[ Back ]   [ More News ]   [ Home ]
April 26, 2010
All About EVE
Please note that contributed articles, blog entries, and comments posted on EDACafe.com are the views and opinion of the author and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of the management and staff of Internet Business Systems and its subsidiary web-sites.
Russ Henke - Contributing Editor

by Russ Henke - 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 EDACafe.com. 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!


Devotees of this writer's monthly EDA WEEKLY column may have noticed that each of the companies [1] covered to date has occupied a different niche in the world of Electronic Design Automation:
  • Mentor Graphics MAD - Flomerics CFD Acquisition (Dec 07, 2009)
  • Virage Logic - Electronics Intellectual Property (IP) (Dec 22, 2009)
  • Agilent EEsof EDA I - Hi Frequency Design & Simulation (Feb 01, 2010)
  • Altium Limited - Affordable PCB/FPGA/Embedded Software (Mar 01, 2010)
  • Agilent EEsof EDA II - Hi Frequency Design & Simulation (Mar 29, 2010)

    The company featured in this issue for the fortnight starting April 26, 2010 also meets that criterion of “vive la différence!”, as EVE (Emulation Verification Engineering) occupies a unique niche in the esoteric world of EDA Hardware/Software Co-Verification, ASIC Emulation, RTL Emulation, Hardware Emulation, ASIC Validation, ASIC Prototyping and FPGA Prototyping.

    EVE also differs from the previously-profiled entities in that EVE is the only one of the five companies that is currently privately-held.

    Travel to the Interview:

    No doubt previous readers also noticed that inter-city travel from Albany CA was needed to secure interviews with key execs for each of the aforementioned companies. After the first three exotic sites meant “distant treks” to the likes of San Jose, Fremont and Santa Rosa, respectively, number four (Altium) initially implied the possibility of a sojourn to Sydney, Australia, soon downgraded to Carlsbad, CA as the destination, and ending up right here in the SF Bay Area.

    But with EVE corporate headquarters nestled in Palaiseau, France (just 10 miles from the center of Paris), could an 11-hour business class 5900 mile flight by yours truly to Charles de Gaulle International Airport (CDG) from San Francisco (SFO) actually be in the offing?

    Au contraire! Désolé! EVE has its USA Headquarters right here in good ol' San Jose, CA! Ce n'est pas grave; c'est la vie!

    As a result, the principal interview for this issue of EDA Weekly occurred at the current headquarters offices of EVE-USA, located on North First Street in San Jose CA. The office is precisely 50 miles south of the writer's office in Albany CA.

    While EVE itself began its existence in France in 2000, Dr. Lauro Rizzatti initiated EVE's presence in the United States as a group of one in 2002. Since then, the local EVE-USA office has grown to over 30 employees, over whom Dr. Rizzatti has either solid line or dotted line responsibility as General Manager.

    In addition, Dr. Lauro Rizzatti is the corporate Vice President for EVE Marketing worldwide; he also participates in much of the top level corporate business planning, reviewing, and staffing activities across the company. By virtue of his background, experience, skill and geographic proximity, Lauro is also EVE's principal liaison with partners, competitors and customers in Silicon Valley.

    Overall, EVE's headcount today exceeds 110 worldwide, with Palaiseau having the lion's share, providing most of the company's executive and R&D functions, the latter heavily weighted toward software development. Manufacturing of the actual EVE hardware products is done by three carefully-chosen European sub-contactors. EVE also operates EVE-owned branch sales, support, and training offices in India, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan, and EVE has established distributors in China, Israel and Finland. Over the years, Dr. Rizzatti himself set up many of these remote offshore offices and hired/trained the local personnel.

    Dr. Rizzatti's Background:

    Lauro Rizzatti was born in Gorizia, Italy, which is about 30 miles NNW of Trieste in the far northeastern part of Italy, and is about 100 miles ENE of Venice. Below is a photo of Gorizia from Google Earth by Francisco Santos:

    Lauro and his brother and sister were reared in Gorizia by their mother and father, the latter of whom was an accomplished surgeon. Lauro entered a five year electronics engineering course of study in 1965 and graduated with a Doctorate in 1970 from the nearby University of Trieste:

    Upon graduation Lauro took a job in the European telecommunications industry, first spending four years in Milan at SIT-Siemens (today: Italtel). Then he joined Standard Elektrik Lorenz based in Stuttgart. As a telecom electronics hardware designer, this job took him on multiple assignments to other countries, some as exotic as the Sultanate of Oman, some as plebeian as a two-year post in the mid-70's to Gallion, Ohio (only 170 miles northeast of the writer's hometown of Cincinnati).

    Next Lauro accepted a position as an electronics applications engineer for Teradyne, a multi-national automatic test equipment (ATE) firm. While Lauro worked and resided in Munich for four years in this position, once again his vocation meant travel and eventual relocation to other countries in Europe, and ultimately led to a transfer to the USA (Boston). During his assignments at Teradyne, Lauro also had a chance to observe Teradyne's less-than-successful foray into EDA, a very tempting field in the “go-go eighties.”

