December 08, 2003
A Day in the Life
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Peggy Aycinena - Contributing Editor

by Peggy Aycinena - Contributing Editor
Posted anew every four weeks or so, the EDA WEEKLY delivers to its readers information concerning the latest happenings in the EDA industry, covering vendors, products, finances and new developments. Frequently, feature articles on selected public or private EDA companies are presented. Brought to you by If we miss a story or subject that you feel deserves to be included, or you just want to suggest a future topic, please contact us! Questions? Feedback? Click here. Thank you!

One editor said that these days the FGPA guys are discovering they can't afford to develop and support tools to enhance their product usage. Maybe that was the clue.

Our hosts said they still don't see much of a market there.

Are you concerned about expanding into markets like China where your IP is potentially compromised?

Our hosts said they have few concerns, if any. It's companies like ARM who should be worried. After all, the GDS of a core is more easily compromised than design tools.

One editor said why worry about tools being pirated when you can buy copies of anybody's software in any subway in Moscow.

Our hosts reiterated that it's companies like ARM that should be the ones that are worried.

What's the news in design services these days?

Our hosts said that their design services are pushing the cutting-edge designs, leading the industry into next-generation technologies.

Does that mean that you end up competing with your customers?

Our hosts said not at all. At 90 nanometers, the challenges are so great, customers welcome the help.

If the customers need that much help, doesn't it reflect poorly on the ease-of-use of your tools?

An editor at the table answered that one and said that these days the customers, particularly the fabless guys, are so short on staff - they've laid off so many people - that they've become completely reliant on the tool vendors to provide not only software, but also help with applying the software to new problems. That's the reality today. Our hosts agreed.

Our hosts said politely that anyway the point of the luncheon was not for them to be grilled about things, but for all of us to get to know one another.

The editors politely agreed. We all stood up, received our gifts, shook hands, and left. I drove to the office. I typed this up.

I stared out the window at the rain and the deepening gloom.

I thought abut editors and how once they accept food and beverage, gifts and favors, their ability to be objective is compromised - possibly critically so. I thought about companies and executives and politicians who, not surprisingly, would rather spend time building bridges with members of the press who are not perceived to be predisposed against the company, the executive, or the politician. I wondered how the Bush administration picked those particular journalists to accompany the President on his Thanksgiving trip to Baghdad. I wondered how our hosts today chose those particular journalists to attend the luncheon. I wondered how people so quickly forget that it's in the best interest of
the company, the executive, the politician, and the journalist, to maintain an adversarial relationship between the entity and the press corps that covers them. I wondered why editors are just as human as the rest of them - falling prey to opportunities to pontificate and pronounce. Why editors are so endearingly full of themselves. Why executives are so endearingly full of themselves, except when they're being self-effacing to endear themselves to the press. I wondered if those who are not in the press ever understand how deeply cynical those in the press eventually become. And that the food and beverage, gifts and favors, only make them more so. I thought about the closing scene of
the Wind.” I thought about Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryon and the reporter that covered the trial. I wondered if it's only the foolish and the old that truly believe. I wondered if the members of the press are ever foolish or old.

I turned back to my desk. I saw the gift I had received lying there next to my keyboard. I opened the gift. It was a wallet and key chain. Or was it, in truth, a ball and chain. I turned off the computer and stood up to leave.

I noticed that the gloom of dusk had given way to the dark of night.

Industry News - Tools and IP

Accelerated Technology, a division of Mentor Graphics Corp, announced mass storage class driver support for the Nucleus USB software, which provides USB support for the Nucleus RTOS. The company also announced the release of the Nucleus RTOS for the S1C33209 32-bit RISC processor from Seiko Epson Corp. The company says this release will give developers using the S1C33209 a “complete, full-featured RTOS to address the high-performance needs of building cellular, digital consumer and PC peripheral applications.”

Applied Wave Research, Inc. (AWR) announced that the company's Analog Office, Visual System Simulator, and Microwave Office design suites will be available on the Linux platform in Q1 2004. James Spoto, CEO and President of AWR, is quoted in the Press Release: “The advantages of Linux complement AWR's innovative and open technology by dramatically reducing product development time. We believe that the many attributes of Linux, including operating stability, security, performance, and interoperability with both UNIX and Windows platforms, will provide designers with a viable and cost-effective alternative.”

Also per the Press Release: “AWR's existing and prospective customers are demanding support for the Linux operating system, which users believe is less expensive and complicated to operate and support than UNIX, while providing better security and administration than Windows 2000/XP. This is especially true in the Asia Pacific region and other emerging electronic design markets, where UNIX is not a legacy system. In addition, as more industry-leading EDA tools and design flows are now being offered on the Linux platform, AWR will be able to provide a better and more complete design flow for its customers.”

Carbon Design Systems announced the general availability of its SPEEDCompiler and DesignPlayer tool suites aimed at pre-silicon system validation, where “thousands of users can simultaneously develop and test software on the 'golden' RTL hardware implementation model.” SPEEDCompiler software reads Verilog RTL and generates an ultra-high performance linkable object representation that is both cycle and register accurate. The object includes a 'C' API for system integration and an interrogation manager for design debug. The DesignPlayer engine incorporates a SPEEDCompiler object to create a deployable runtime model of a chip or an IP block - at the system level,
DesignPlayer engines can
represent multiple chips. Carey McMaster, Director of Software Engineering at StarGen, is quoted in the Press Release: “We wanted to employ RTL hardware models for software driver validation, but hit a simulation wall of 8 days per iteration. DesignPlayer reduced our validation turn-time from 8 days to 8 minutes and performed distributed discovery on a 20 node switch fabric that encompassed over 15 million gates.”

CoWare Inc. announced the addition of Ultra Wideband (UWB) to its Signal Processing Worksystem (SPW) wireless LAN library. The company says it is the first in the industry to announce library support for the technology being considered for the emerging UWB standard. Per the Press Release: “Two proposals are under consideration for the standard of implementing UWB in short- range wireless personal area networks. The CoWare SPW wireless LAN library now supports orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing (OFDM) technology. If the competing proposal for direct sequence code division multiple access (DSCDMA) technology is accepted, CoWare will expand its WLAN library to support it
as well.”

Denali Software, Inc. and StarGen, Inc. announced a collaborative effort to ensure interoperability of products which use the Advanced Switching (AS) interconnect. StarGen engineers say they have selected Denali's PureSpec verification IP to simulate, and verify compliance and interoperability of the AS interface in StarGen's StarXpress product line. Denali say it has extended its PureSpec product platform to allow StarGen and other AS chip developers to create and exchange simulation models of their AS interfaces under development, and simulate the interaction between their designs early in the development cycle.

Hier Design Inc. announced enhancements to its hierarchical floorplanning and analysis software. The company says its PlanAhead software is an “effective solution” for automating the design and integration of IP blocks within FPGAs, which should help designers to create FPGA prototypes quickly to verify ASIC designs. Per the Press Release: “The PlanAhead software has been enhanced to automate the importing and exporting of IP blocks with their VHDL and Verilog shells, as well as the creation of relatively placed macros (RPMs) for Xilinx FPGAs.”

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-- Peggy Aycinena, Contributing Editor.

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