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August 13, 2007
Jim Solomon: Burning Intellect, Restless Man
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.
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 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!

It’s August and if you’re not at the beach or in the mountains, you should be. Summer will be ending soon and these long, lazy afternoons will morph into those hectic mornings of early fall. So hurry up and relax while you’ve still got time.

Alternatively – if you can’t or won’t relax – first catch up on a bit of news, and then enjoy a visit with EDA Legend Jim Solomon, a restless guy with a burning intellect who does “hurry up and relax” with the singular vengeance often noted in successful Silicon Valley veterans. Jim Solomon’s not slowing down with the passing years, he’s speeding up.


Just some of the news worth noting …

Although August is quiet, there is news off the wires that will (may) have impact going forward. Here’s a small sampler. The longer, fuller version is at the back of the bus.

announced EDA industry revenues went up by 10 % in Q1 2007 compared to Q1 2006; Virage Logic announced the acquisition of privately held Ingot Systems, an IP and design services company; and Nanno SOLUTIONS announced Kejing Song is the new CEO.

Synopsys was happy to report that Intel has declared Synopsys the company’s “primary EDA supplier.” Although the financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, I’m guessing the company hopes we’ll see the irony given the number of Intel alums that reside in the executive suites at Cadence. However, given similar Cadence “sole source” pronouncements relative to Freescale some time back, any future irony may come at Synopsys’ expense should Intel announce other major EDA vendor relationships going forward just as Freescale eventually did.

“Savvy?,” asked Captain Jack.

Mentor Graphics has done the philanthropy thing big time by donating multiple tool suites in quick succession to the youth of the world – Lahore University of Management in Pakistan, Michigan’s Kettering University in the U.S., and Imperial College London in the U.K. – hence proving,

"Not all treasure is of silver and gold, Mate."

From Silicon Valley, Cadence EVP Jim Miller told me by phone that my impressions from the recent Analyst/Press phone briefing were wrong. He courteously answered several of my distinctly discourteous assertions, and insisted that Cadence is not out to achieve world domination in EDA.

Miller said, “Like anyone, I wouldn’t want to live in a one-party state politically, but part of the aspirations of any company – be it a Cadence, Synopsys, Mentor Graphics, or Magma – should be striving to achieve the highest level of competitive offerings. The customers can only benefit from that strong desire because it drives everyone to deliver the most innovative solutions possible.”

From the Land of EDA Startups comes word that FirstRain CEO Penny Herscher has been named Advisor to DFM startup Xoomsys, which is headed up by Synopsys alum Raul Camposano. A coincidence that Herscher also did time at Synopsys, prior to her stint at Simplex/Cadence?

From the Land of Companies who have Stanford in their Name, but showcase professors from Cal who endorse their technology, comes a huge announcement from Sun Microsystems – an 8-core, 64-bit chip multithreading monster that’ll knock your socks off from the standpoint of size, cost, power, and prestige. It’s the UltraSPARC T2, a.k.a. Niagra 2, which Sun says will lead next year to Victoria Falls, and then perhaps to the Snows of Kilimanjaro.

“Dr. Patterson, I presume?”

Meanwhile, make no mistake. The newest UltraSPARC has 500 million transistors at 65 nanometers, and intends to be a serious contender vying for the hearts and minds of those in need of capable EDA algorithm crunching platforms – especially if Gary Smith is right that the EDA guys are learning how to spell multithreading at long last.

From the Land of Small Players who cast Large Shadows, Innovative Silicon is partnering with Big Guy D-RAM producer Hynix to consider when and where you can replace a D with a Z, adding gravitas to the future of ISi’s Z-RAM. No exotic processes need apply.

Finally, if you aren’t actually vacationing in the mountains or at the shore, consider attending Hot Chips and/or Hot Interconnects on the Stanford campus during the week of August 20th. Dress code is casual, ambiance is relaxed, technology is intense, and the weather’s perfect. It’s Summer Camp all year long down on The Farm, so think about it before you say 'No.' It would be a lot more fun than sitting and fretting about wild swings in the international markets.


"This is either madness or brilliance."

"It's remarkable how often those two traits coincide."