    Founded in 1981, one EDA vendor thriving in the eighties was Mentor Graphics Corporation (MGC), early on a key member of the “DMV Big 3 of EDA -- Daisy-Mentor-Valid.” Finally in 1989, Lauro was lured away from Teradyne to join MGC as an applications engineer in Boston, soon followed by his relocation from Boston to the MGC HQ in Beaverton, OR (prior to MGC moving its HQ to nearby Wilsonville, OR). This position ultimately led Lauro to an 11-year career at MGC, including new assignments in technical marketing and then product marketing. (A portion of Lauro's term at MGC overlapped with the writer's 1990-1996 MGC tenure, although each of us was based in
    a different city for the most part).

    Dr. Rizzatti

    Having left MGC, and following a relative short period working for Synopsys, Lauro became interested in possible executive roles at small start-ups in Silicon Valley.

    After a year-and-a-half at Get2Chip, Lauro joined EVE SA in April 2002.

    EVE itself was then a tiny, self-funded independent enterprise based in France. EVE had been founded in 2000 by four engineers and scientists who had formerly been with the emulation division of Mentor Graphics, a division organized at MGC after its 1996 acquisition of META Systems.

    (Apparently, in the mid-90's, MGC and Quickturn had entered into a bidding war to acquire META Systems, which employed 15 people at the time and further, possessed superior emulation technology to that of either would-be acquirer. MGC prevailed and META Systems became part of MGC).

    Once he joined EVE, Lauro was asked right out of the box to open EVE's US Operations in San Jose, CA, and “the rest,” as they say, “is history.”

    The Rest is History?

    Actually, the writer has always disliked the expression, “The rest is history,” mostly because the cliché tends to understate the effort and agony of starting or restarting a business enterprise. The effort and agony abides even for those who participate in the beginnings of an enterprise that eventually survives and flourishes, let alone those that fail.

    Looking back, founders of start-ups, like many human beings, often tend to romanticize their times of trial, however brief or lengthy, when the pressures were the most severe. When such a person says, “I never felt so alive,” he or she often means, “I had to do the jobs of three or four people at the same time.” While surviving a war or overcoming a life-threatening disease are arguably tougher, starting a business is not unlike the challenges faced by the millions of immigrants who leave their native countries with few possessions and risk everything to take their chances in the new world.

    While it's technically true that Lauro Rizzatti was not one of the original four founders of EVE, starting EVE's US operation on his own was certainly equivalent, in this writer's judgment. The other six EVE employees at the time were staying afloat in France by doing consulting projects for end users of emulation systems offered by rivals, such as those sold at the time by Mentor Graphics and a few others. The EVE folks in Palaiseau had little money to spare and were in any case 6000 miles distant, so Lauro was essentially on his own. No outside funding for EVE from venture sources yet existed. Lauro went for half a year with no salary at all.

    Outside EVE Investors:

    So for three years, the tiny EVE SA enterprise in France was self-funded until the French headquarters finally landed EVE's first venture round of some three million Euros, led by the French branch of worldwide venture firm 3i.

    (Note: Early on, EVE management explicitly chose to rely solely on capital sources in Europe. Not only was venture capital eventually available, but also with rare exceptions, European VC's are thought to provide more patient money than their American counterparts. Moreover, the French government offered entrepreneurial entities zero interest loans used for supporting R&D).

    EVE subsequently enjoyed two further rounds of venture funding from European sources after the first round in 2003. That's it - three rounds - about US$20 million in total. None since 2006.

    Investor 3i participated in each of the three rounds, but 3i has since sold its entire stake in EVE to Encore Ventures, a leading European secondary team that acquires portfolios of investments in growth and venture-stage companies. Other investors in EVE include Auriga Partners, Crédit Agricole, Siparex, and Rothschild. The members of the EVE board of directors currently representing these five investment firms are Jean-David Chamboredon, Philippe Granger, Michel de Lempdes, Pascal Demichel; and Jean-Michel Beghin, respectively.

    Other Members of the EVE Board of Directors:

    While the EVE investors described in the foregoing are critical to the financial well-being of EVE, the executive, technical, marketing, sales and customer directions of the enterprise must also be represented and nurtured at the Board level. The four remaining EVE BOD members focus on the latter functions: Luc Burgun, Ludovic Larzul, Venk Shukla, and Robert Eckelmann. (Over time of course, all BOD members grapple with both financial and operations functions as necessary).

    Two of the four founders of EVE who also participate on the Board are EVE executives Dr. Luc Burgun and Mr. Ludovic Larzul:

    Today Luc Burgun is president & CEO of EVE.

    Luc was born in Brest, a well-known city in Brittany in north-western France . Brest was an important seaport for centuries of French history, long before it fell into the hands of German occupiers during World War II. (In the image below, Brest is is represented as the black dot at the far western tip of France).

    Once occupied by the enemy, Brest suffered the misfortune of repeated Allied air attacks during the war in an ongoing effort to destroy the notorious German Unterseeboot (U-boat) pens that were built there. After the 1944 Allied invasion of Normandy, the city was virtually leveled in the subsequent Battle of Brest. But before surrendering to the Allies, the occupying Germans destroyed the Brest port facilities. Repairs were not completed until long after VE Day in May 1945, so the Allies never were able to supply the war effort through Brest.

    Lauro Rizzatti says that the French people of Brittany are known for “their no-nonsense attitudes; a people of few words driven by results.” Such traits are often evident in Luc Burgun's personality, according to Lauro.

