would have had a hard time fighting off SystemC in the language wars. Now, they don't really have to. Now they will need to buy whoever is important in the design space, but we don't know who that is just yet. The leader is CoWare, but it's still early. We don't expect that market to be solidified until 2006. So, stay tuned.”

X-FAB Semiconductor Foundries announced it has increased its sales presence and technical support in the U.S., and added distributors in the Asia Pacific market. The company recently opened a new sales office in Boston, MA. Tom Riedl will head up that office. In addition, X-FAB has hired Aaron Pollock to handle sales for the company's Silicon Valley office. Per the press release: “Both professionals bring extensive foundry experience gained from corporate positions at TSMC and Dongbu.”

Bits & Bytes

1 - ChipVision Design Systems AG

ChipVision is based in Oldenburg, Germany. It was 5:00 PM their time, 8:00 AM my time when we spoke by phone on February 11th. The conversation included Joachim Riewesell, Chief Marketing Officer for the company, and Dr. Laila Kabous, Technical Marketing Manager. It's always interesting to hear things from the European perspective, so I enjoyed hearing their comments.

Riewesell: “It's nice to talk to you. We're just about to go home, as our workday is finishing. We're going to go have some dinner and [laughing] when we're done here, you can go have some breakfast. Both Dr. Kabous and I joined ChipVision two years ago. She and I are doing the chief marketing activities for the company right now.”

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