March 12, 2007
EDA in India
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I have been encountering, however, a debate as to whether or not India should be putting up a fab, or a latest-technology fab. I think the decision will mainly be driven by market forces, and is best left to the people trying to make these investments based on the financial viability of the projects. They see growing consumption in India and may want [to bring] the manufacturing closer to the market.
It’s difficult for me to say whether [India should] invest in semiconductor manufacturing or not, but there are arguments on both side. Manufacturing is a volume game, and we’re a little late getting into that game. One the other side, in order to capture a larger portion of the semiconductor value chain, you’ll have to move manufacturing to India. Some companies in India are putting their resources into this [idea]. It’s a major decision because of the investments involved.
Pratap Reddy, ArchPro
I have been associated with India in one way or another since 1995. That’s when I did my first entrepreneurial venture, moving from the U.S. to Bangalore to start Synopsys India. In those days -- beside Cadence -- there wasn’t anything in India [by way of EDA]. I spent 3 years starting the Synopsys organization and development team.
In 1998, I left the EDA space and went into the mainstream fabless IC space with a couple of startups before ArchPro. These startups both had a significant presence in India in varying degrees. Of course, in those days I was a user of EDA tools not trying to develop and sell tools. With ArchPro, I came back to the EDA space to focus on certain power management problems.
ArchPro has a unique model. Clearly we are headquartered here in California -- most of our executive management is here, plus engineering, marketing, and a couple of architects. But predominantly our development is in Bangalore. Also, we have a significant applications engineering force in India, mainly to cater to the local customers and also as application sales providers in Japan, Korea, and Europe.
[You have to look closely at the reasons the EDA companies first went to India.] When I approached Synopsys in 1994 with the idea of having an off-shore Synopsys India, it was the golden years of EDA -- Synopsys and logic synthesis were on a tear. There was not really any economic pressure at all to make the move to India. The primary purpose of proposing and starting the center in India was that most of the EDA players at the time -- Synopsys, Cadence, and Mentor -- were predominantly a workforce with software-oriented people. Even though the SOC and chip designers [were using the tools], there was very little hardware talent in the companies.
My main idea was to go off-shore to [have access] to chip and system-level designers, to take advantage of having those designers in-house, to develop domain-specific knowledge, and to have real chip designers using the tools and creating IP. That was the motivation for the move the India.
At the time, it took a while for people to comprehend all of it. [Of course], now it looks like a solid proposition. India now has a number of design centers and a number of [different companies] doing ICs there. It’s an entirely different story today -- the challenges that the EDA guys are facing, both as sellers and buyers of tools.
So, broadly, there are two categories [of topics] related to doing EDA business in India. Clearly, EDA companies that are founded here [in North America] have off-shore organizations in India. ArchPro’s in this first category. But the second category is having EDA organizations in India itself, trying to do business there. If you really look at this “flat” world, things have changed significantly -- there’s not a huge wall [between geographies] like in the old days.
If you look at the exciting players in EDA -- Synopsys, Cadence, Mentor, Magma -- they do all have R&D centers in India, the first category, but it’s only a certain percentage [of their effort]. Things get done there, and certain activities are supported, but today it’s more [because] of the cost issue.
However, within the second category where people are thinking of doing EDA work in India, it’s possibly a lost cause. Even here in Silicon Valley, EDA is such a small space. It’s only a $4 billion or $5 billion market. Yes, anybody can start a company, but it’s not really viable to have something in India under the current business models or at the current stage in the industry -- unless, of course, there’s a sweeping change in the whole design chain.
For instance, with new process geometries, or things like power, that we’re addressing, we’re talking about very innovative stuff. Can that happen in India? Possibly, but you have to look at the big market. If it’s there, perhaps a startup can work in India.
Another [concern] -- as a vendor, if you’re trying to sell your products in India, most of the decision making today for the multinational organizations happens outside of India. That means the selling process has to happen in both places. You’re selling value to the design community in India, but [handling] the legal part and contracts, etc., outside of India. Most of the design centers out there [in India] are focusing on the engineering. There are no EDA managers [on site], no contract person to [handle the details]. All the big companies make purchasing deals for the whole company [at a central location]. That may change over time, but right now it’s quite natural
for people [not in India] to be making the purchasing decisions.
The other interesting thing is that if you look at most of the companies in India, they have an STP organization, and most people don’t want to break away from that. If we sell into India, we have to use a different infrastructure to do the selling there versus developing relationships with the customer here. Synopsys, for example, has 2 distinct entities -- one for R&D and one for selling. They can still be a STP, but they are different tax entities and the people who handle the legal processes -- the kind that originate in India -- actually do it outside of India.