    As a student, Luc excelled for years at sports, especially Track and Field, running often in the French 900- and 1500-meter championship races, honing his competitive instincts which carry over to the world of business.

    Château de Brest Castle and Tour Tanguy on the River Penfeld in Brest

    Along the way, Luc earned a PhD in Computer Science and Logic Synthesis at the world-famous University of Pierre and Marie Curie in Paris:

    Subsequently Luc has accumulated some 20 years of experience in EDA, holding many engineering and executive positions. Prior to founding EVE, Luc headed the aforementioned R&D team of Meta Systems, specializing in hardware emulation. He has published numerous articles at international technical conferences and has been granted six patents on accelerated verification.

    To this day Luc keeps fit via a regular regimen of jogging, biking, hiking, climbing, swimming and cross country. A multi-dimensional Frenchman, Luc balances his scientific and executive pursuits at EVE with creative and relaxing hobbies such as composing music, singing and playing guitar. He also maintains a 2000 bottle wine cellar with a preference for - you guessed it - Bordeaux vintages, some quite rare.

    Luc is also President of the Supervisory Board of CoFluent Design, a privately held hi-tech company headquartered in Nantes, France, and a leader in system-level modeling and simulation solutions that allow developers of electronic devices and chips to quickly imagine new concepts and architectures. Spun-off from the French University of Nantes, founded in 2003 by Jean Paul Calvez, Stéphane Leclercq and Vincent Perrier, the company has received several awards from the French Senate and the French Department of Research and New Technologies. In 2007 CoFluent Design raised $2.6 million in venture funding. CoFluent Design's technology has been adopted by several
    global leaders of the electronics industry. The company runs direct operations in France, Japan and North-America (San Jose), and it has distributors around the world.

    Ludovic Larzul is Vice President of Engineering for EVE.

    Ludovic Larzul is also one of the founders of EVE. Ludovic has accumulated over thirteen years of experience in CAD development. He has worked on numerous projects including the integration between hardware emulators and popular software simulators, efficient interfaces based on transactors, communication between multiple emulation systems, system-level place and route, etc.

    Ludovic holds a Diplome d'Ingenieur de l'Institut de Recherche et d'Enseignement Superieur aux Techniques de l'Electronique (Ecole Polytechnique de Nantes):

    Also serving on the EVE BOD today are two highly-regarded independent individuals Messrs. Venk Shukla and Robert Eckelmann, who joined the BOD in 2004 and 2003, respectively. Both have outstanding career credentials, as summarized below:

    Venk Shukla has had a long and varied career that includes sales, marketing, and general management experience, and a proven track record of leading companies through rapid growth. He was most recently senior vice president of marketing at Magma Design Automation Inc. Before joining Magma, Shukla was CEO and co-founder of Everypath, a leader in enterprise mobile computing. Previously, he was vice president of marketing at Ambit Design Systems, acquired by Cadence Design Systems, and a marketing executive at Cadence. At Systems & Networks, a network planning software company, he was vice president of marketing and sales. He also worked in sales at Teradyne, Inc.
    In 1990 Shukla helped found the standards organization, Open Verilog International (OVI), which has since become Accellera. He started his career in Civil Service where he was an under-secretary within the Indian federal government.


    Walker Memorial - MIT Sloan School

    Venk Shukla holds a Master of Science degree in management from MIT's Sloan School of Management in Cambridge, MA.

    Robert Eckelmann was Vice President of Intel's Sales and Marketing Group and General Manager for Europe, Middle East, and Africa Operations (EMEA). At Intel, Robert opened offices in Asia-Pacific, including China, India and the emerging markets of Southeast Asia. He began his business career at Intel, managing international strategy in the office of then-President Andy Grove. He also served six years in the United States government, managing international trade policy and development in the technology sector. He was responsible for US competitiveness in Science & Electronics, spearheading such initiatives as the Japan trade negotiations, Sematech, the US R&D
    tax credit, opening of US-China technology trade, and supercomputer development. These days Robert works closely with the EVE management team and brings considerable expertise in sales strategy, international expansion, and recruitment. He is also a member of the Board of Directors at IXI Mobile and Norwood Systems.

    Nassau Hall Princeton University

    Robert holds degrees in physical & social sciences from Princeton University, the University of Chicago and Williams College. (Mr. Eckelmann represented 3i on EVE's BOD until 3i sold its stake in EVE; thereafter, Eckelmann continued to serve on the EVE BOD as an independent).

    On the personal side, those who know Robert Eckelmann well say that he relishes the international life, having lived in the US, Australia, Japan, Germany, Singapore, and, naturally, France. In between travels, he also improvises at piano, basketball and golf, loses happily at chess to his sons, admires great architecture and design thanks to his wife, enjoys Middle Eastern and Asian history, and prefers the wines of Pape Clement and Haut Brion, his former neighbors in Pessac in France.