Jim Solomon: Burning Intellect, Restless Man

As you all know, Jim began his career at Motorola, spent many years at National Semiconductor, got passionate about EDA, founded SDA Systems, hired and mentored Joe Costello, merged SDA with ECAD to create Cadence, grew the company, took it public, went on to found Smart Machines and Xulu Entertainment, won the Phil Kaufmann Award, was named an IEEE Fellow and picked up 20+ patents along the way. Currently, he’s serving on the boards of 6 companies, but that’s not all.

Jim Solomon is also a wanderer and a gambler, a dancer, a diver, a sailor, a skier, a skater, and an interesting guy. Now he wants to add Burning Man to that list, and here in the summer of 2007 he’ll probably succeed.

For those of you who don’t know,
Burning Man is a week-long event that’s one part Woodstock, one part spiritual retreat, and two parts cultural phenom that’s been playing itself out on the hot, hot Playa of sun-baked Nevada for more than 20 summers. Over a long lunch recently in Palo Alto, Jim Solomon told me that going to Burning Man is an extension of his efforts over the past few years to get beyond the engineering that’s in his blood. But after hearing him out, I think Jim Solomon’s fate is sealed. Because beneath it all – the sports, the active living, and the spiritual exploration –
he’s just a hardworking nerd on an unending quest for balance in his life.

“I don’t find many engineers in the places I go these days,” Solomon told me, “except on the ski slopes. Like many engineers, I was slow to grow socially. Now that I’m over the hill, I’m finally socially hip. But I certainly wasn’t 20 years ago back when I was just focused on science. Once in a while I get together with old engineering friends and it’s actually a little tough. I have to try to force myself to get into their realm, but I find we have little in common anymore [because of how I‘m evolving as a human being].

“The single most important thing [I’m doing these days] is sports. It used to be diving and sailing, but now it’s skiing, rollerblading, and aerobic dancing – all things I like to do with music. I’ve got a million songs in my MP3 player, and it’s always the beat that’s important. It has to be very ‘up’ music if you want to be happy, so I put on some Abba and away I go.

“I do weight training and aerobic dance at least 3 times a week, and strangely enough, that keeps my body in shape and my stress under control. One time recently, I lost at poker in Las Vegas, but then just went dancing at the House of Blues. It felt so good, I was blown away. These are the things you begin to discover [with time] – how to relax.

“The truth is, I’ve battled stress all my life. I’ve always tended to stress out, [yet] have often gotten myself into situations that were tough to resolve. Pure engineering problems don’t cause stress, but engineering management does, and no matter what you do in engineering, you get pushed into management. Engineers are very complex people – quite honestly, the best ones are screwed up – but I’ve made my career over the last 30 years by managing these people. I’ve found myself protecting numerous weird characters from upper management, and getting into battles as a result. I’ve also spent my life being able to identify really good
people, which has actually been a lot of fun, especially when you’re working on the cutting edge of things.”

Jim Solomon has always been working on the cutting edge of things. After finishing his BS and MS with Don Pederson at U.C. Berkeley, he spent 10 years at Motorola designing radar systems and ICs. From there, he went to National Semiconductor for 13 years, working in analog and mixed-signal design, both as an engineer and a manager. Solomon said, “I always moved slower than most people. I would get into a professional situation that I really liked and just stay.”

It was at National, well into the second decade of his career, that Solomon began to recognize the need to automate the design process. He credits Don Pederson with helping him figure out how to meet that need. Solomon said, “Don was like a second father to me. He was that rare professor who would invite kids into his home, introducing students to all of the great professors at Berkeley. Even after I finished my masters, I was back on campus every month or two, visiting Don, working on joint projects, and swapping stories. I would fly up to have lunch with him, meet with his students and chat. At one point, the dean of engineering stopped me in Cory Hall,” Solomon added with
a laugh, “and told me I was actually on campus too much.”