[Having said that], there is a little bit of EDA emerging in India. Several of the large design services and IP companies are finding a lucrative market in India, but they continue to service customers worldwide.
Technically, you could start a company in India, but I would not do it. In a startup, you need access to the people [who can help you do things], and fundamentally I don’t believe that’s possible in India. But again, if there were a fundamental change in the design flow -- the first in 25 years -- a new set of products would be required and there might be new opportunities.
EDA is a very difficult niche for investment and new startups, but there are huge opportunities as well. ArchPro is an example. There are changes that are going to have a profound impact on the flow, whether the change is being driven from here or from India. I’m very bullish on EDA for the short and long term.
Vic Kulkarni, Sequence Design
The recent ISA Vision Summit was a great opportunity to learn what’s going on in India, with over 250 CXOs and VPs of engineering in attendance. While I was there -- I was one of the speakers at the conference -- I was surprised to learn that there are now 12 or so EDA startups in India.
The total EDA workforce in India today is in the range of 2000 engineers working in Noida, Hyderabad, Bangalore, and Pune. Also, [my understanding of the approximate numbers of employees by company are] Cadence with 800, Mentor with 300, Synopsys with 200, Magma with 120, Atrenta with 230, CoWare with 30, Sequence with 35, ArchPro with 10, Synfora and Bluespec with 20 each, Calypto with 30, Apache with 10, and SoftJin with 100 or so. Of course, these numbers are approximate and can change, but it gives you an idea of the size of the EDA community there today.
When I was in Hyderabad at the Summit, I found quite a few companies’ hiring managers. They say they’re getting tons of resumes from people who want to go back. People who are not from India are moving there as well, learning Hindi, and finding it to be a fascinating culture.
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- India's Technical Education March 18, 2007
Reviewed by 'P Choudhury'
India losing tech edge and race
Pramit Pal Chaudhuri
Far from having an endless supply of brilliant engineers, India is in great danger of losing the race for tech know-how to the United States and China, indicates a new report. Vivek Wadhwa of Duke University, the lead author of Seeing Through Preconceptions: A Deeper Look at China and India produced by the US National Academy of Sciences, warns: "China is going to eat India's lunch unless India invests in the long term."
The report says India's much-maligned private colleges are the unsung heroes of the country's existing level of technical education, while its "public education system is mired in politics and inefficiency". It points out that India is also desperately short of PhD holders in engineering and technology.
The report undermines the oft-repeated claim that the future of technology will shift towards Asia because India and China produce 12 times more engineers than the US. It also destroys a number of myths, including the notion that the US is short of good engineers.
India's growth in engineering education, says the report, "has been largely bottom-up and market-driven." There are roughly three times more private engineering colleges than government colleges. While the former produces the numbers the new economy needs, their standards vary widely, according to Wadhwa.
His study shows that China leads the US and India in producing post graduate and doctoral degree holders. It says the Indian Institutes of Technology produce too few graduates. All the IITs together awarded only 2,274 bachelor's degrees in 2002-03. The same is true about India's PhD holders in engineering and technology. China increased its PhD holders five-fold between 1994 and 2004 to almost 10,000. The US produced about 8000 in 2004. India produces less than 1000. The trend has been flat since 1995. "India is in particularly bad shape," says the report
2 of 2 found this review helpful.
- EDAWeekly Feedback March 15, 2007
Reviewed by 'Vipin'
This article is interesting to read as most of the Semiconductor industry talks in India have been around Design and Manufucturing; very little around EDA.
1. EDA development in India: Yes, it is possible and it is happenning. I believe there is technical capability to develop new products. Some of the large players are already doing it.
Hence, it is possible for an Indian EDA company to grow and develop EDA product in India. But they would need to have a big size of their marketing outside India as the state of the art user are NOT yet in India.
2. Wafer Fabs: again a lot of hype going on but it will take 10-15 yrs to be able to do create the ecosystem to do state of the art. China, Malaysia and of course Taiwan, Singaproe are already there.
So this is really going to be the opportunity cost and the benefits of being located in India istead of else where: in term of profits, in terms of understanding the market for delivering for the Indian market.
Nevertheless, manufacturing is good for the economy as it allows a larger pool of employment with lesser qualitfication to earn more and Hence grow the economy.
3. High tech manufacturing and ATPkg: these would be where the first phase of manufacturing will come from and would be more viable as it requries lesser investment, lesser stringent infrastructure and easier to find or trian resources from the exisiting pool.