    Other Key EVE Management Persons:

    In addition to Dr. Burgun, Mr. Larzul, and Dr. Rizzatti, there are several other key EVE management members that should be mentioned here:

    William Addi

    Mr. William Addi is EVE’s Chief Financial Officer. Prior to EVE, William served as CFO at companies in the software Application Service Provider (ASP) business and in retail industries, managing revenues in the hundreds of million of dollars. Mr. Addi started his career as a senior audit manager at KPMG in Los Angeles, Lyon and Paris, France, and he has worked at increasingly responsible international finance and management positions. Mr. Addi holds a master's degree in business administration from the Ecole de Management de Lyon, France (E.M. Lyon).

    Mr. Addi is a member of the French Board of Chartered Accountants (Expert Comptable et Commissaire aux Comptes) and is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in California.

    Christophe Ballan

    Mr. Ballan is Vice President of EVE Worldwide Operations. Prior to joining EVE, Mr. Ballan worked for ENEA, a provider of embedded software and services, where he most recently served as vice president of business development and previously as sales and operations manager for Europe and Asia. Previously, he worked as an organizational consultant and as the Central European sales manager for Wind River Systems, helping to grow the business in Central Europe to a significant portion of the company's revenues. He was part of Wind River's management during its initial public offering (IPO). Mr. Ballan is a graduate of École

    Supérieure de Commerce de Paris (Paris Graduate School of Management) with a degree in international affairs:

    Mr. Ballan also attended Chuo University in Japan as an exchange student. He attended the Stanford University Graduate School of Business-AEA Executive Program. Mr. Ballan is fluent in French, German, English and Japanese.


    Two Other EVE  Founders:

    By the way, the two other founders of EVE in 2000 are Stephane Guerineau, software developer, and David Reynier, application engineer. Both are still at EVE and play key roles in their fields.


    The EVE USA Operation:

    Since 2002, Lauro has carefully grown the EVE-USA operation from one to thirty-one today across the country. Headcount growth locally has necessitated moves within San Jose to increasingly larger offices; EVE-USA HQ is now located at 2290 North First Street.

    San Jose-based VP Sales Ron Burns has multiple salespeople and fifteen applications engineers spread across the USA, six of whom operate out of San Jose.

    Ron Burns

    Lauro also has three administrative support personnel, several in Marketing, and some nine R&D engineers who came from the acquisition by EVE of Tharas some years ago.

    Like the rest of EVE, growth of EVE-USA over the last year has been carefully managed, owing to the impact of the worldwide economic recession. But until 2007, EVE had enjoyed a compounded revenue growth rate of 100%, so some slowing was inevitable.

    EVE's Raison d'être:

    OK, OK. Up to here in this article, with the exceptions of two brief mentions in the foregoing, the precise business EVE is in would be clear only to a handful of EDA and semiconductor insiders. Well, maybe more than a “handful”, but still operating in a niche known only to serious electronics specialists. Most readers would have to admit that heretofore, this article could have been describing the story of any one of multiple EDA startups around the world. So just what is EVE's raison d'être - its “reason for being”?

    To be fair, please remember that in paragraph two (2) of the Introduction to this issue of EDA WEEKLY, the writer “disclosed” that EVE “occupies a niche in the esoteric world of EDA Hardware/Software Co-Verification, ASIC Emulation, RTL Emulation, Hardware Emulation, ASIC Validation, ASIC Prototyping and FPGA Prototyping.” I bet you're saying to yourself, “Yep, all that stuff is sure esoteric, all right!”

    To describe further what EVE's accomplishments have been, and where it's going from here, requires a deeper understanding of its namesake, “Emulation Verification Engineering”. Actually, this name does provide hints to EVE's raison d'être. Each of the three words is in fact very descriptive of the EDA niche EVE serves. Really.

    OK, here goes, courtesy of Wikipedia and “Electronic Design Automation For Integrated Circuits Handbook,” by Lavagno, Martin, and Scheffer:
    “Hardware emulation is the process of imitating the behavior of one or more pieces of hardware (typically an electronic system under design) with another piece of hardware, typically a special purpose emulation system. The goal is normally debugging of the system being designed. Often an emulator is fast enough to be plugged into a working target system in place of a yet-to-be-built chip, so the whole system can be debugged with live data. This would be a specific case of in-circuit emulation.

    The largest fraction of silicon integrated circuit re-spins are due to functional errors. Thus, comprehensive functional verification is key to reducing development costs and delivering a product on time. Functional verification of a design is most often performed using logic simulation software and/or prototyping. There are advantages and disadvantages to each and often both are used.

    Logic simulation is (relatively) easy, accurate, flexible, and low cost. However, simulation is often not fast enough for large designs and almost always too slow to run application software against the hardware design. FPGA-based prototypes are fast and inexpensive. But the time required to implement a large design into several FPGA's can be very long and is error-prone. Changes to fix design flaws also take a long time to implement and may require board wiring changes. Since FPGA prototypes (usually) have little debugging capability, probing signals inside the FPGA's in real time is very difficult, if not impossible, and recompiling FPGA's to move probes takes too long. The usual
    compromise is to use simulation early in the verification process when bugs and fixes are frequent, and prototyping at the end of the development cycle when the design is basically complete and speed is needed to get sufficient testing to uncover any remaining system-level bugs. Prototyping is also popular for testing software.