On one of his visits to Cal in the early 1980‘s, Solomon told Don Pederson he was worried: “The Japanese were coming at us like crazy. They were learning fast and using our universities better than we were. I could see there was a risk they would pass us up in chip design, and the key would be design automation tools. I said somebody needed to start a company in this area. Of course, companies like Daisy, Mentor and Valid already existed, but they were systems oriented and not providing tools for people like me – the chip guy. Although I’d been playing with microprocessors for a number of years and had taught myself to program, I wasn’t a software guy. I
told Don I needed to completely retrain myself to understand how to attack the CAD problem, and Don said, ‘Okay, I’ll introduce you to two guys, and you have to talk to both of them.’ Of course, it was Richard Newton and Alberto Sangiovanni-Vincentelli.

“When I told Richard and Alberto what I wanted to do, it turns out they had already worked out a bunch of the details. [From that point forward], we started having monthly meetings at Berkeley and kept it up for 3 years. I regularly invited industry people from various companies to attend our meetings – people from Hewlett Packard, tools writers from Intel, a variety of other people from industry and universities, plus a bunch of graduate students from Berkeley. Basically, it was about trying to figure out exactly what the industry needed and [attacking the problem] like pure scientists. It was a great bunch of guys. Eventually we worked out a plan for what would become SDA
Systems, Solomon Design Automation Systems.

“In addition to the plan for the company, Richard and Alberto also identified the top people around the world in each discipline that we would need. I flew around and hired these guys for a company for which I still didn’t have the funding. Luckily, Bell Labs was falling apart at the time, so I was also able to hire a dozen top people out of there, plus five people from Berkeley. At that point, both IBM and DEC attacked me saying I had unfair access to the top Berkeley graduates and I must be paying someone off. Don Pederson went through the roof when he heard about it, and IBM and DEC ended up pulling out their funding [from his lab]. I flew back East and talked [to the
companies], but they didn’t believe me. It was 3 years before Don Pederson talked to me again. Clearly, that was a very hard period – and very stressful.”

Those weren‘t Solomon‘s only concerns, however: “I was an idiot when it came to funding. I had, at the time, a vague impression that all VCs were bad guys. That may not have been totally wrong, but since I’m a VC now I have to be careful,” he chuckled. “Anyway, I wanted to get the money for the company from industry not from VCs. I was still working at National, of course, so I told my boss what I was doing and he got [the word] to Charlie Sporck who was head of National at the time. [Originally] I had wanted to start this business inside of National, but Charlie told me he’d get me the $10 million I needed. It was a shocking amount of help
– he started the whole money thing for me!

“Charlie called Don Lucas, who was a VC, and hooked me up with various VCs and National board members. Together with Lucas, and a guy from Arthur Andersen, and a lawyer, we brainstormed about how to do things correctly. Don Lucas was really, really smart and he knew how to do things right, even if I didn’t. [In the end], the employees of the startup owned two-thirds of the company, the remaining money came half from industry and half from VCs.”

Like any good story of human drama and success, there were many more stresses ahead for Solomon in the coming years. At one point as SDA grew, a significant portion of his sales team was recruited away. In response, he hired Joe Costello and cheered him on as Joe mastered the art of selling CAD tools. Solomon said, “I hired Joe straight out of college and knew right away that he was brilliant. He figured out how to do sales starting from first principles. Nonetheless, we ran out of money and couldn’t get anyone to put any more funding into the company. I already had a building plus employees on site, but it looked like we were going to have to shut down. I flew around
looking for an additional million and a half dollars, and [after talking to several different companies] GE came through for us.

“[Interestingly], Aart de Geus was working at GE and was actually in the room when I made the pitch. He saw it and heard it, and saw me get funded. A few years later, he flew out to see me and asked me how I had done it. I told him, and also encouraged him to join Cadence, but he wanted to do it on his own. He had help from several companies, and from Alberto, and he got the funding. The rest is history.”

Meanwhile, Solomon said, it was exciting when SDA finally began to get market traction: “Revenue started cranking – at one point, we tripled our revenues in 1 year – and I moved Joe into the COO position. We were getting ready to go public, something Joe and I were doing together in 1987, when we saw the market start to fluctuate. In October ‘87, on Black Monday, the market went straight down and that was the end of our IPO. A year later, we merged with ECAD – Joe should get credit for managing that merger – and [eventually] Joe became CEO of Cadence. I became Chairman.”