4. In any case: these are the years of OPPORTUNITY in INDIA for the ones who have the vision and the ability to sustain harship: in this century, the world will be supplied by China and India Or will be selling to China and India to make money out of their business.
2 of 2 found this review helpful.
- Nice numbers.. but tell me frankly March 14, 2007
Reviewed by 'Hemanth'
I have to agree somewhat that the projections made by the briefing document from ISA is inflated to bring in the 'feel good' feeling. I think the 75,000 engineers figure also mistakenly included the embedded engineers. Also the estimate of the Indian spending on electronics is bloated and half that figure might be a good guess too. And again this hype about the Indian middle class, no there simply arent 400 million as it says, it's amusing where they got that number from. From my reading, I glean its about 250 million and growing slowly, yes slowly. Now my views are so much in contradiction to the estimates is because I dont live in an ivory tower where I am fed some intelligent data, I am just an average indian working in chip design verification, walking the streets of Bangalore and aware of my sorroundings. I dont want to sound cynical but my hopes are tempered with reality- I think rajeev hit spot on with his assessment of the conditions here and pratap was correct in his evaluation for start-ups. As far as starting new business is concerned India dosent have any problem, infact there are more scrips opened and operated in Bombay Stock Exchange(our equivalent to NYSE) than in any other country. We are not new to business per se but EDA or for that matter even Software is a purely engineering endeavor and closely embraces technology. Technology as we know it is something foreign to us, pardon me, I am not naive but this is the truth. Technology has always been driven from the west and we had a lot of catching up to do in manufacturing before we could stand our ground in the world. This is because technology is basically nurtured and cultivated at the grass roots level by the universities and this symbiotic relationship between universities and industry is a determinant of the strength of technical competence. This is one area where India is thoroughly lacking. I dont know why when anyone talks of Indian education they immediately picturize the IITs. Yes IITs are excellent but do you know the percentage of indian engineers who come from IITs, it's << 1%. With some exceptions the rest of the institutions are mediocre or average at best. They are more like extended high schools in disguise. Poor Vic I wonder where he got his idea of a revolution in indian education from. Yes things are changing but slowly yes I repeat slowly. Things do happen in India but they happen slowly and this propensity for slowlness cant be changed.
So coming back to EDA since this and software is purely an technical undertaking it faces enormous challenges in India and frankly speaking availiability of skilled manpower in these areas is felt. No doubt EDA veterans comming from abroad and settling here would intitiate the surge of startups but ability to sustain and grow is only dependent on the fundamental needs to be addressed in education and business mindset. No wonder we have billion dollar software companies but they dont do any cutting edge applications, they are mainly into servicing because those are the risk free cash cows at present. To be innovative in business requires some daring and risk taking which are conspicuous by their absence in indian technology industry but again we are learning from others and things are changing but slowly mind you.
Hmm so Vic you thought that our politicians were tech savvy no doubt. There are competent beauracrats here but our politicians are a diffrent brand, you should listen to what they dont say and I hate to say this but beware most of them dont know what they are talking about.
Overall I am optimistic about EDA in india not because of all those statistics but because the ingredients are there and I know we are learning and growing and thats a recipe for change for the better. Not that we have to but I dont think we will ever be the silicon valley becasue we are oh.. so different.
3 of 3 found this review helpful.
- Problems of Rapid Growth March 13, 2007
Reviewed by 'Vishwanathan'
One of the problems the Indian Chip Design Industry is facing is past legacy.
The Industry grew very fast in the late 90's with a surge in demand of staff. With no history available a lot of inappropriate staff were selected, which no doubt served the purpose at that time. Ten years later the same people have reached the critical middle management level, where on the one hand they are micomanaging downstream project implementation and on the other hand trying to raise the work being done up the value chain.
Since not all selections in the late 90s surge were appropriate, the industry is saddled with not the best staff for the job but with many upcoming, able and challenging juniors. Those companies who have been able to recognise this problem and taken corrective measures have done well, while some who have not are getting saddled with an inefficient middle management.
An interesting challenge for the maturing design industry in India
- Number of people March 12, 2007
Reviewed by 'C V Srinivasan'
Wonder where the figure of 75,000 VLSI engineers came from ?
Excluding embedded and software engineers the rough estimates are, for front end and backend included and only, (apologies if any one is grossly wrong) :
Service Cos (HCL, Wipro, TCS, TElx, Mindtree, KPIT) 3000
(Add similar numbers for another 25 companies)
and check your primary school maths adding capability
9 of 14 found this review helpful.