July 14, 2003
The Swing of Things
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Everybody knows that the toughest part of vacation is that first day back as you try to figure out what the heck's been going on in your absence. There's tons of e-mail, dusty voicemail messages on the machine, and a tattered list of ToDo's lying on top of piles of papers that didn't get ToDone before you left and probably won't get done in the next day or two either, as you try to catch up and get back into the swing of things.
In my case, I'm back from vacation, but already a week behind. My discussion with Jon Fields, Vice President of the Design Platform Organization at Agere Systems, was supposed to be in the newsletter this week, but for a variety of reasons won't be highlighted here until next week. Instead, here's a slew of Letters to the Editor that have arrived over the last 5 weeks.
May 19th - The hard working folks in PR
Andrea Zils, Edelman PR - The team at Edelman got quite a kick out of the PR job description published in last week's issue. It gave us all a much-needed pre-DAC chuckle! Your description was so spot on. We couldn't help but wonder ... were you in public relations in a former life?
May 26th - Final Editor's Note regarding Woody Allen & Groucho Marx
Bob Erickson, Vice President of Engineering at Synplicity, Inc. - To clear the air, Woody used the joke in the opening to “Annie Hall” but duly attributed it to Groucho. (But you probably already knew this.)
June 2nd - Movers and Shakers: Rajeev Madhavan & John Cooley
Nanette Collins, PR - The profile of Rajeev is terrific and the profile of John Cooley is priceless and will give all of us some insight into what he's really like. The Boston Globe used to run lengthy people profiles in the Living Section when my father worked there and that was the job I always coveted. After reading these two today, you reminded me of how sorely I miss reading these types of features in the daily paper.
June 2nd - Issues at DAC
Kevin Silver, Vice President of Marketing at Denali Software, Inc. - Verification IP is a huge issue for the majors right now. This follows the verification language wars between e, VERA, SystemC, etc. They all want to sell simulation seats and verification tools, but they don't have the vertical expertise to develop high-quality models and verification IP for the complex interfaces that ASIC developers are designing with (i.e. PCI Express, DDR memory, etc.) Verisity appears to be struggling the most; they recently signed a deal with some company in India to develop models in 'e' to support their platform. Synopsys has a terrible track record for delivering high-quality models for
complex interfaces. They just bought inSilicon and Qualis to fill the gap and supply verification IP in the VERA language. Cadence is trying to put together partnerships with providers to develop SystemC models in support of their Incisive verification platform. I like Denali's position, we provide verification IP for PCI Express and memory interfaces, and it directly integrates to *all* of these solutions - truly platform independent. What's
all the fuss about?
June 9th - EDA, Inc.
Circus (variation on a theme by Kim Alfaro)
Exhibit hall floor with the enormous over-sized booths;
Exhibitors in matching polo shirts manning their stations,
Milling attendees streaming up and down the aisles,
Magicians, the talent, the barkers, the toys,
The nonsense and the noise, and
Those ever-present and annoyingly loud neon lights,
Flickering so far overhead that you can't even see them if you try.
Dave Reed, Vice President of Marketing at Monterey Design Systems - Great article! By the way, most of us “fronds” have also spent time as trunks, so we do remember that thrill. Marketing carries with it a whole different set of challenges that I personally find very rewarding.
John E. Blyler, Senior Technology Editor at Wireless Systems Design Magazine - I agree with you that vendors need to listen more closely to the users.
Ghassan Yacoub, Strategic Technology Planning Manager, Business & Technology Programs at Intel Corp. - I enjoyed your report immensely!! Thank you for it. I have one question to ask you about a paragraph you wrote in your article. It's in quotes below:
“The engineers continue to support the canopy because the problems continue to fascinate them and tax their intellectual abilities. They're having a wonderful time in a way the fronds will never understand. The fronds would be nothing without them. Absolutely nothing.”
The question is: Do you really believe that the engineers would be anything at all without the fronds? (I am an engineer, and this is a question that I have always pondered).
Barry Braunstein, BDB Associates - Thanks for a very interesting newsletter and article on this year's DAC. I wanted to offer another perspective on your observations/corollary about the palm trees, specifically: “The engineers continue to support the canopy because the problems continue to fascinate them and tax their intellectual abilities. They're having a wonderful time in a way the fronds will never understand. The fronds would be nothing without them. Absolutely nothing.”
Indeed, the fronds would not exist without the trunk, and in fact, the trunk needs to grow first before the fronds can begin to spawn. However, it is important to note that without the fronds providing energy via photosynthesis, the trunk would cease to live and thrive. The corollary here being that without the sales/marketing people selling products to customers, there would be no business. It is truly a symbiotic relationship - and those who have been in this business long enough (and indeed any technology business) recognizes the importance of both engineering and sales/marketing. And they both would be nothing without each other.
Luke Turgeon, Turgeon Engineering Inc. - I just read your article, “The answer, my fronds, is blowing in the wind.” With respect to your following question: 'So I asked about a different strategy. Why don't designers and design houses just develop their own tools as their needs develop? Wouldn't that be much more efficient, producing solutions specific to each problem?”
We have done just that, we have schematic capture, spice simulation, post processing, layout, LVS and DRC capabilities. All the tools run on LINUX and we have all the source code (in 'C'). We primarily design analog and mix-signal ICs. We have designed ICs for telecommunications (DSL, cable modem, ESS5, submarine cable), radar (B2, F18), automotive, etc. Products FAB at Lucent/Agere, NorthropGrumman, TI, IBM, Elmos, AMI in bipolar, CMOS and BiCMOS.
1) We can modify the source code to address design issues. I have had major problems, like output file being too large (> GByte), resolved in a day or two.
2) We have modeled non-standard devices, like lasers, which allowed us not only to model the IC we were designing, but the IC and all its peripheral components.
3) It also allows us to automate much more (i.e. preparing a set of tasks for the computer simulations and letting it calculate all night unattended).
4) Much better graphical and tabular outputs.
5) Very high performance. No GUI baggage or hidden data. Currently using 3GHz PC with max memory. The cost is minimal, and additional PCs can easily be added on as needed.
6) No licenses.
1) Difficulty in obtaining compatible models from FABs. The FABs develop and support models for specific EDA companies, which often times have non-public domain models.
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-- Peggy Aycinena, EDACafe.com Contributing Editor.
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