    Simulation acceleration can address the performance shortcomings of (plain) simulation to an extent. Here the design is mapped into a hardware accelerator to run much faster and the testbench (and any behavioral design code) continues to run on the simulator on the workstation. A high-bandwidth, low latency channel connects the workstation to the accelerator to exchange signal data between testbench and design. By Amdahl's law, the slowest device in the chain will determine the speed achievable. Normally, this is the testbench in the simulator. With a very efficient testbench (written in C or transaction-based), the channel may become the bottleneck. In some cases, a
    transaction-level testbench is able to feed as much data to the design being emulated as "live" stimulus.

    In-circuit emulation improves greatly on FPGA prototyping's long time to implement and change designs, and provides a comprehensive, efficient debugging capability. While it takes weeks or months to implement an FPGA prototype, it takes only days to implement emulation. And design changes take but a few hours or less. Emulation does this at the expense of running speed and cost compared to FPGA prototypes. Looking at emulation from the other direction, it improves on acceleration's performance by substituting "live" stimulus for the simulated testbench. This stimulus can come from a target system (the product being developed), or from test equipment. At 10,000 to 100,000 times
    the speed of simulation, emulation is often the only technique that can deliver the speed necessary to test application software while still providing a comprehensive hardware debug environment. 

    OK, OK. I give up. This ain't makin' it! Guess those darn MSEE degrees mean something after all!

    You're just going to have to take my word for it.

    Better yet, let's listen to how Lauro Rizzatti positions EVE's business:

    “Emulation technology has been around for over twenty years. The largest company (to manufacture and sell emulators) in the past was Quickturn, which was eventually acquired by Cadence. The second one was IKOS, which was acquired by Mentor Graphics. The problems with those early emulation implementations were multifaceted. They were expensive machines, in the millions of dollars range. So they were limited in terms of market acceptance. You had to be a big company to spend that sort of money. The other issue was that when you were deploying those emulators of old, you often had to provide an army of application engineers just to make the system work. So it was not only
    expensive to acquire, it was also very expensive to maintain. The cost of ownership was very, very high.”

    “What EVE did at the time of its founding, was to identify an opportunity to implement a far less-expensive solution that would be easier to use and would require fewer engineers to deploy. That was difficult challenge, but that was the thinking behind EVE's ZeBu emulators: small, inexpensive and through extensive software (compiler and runtime software), easier to deploy without the need for that army of application engineers.”

    “Said another way, EVE was and is driven by two basic criteria: (1) low cost (significantly lower than traditional emulators), and (2) high speed (significantly higher than traditional emulators). To address the first, EVE selected off-the-shelf FPGA's instead of designing custom chips, as done by rivals Today that choice by EVE has proved to be the right choice, since redesigning custom chips every two/three years (currently at 40nm), would be economic suicide when attacking a total market of less than $200 million. The second criterion stemmed from EVE's desire to move outside the traditional hardware emulation space, typically focused on hardware verification, to also
    cover hardware/software integration and embedded software validation. Over time, amassing a large portfolio of patents, EVE has in fact addressed all other important parameters that make an emulator best-in-class, such as fast compilation, thorough design debugging, scalability to accommodate a large spectrum of designs from few million ASIC gates to a billion or more ASIC gates, etc. That was EVE's idea. It was not a revolutionary idea, but without it, EVE would not be as successful as I believe we are today.”

    That captures it nicely.

    In summary, EVE products significantly shorten the overall verification cycle of complex integrated circuits and electronic systems designs.

    Now we are ready to talk more about the current state of EVE as well as about the future.

    Looking Ahead: Optimism Abounds!

    The entire EVE employee population is extremely optimistic going forward. First, EVE now has shipped over 300 ZeBu systems to over 60 customers, and EVE has some $30 million in annual revenue. According to company literature, EVE has become the acknowledged leader in Hardware/Software Co-Verification. Nine (9) of the top ten (10) semiconductor companies worldwide rely on EVE products to verify their SoCs (Systems-on-Chips). With the best ROI in the market, EVE products are also the choice of startups that need first-pass silicon success.

    Further, EVE today sports a remarkable list of products. See for example:


    Likewise, EVE has amassed a long list of Customer Success Stories. See for example:


    See also Footnote [3] for Logos of current EVE Reference Customers.

    Lauro Rizzatti's personal optimism was reinforced by his recent visits in early 2010 to India, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, China and France. He wrote about his two-month trip in a blog entry on April 5, 2010:


    The EVE ZeBu-Server:

    A huge reason for EVE's current optimism is thanks in no small measure to the recent success of EVE's latest product, the EVE ZeBu-Server , a scalable and affordable emulation system. (By the way, ZeBu means “zero bug”).

    Introduced by EVE in mid-2009, the ZeBu-Server is a high capacity system emulator with the relatively easy setup and debugging associated with emulation, and the price/performance of rapid prototyping. Supporting multiple users, interfaces, and host computers, the EVE ZeBu-Server is an emulator with a capacity up to 1 Billion ASIC gates. The ZeBu-Server is primarily aimed at large-scale, multi-core chip and system emulation applications. It is ideal for the system-integration phase of the design cycle where multiple logic blocks, multiple chips, and embedded software all must be verified together.

    Hardware design and software development teams can share the same system and design representation, and can readily collaborate when debugging complex hardware/software interactions. The net effect is that hardware/software integration takes place much earlier in the design cycle, thereby reducing silicon re-spins and accelerating time to market.