Again, Solomon said, the rest is history – and so is the stress from that era. “I’ve always stressed pretty badly, getting sick and run down. But when you’re in business, it’s often about luck and [not necessarily about things you can control]. I now know that nobody can very be good at everything. Some people know how to do strategic things, others have operational abilities, or are able to handle human resources, or financial things, or develop technology, or provide leadership. Nobody will ever have all of these skills. You just hope the CEO knows enough to hire good people.

“Even to this day, I don’t enjoy being CEO, [particularly] because setting priorities is the thing I enjoy least. I’ve been a CEO several times now, but it’s still torture. I know my limits, but I also know my biggest skill. I can honestly figure out what people can do and who can get things done. So, I’m on the board of 6 companies today – Silicon Navigator, Ciranova, Gemini Design Technology, AWR – Applied Wave Research, Pyxis Technology, and Nascentric.”

Solomon added that in all of his current industry involvements, he tries to drive home a critical lesson about leadership: “You can’t be a technologist and also run the company. However, the business guys in the company can also have too much influence and that’s not good, either. It has to be a balance,” he insisted, and then grew wistful about the history of EDA over our coffee and dessert.

Solomon talked about what he perceives as some specific missteps in the industry: “A big part of EDA has always been about figuring out how to move technology out of the universities and into industry. That’s what Cadence was all about – interaction with the universities. And that’s what I was all about. The EDA industry started out seeking ways to get solutions to their customers – a huge growth market in the early years.”

However, Solomon said, the business opportunities could not expand indefinitely: “The seats in the market were saturated by the mid-90’s, so the top line of products didn’t grow as much. Until then, we could spend more loosely and grow more rapidly. Now, [with less revenue], you had to do less quality research, but the digital problems were also pretty well solved by the mid-90’s. Yes, today there is DFM and higher levels of abstraction, but the digital sector of EDA has been mature, almost stagnant, for some time.

“As growth in the industry slowed, different kinds of people moved into management, professional managers, so that now there is a great shortage of visionaries, particularly because we incentivise all the creative people to leave the big companies and go to the small companies. People see that if they do that, they’ll eventually get bought and make a lot of money.

“Of course, every company is different. Generally, Synopsys has not wanted to buy companies, and I respect that point of view and like it. But that’s an engineer saying that. Cadence, on the other hand, took the business growth point of view. The terrible truth is, however, the technical results have been bad. The technology has not been well integrated and the ease of use is not there. Cadence should have grown virtually and designed a database that would accommodate every tool internally. The ones we purchased from the outside destroyed our architecture. There is good news with Open Access, however, and the crusade to make everything work the same way. Best of class tools
can now sneak in [to the flow] and be part of solutions that were 100 percent Synopsys or Cadence in the past.”

Solomon added, “The reality, of course, is that in all of EDA, the ease of use is not very good. The engineers have been very patient with that, but I really wish we had done a better job some years ago. It’s hard to fix it after the fact, although the industry is trying.

“[Meanwhile], analog design is still a mess and has been since we did the first Cadence analog system 20 years ago. The digital sector of EDA may be mature, but the analog sector is still relatively young and not automated. Everything that’s important today is about mixed-signal SoCs for consumer products, and the big bottleneck in all of it is the analog. I would like to fix that hole [in the technology] that I feel I personally left there.”

As our lunchtime conversation drew to a close, Solomon said a number of the companies he’s working with today are looking at these issues, so he feels he is contributing to the solutions, working to fix “that hole.” But he is also continuing to attend to his own agenda, the issue of balance in his personal life.

Solomon said, “Even after all of our years working together at Cadence, even though I had been CEO and Chairman, Don Lucas still always referred to me as an engineer, and he was right. I was an engineer, and I think I was a good engineer. Now, however I want to get in touch with my human side.

“As an engineer there are many things you ignore about life, particularly if you want to be a good engineer. Basically, engineering is very theoretical work that requires you to go into very deep levels of concentration. You totally reject all of society, all of the outside world really. I’m trying to compensate for that now. I know when I look at life, it’s really good to be passionate about things. But basically, I'm still an engineer and
I'm still working to achieve the right balance in life.”