    ZeBu-Server is hands-down the highest performance emulator in the market, while also offering the most cost-effective solution in the smallest footprint. This is because the ZeBu-Server has been architected to take advantage of the largest and latest generation of Field-Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) in production.

    The ZeBu compiler automatically handles any design, regardless of size, coding style, clocking scheme, or memory structure, making it easy to map very large designs. These have historically been the biggest problems with other FPGA-based rapid prototyping systems, but not with ZeBu, thanks to its complete software infrastructure.

    Priced from $150,000, the Ze-Bu-Server offers automated, fast and incremental compilation from SystemVerilog, Verilog and VHDL register transfer level (RTL) code. It includes complete RTL signal waveform dumping and support for SystemVerilog Assertions.

    On February 22, 2010, EVE announced that the ZeBu-Server had been selected from hundreds of nominations to be a finalist for this year's EDN Innovation Awards. ZeBu-Server was selected for the electronic design automation (EDA) Front-End Simulation and Database Tools category. This year's list of finalists features 32 categories and more than 120 products that shipped in volume in the 2009 calendar year.

    To qualify, EVE demonstrated innovation that resulted in a significant advance in technology and product development with ZeBu-Server during the past 12 months. “We received an impressive number of submissions for our 2009 Innovation Awards program, indicating that innovation was alive and well despite the economically challenging year,” said Rick Nelson, EDN editor-in-chief. “EVE's ZeBu-Server was one of the outstanding submissions (that) our editors chose.”

    What doe the ZeBu-Server look like?

    The writer has waited till last to display an actual image of a ZeBu-Server, because it really does look just like the proverbial “black box”. Anyway, here goes:

    (Note: If readers still long for a deeper understanding of the what and the why of the EVE ZeBu-Server, another enlightened explanation was provided by EVE's own VP Engineering Ludovic Larzul, in an article published in the Xcell Journal for Q3 2009 Issue 68 by Xilinx, Inc., entitled, “EVE Taps Xilinx for Multiple Generations of Emulators.” Excerpts from that article are included in Footnote [2] toward the end of this EDA WEEKLY article).


    Today, EVE describes itself the worldwide leader in hardware/software co-verification solutions, including hardware description language (HDL) acceleration and extremely fast emulation. EVE products significantly shorten the overall verification cycle of complex integrated circuits and electronic systems designs. Its products also work in conjunction with popular Verilog, SystemVerilog, and VHDL-based software simulators from Synopsys, Cadence Design Systems and Mentor Graphics.

    Here's another testimonial regarding EVE's leadership position; it was published offshore (from CYBERMEDIA INDIA ONLINE LIMITED - CIOL)
    EVE SA leads design team acceleration market

    Tuesday, November 24, 2009

    PARIS, FRANCE: EVE SA, headquartered in Palaiseau, France, is leading the design team acceleration and emulation market. In its latest report, titled Register Transfer Level Market Trends 2009, the market research company Gary Smith EDA, based in Santa Clara, California, the United States, said it has assessed the market share of EVE SA at 28 percent for 2008. According to Gary Smith EDA, EVE SA offers what many consider as the “true design team acceleration and emulation boxes”

    Gary Smith EDA defines the design team acceleration and emulation market (as opposed to the verification team acceleration and emulation market) as “hardware-based verification solutions which fit on a designer's desktop and which do not impose restrictions on environmental conditions.” Gary Smith, founder and chief analyst of Gary Smith EDA, said in a commentary that designers need an emulation box in order to do any kind of software verification.

    EVE SA, according Smith, have penetrated an array of fast-paced markets - including processors, multi-media, graphics, wireless, consumer electronics and communications. These segments demand high-execution speed, capacity, pricing, thorough and fast-design debugging, short-compile times, multi-user capabilities as well as scalability.

    Bottom Line:

    Lauro Rizzatti acknowledges that EVE still has to contend with competition in the marketplace, but most of it comes from either different emulation and verification techniques, or older hardware implementations. EVE serves a small but important sophisticated niche in a general worldwide electronic design automation (EDA) market which is already itself relatively small in the overall applications software marketplace. At the moment, new prospects for EVE products may call in one or more of the Big 3 EDA vendors (Synopsys, Cadence and Mentor), to make certain that they have done the required due diligence.

    These vendors are of course not sitting idly by and watching EVE corner the market entirely.

    For example, as recently as April 19, 2010 Synopsys introduced the HAPS®-60 series of rapid prototyping systems for complex SoC design and verification challenges. The HAPS-60 series, part of the Confirma™ Rapid Prototyping Platform, is a rapid prototyping system that enables early hardware/software co-verification and system-level integration. The HAPS-60 series uses Xilinx Virtex®-6 devices.

    For its part, on April 15, 2010, Mentor Graphics announced that STMicroelectronics' Home Entertainment and Display group (HED) had adopted MGC's
    Veloce® platform for the system-level validation of its next-generation of digital SoC for High-Definition Set-Top-Box applications. Nor are MGC spokespersons shy when it comes to claims about its product, “The Veloce platform is the industry's fastest dual-mode accelerator/emulator available, providing MHz performance for both transaction-based verification and traditional in-circuit emulation (ICE). With an extensive portfolio of vertical market solutions, the Veloce platform is the platform of choice for multimedia, networking, wireless, and embedded systems applications.”

    But at the end of the day, if the ZeBu-Server and/or related EVE products fit the prospect's special needs, Lauro is confident of winning.

    Indeed, Lauro elaborated quite clearly on his ecumenical view of the marketplace in a recent blog entry (February 22, 2010):

    “Large companies (EDA vendors) have positive characteristics… they often have vast resources for marketing programs and their sales channels are much better developed and coordinated then a startup's. These same large companies carefully track the progress of a startup and can be counted on to acquire them, when the timing's right. This is all part of the EDA ecosystem that's worked for many years. Startup, emerging company, large established players. In an ecosystem such as EDA, we need both large suppliers and innovative small companies to keep driving and encouraging technological advances.”

    This entire blog may be read at:


    What's Next for EVE?

    Lauro says that EVE is working on capabilities to increase the number of gates that ZeBu-Server can handle beyond the one billion mark. Surprised, the writer asked, “Who in the world needs more than a billion?” Lauro grinned sheepishly, “We already have customers whom we are not permitted to refer to by name, who are anxiously awaiting delivery of ZeBu's that handle four (4) billion gates simultaneously. Such systems will contain advanced, next-generation FPGA's from our partners, along with improvements in ZeBu software, the product development of which is already well underway.”

    Asked about what the likely “exit strategy” currently is for privately-held EVE, Lauro reminded the writer that EVE investors are in no hurry. Likewise, the personnel at EVE are enjoying their respective careers these days.

    But Lauro, the EVE executive team and BOD do have a game plan, of course. First, EVE would like to achieve increased annual revenue numbers. Then either an IPO or more likely the acquisition path would be pursued or responded to; candidates to acquire EVE are known to exist both in the USA as well as offshore, with some very interesting names coming from the Pac Rim.


    [1] Footnote: The first EDA Weekly in the current series was devoted to,
    “The Role of Business Planning,” appearing initially on November 9, 2009.

    [2] Footnote: Another enlightening explanation of the what and why of the EVE ZeBu-Server was provided by EVE's own VP Engineering Ludovic Larzul, in an article published in the Xcell Journal for Q3 2009 Issue 68 by Xilinx, Inc., entitled, “EVE Taps Xilinx for Multiple Generations of Emulators.” Excerpts from that article are included below:

    Creating a hardware emulation system is no easy task. At a minimum, each generation of emulation system has to accommodate a growing number of logic gates, memory and DSP blocks to allow ASIC and ASSP system-on-chip (SoC) designers to debug their extremely complex devices before sending them off to the foundry for production. Emulation systems must also be easy to program, reliable and, what's more, affordable. Here at EVE, we've developed several generations of emulation systems-leveraging the power of Xilinx® FPGA's-to emerge as a leader in the market.

    Today's SoCs are exceedingly complex pieces of silicon. They contain one or more processors that will execute software. The software code they run is every bit as important a part of the final system as the silicon itself. The software and the silicon have to act as a seamless solution; if there's a problem, it might be the software, or it might be the silicon.

    Designers can only do so much software testing on a development host. No reasonable host development system can reflect the true parallelism of the target SoC. You can really only test out such issues as synchronization, data integrity and resource contention in situ, and that's far too late to identify problems. Simulation isn't a viable solution; it's simply too slow to allow the execution of any realistic code.

    As a result, engineers have been using emulation systems for well over two decades to verify the most advanced ICs the semiconductor industry can build. Most of these earlier-generation emulation systems were powered by custom ICs that the emulator vendors designed themselves. They would then pass the cost of the custom IC development on to their customers, making the power of emulation more cost-prohibitive for companies struggling with ever-tighter IC development budgets.

    In 2001, EVE broke with tradition by basing our innovative emulation system on Xilinx FPGA's. The goal was to provide the lowest hardware-assisted verification cost of ownership in the industry, as achieved through a combination of high execution speed, high capacity (which today means up to a billion gates), quick design revision, flexible and powerful debugging capabilities, lowest cost per gate and most cycles per dollar. In addition, we wanted to make the easy to use for ASIC designers who might not be familiar with FPGA design. The result was the ZeBu emulation system (Figure 1):

    Figure 1 - EVE bases its ZeBu emulation system around Xilinx FPGA's.

    We've now developed six generations of emulators, the most recent of which is ZeBu Server (see sidebar), and we're still going strong.

    Our approach is to split the device-under-test (DUT) from an interface to the test environment that we call Reconfigurable Test Bench (RTB). The RTB allows for test configuration and control. The DUT will change with each rev of the design, but the RTB never changes unless the test environment does. Having a single mass of FPGA's containing a mix of the RTB and DUT designs would have been messy and required unnecessary recompilation of the RTB design, so we separated them out. As a result, we have one set of FPGA's for the DUT and another set for the RTB (Figure 2). The number of DUT FPGA's varies by system size; bigger and smaller systems are available for bigger
    and smaller designs.

    Figure 2 - ZeBu uses one set of FPGA's for the device under test and another for the Reconfigurable TestBench (RTB).


    Hardware emulation has become a valued component of the hardware/software co-design flow, enabling hardware engineers and software developers to share system and design representations and work together to debug hardware/software interactions.

    Use of this tool as a popular EDA solution has evolved over the past 20 years, from the early days of standard FPGA-based emulators to custom ASIC-based models, and then back again to emulators based on standard FPGA's.

    CPU and graphics chip engineers were the first to use emulation, because the sheer complexities of their designs crippled traditional event-based hardware description language (HDL) simulators. The tool quickly gained acceptance by the wireless community due to the extensive use of embedded software in its hardware designs. Today, consumer electronics companies widely use hardware emulation for the design of digital TVs, set-top boxes, digital still cameras and camcorders, multifunction printers and other products.

    The early version of hardware emulation delivered execution speeds four to five orders of magnitude faster than simulation, making it ideal for accelerating the time required to develop and validate the hardware of ASIC or system-on-chip (SoC) designs. However, it did not meet the minimum speed of execution required for efficient testing of embedded software-namely, 1 MHz. Moreover, cost of ownership hampered emulation's popularity and restricted its adoption to large corporations in limited numbers.

    The newer FPGA-based emulators are more reasonably priced and cost-effective, and have shortened the overall verification cycle of complex chip and electronic-systems designs. These emulators have a smaller footprint than prior emulation tools, are fast, efficient and easy to use.

    Setup is straightforward and newer emulators consist of fewer FPGA's than older machines. The latest generation of emulation systems can execute billions of verification cycles, as required in embedded designs, in a short period of time. They provide a full view of the design, necessary to debug the hardware. These machines also support transaction-level verification, which is needed for hardware debugging at a high level of abstraction, via monitors, checkers and assertions.

    EVE is an FPGA-based emulation trendsetter. On July 14, 2009 it launched the latest incarnation of the ZeBu product line, called ZeBu-Server, a sixth-generation version of its emulator based on the Xilinx Virtex LX330.

    Providing design capacity of up to 1 billion ASIC-equivalent gates, ZeBu-Server can be used across the entire development cycle for verifying and debugging a new ASIC or SoC design. Designers can use it to test the integration between hardware and software, and to validate embedded software before silicon availability.

    This new emulator improves on previous-generation offerings in terms of capacity, speed, setup time, integration and debugging capabilities. And last but not the least, it is also cost-effective.

          — Ludovic Larzul

    [3] Footnote: Logos of current EVE Reference Customers:



    The writer would like to acknowledge the direct support of the following individual in the preparation of this EDA Weekly “All About EVE article” -- Dr. Lauro Rizzatti. Other sources reviewed in preparation of the subject article include: The Xcell Journal for Q3 2009 Issue 68 by Xilinx, Inc.; Wikipedia; Hoover's; the EVE website; the Cadence website; “Electronic Design Automation For Integrated Circuits Handbook,” by Lavagno, Martin, and Scheffer; Gary Smith EDA (GSEDA); Yahoo! Finance; and Google Finance. Ongoing support by the team at IBSystems, Inc., including but not limited to Sanjay Gangal, Adam Heller, David Heller, Jon Heller, Nitai
    Fraenkel, and Sumit Singhal, is also appreciated.


    About the Writer of this EDA Weekly:

    Since 1996, Dr. Russ Henke has been president of HENKE ASSOCIATES, a San Francisco Bay Area high-tech business & management consulting firm. The number of client companies for HENKE ASSOCIATES now numbers more than forty. During his corporate career, Henke operated sequentially on "both sides" of MCAE-MCAD and EDA, as a software user and as a CAD vendor. He's a veteran corporate executive from Cincinnati Milacron, SDRC, Schlumberger Applicon, Gould Electronics, Automation Technology Products (ATP), and Mentor Graphics Corporation.

    Henke is a Fellow of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) and served on the SME International Board of Directors. Henke was also a board member of SDRC, PDA, ATP, and the MacNeal Schwendler Corporation. He currently serves on the board of Stottler Henke Associates, Inc. Dr. Henke is also a member of the IEEE and a Life Fellow of ASME International.

    In April 2006, Dr. Henke received the 2006 Lifetime Achievement Award from the CAD Society, presented by CAD Society president Jeff Rowe at COFES2006 in Scottsdale, AZ. In February 2007, Henke became affiliated with Cyon Research's select group of experts on business and technology issues as a Senior Analyst. This Cyon Research connection aids and supplements Henke's ongoing, independent consulting practice (HENKE ASSOCIATES).

    To obtain details of the brand new "2010 Business Planning Tool Kit Promotion" from Henke Associates, please click on the URL below and scroll to the last entry on that page:


    Since May 2003 HENKE ASSOCIATES has published a total of eighty-eight (88) independent quarterly Commentaries on MCAD, PLM, EDA and Electronics IP on IBSystems' MCADCafé and EDACafé. Access to the latest of these Commentaries, along with all the EDA Weekly articles posted to date by the writer, may be gained by clicking on this URL:


    Further information on HENKE ASSOCIATES, is available at
    http://www.henkeassociates.net. March 31, 2010 marked the 14th Anniversary of the founding of HENKE ASSOCIATES.

    You can find the full EDACafe event calendar here.

    To read more news, click here.

    -- Russ Henke, EDACafe.com Contributing Editor.