Money Matters …

EDAC announced EDA industry revenues for Q1 2007 increased 10% over Q1 2006, growing to $1.345 billion: “The 4-quarter average growth rate, which compares the most recent 4 quarters to the same 4 quarters in the prior year, was 15%”

By market sector:

* CAD was $521 million, up 2% (an 11% 4-quarter moving average)

* IC physical design and verification was up 14% to $357 million (a 16% 4-quarter moving average)

* IP was up 5% to $245 million (an 18% 4-quarter moving average)

* Services was up 11% to $89 million (an 11% 4-quarter moving average)

* PCB and multi-chip module revenue was up 59% to $133 million (a 30% 4-quarter moving average).

By geography:

* North America … $619 million, 8% up from Q1 2006

* Western Europe .. $232 million, 6% up from Q1 2006

* Japan … $314 million, 8% up from Q1 2006

* ROW = Rest of World … $181 million, 31% up from Q1 2006

EDAC also announced, “Companies that were tracked employed 25,820 professionals in Q1 2007, up 11 percent from the 23,324 in Q1 2006.”

ARC International announced “unaudited” financial results for H1 2007. Carl Schlachte, President and CEO, is quoted: “ARC's growth again outpaced the semiconductor market, and revenue increased at close to twice the rate compared to ARC's performance in the first half of 2006 … Also in the first six months ARC completed two strategic acquisitions, which enhances the company's ability to solve customers' chip design challenges.”

Silicon Image announced Q2 2007 financial results: “Total second quarter revenue increased 13.0 percent compared with the same quarter of 2006 and increased 15.4 percent compared with the prior quarter.” Nice.

Synplicity announced financial results for the quarter ended June 30, 2007. “Results included the acquisition of HARDI Electronics, AB from June 8 through June 30, 2007. Revenue for the quarter ended June 30, 2007, was $16.8 million. This compares to the $15.4 million of revenue reported for the quarter ended June 30, 2006 … The 2007 quarter included expenses associated with the sale of HARDI products, HARDI personnel costs, and expenses related to a combination of non-recurring charges and the costs of the DAC tradeshow which occurred in the June quarter of 2007, but in the September quarter of 2006.”


Other interesting news …

Altera announced its ArriaTM GX FPGA Development Kit passed PCI-SIG's compliance tests “on its first submission … Arria GX FPGAs are optimized to support PCIe, GbE and SRIO standards up to 2.5 Gbps.”

Altera also announced a “complete USB 2.0 Hi-/Full-Speed Device Controller solution from System Level Solutions (SLS), a product development and design services company. Per the Press Release: “This new IP includes a soft IP core, software and class drivers, and SLS's Snap-On PHY daughter cards”

Altera also announced that Crossbeam Systems is incorporating Altera devices in its next-generation line of X-Series security services switches. The companies say this will allow the switches “to achieve a level of performance and functionality not possible with alternative solutions. These switches are being used by companies worldwide, including CheckFree, Scottrade, and H&R Block.”

Apache Design Solutions announced that Global Unichip Corp. is using Apache’s RedHawk power integrity tool to help meet signoff requirements for designs at 65 nanometers and below. Per the Press Release: “Over the past two years, RedHawk helped GUC perform dynamic IR prevention prior to tape-out, which resulted in very few yield losses due to IR drop.”

Beach Solutions introduced an “enhanced” EASI Code product. Per the Press Release: “The engineer describes the sequence of register related events with the EASI Code graphical capture tool using language neutral standard flow chart symbols. EASI Code then draws upon the latest register data stored in the database and auto-generates the code described.”

Blaze DFM
says it has been chosen by STARC (the Semiconductor Technology Academic Research Center) to provide lithography simulation and analysis software that will be integrated into the STARCAD-CEL (Certified Engineering Linkage, one step ahead of DFM) reference design flow. Per the Press Release: “With this methodology, STARC - Japan's leading semiconductor technology research organization supported by Japanese IDMs - is establishing a process-friendly and low-power reference flow that strives to eliminate manufacturing uncertainty in sub-65nm system LSI designs.”

is offering its first user community workshop on Monday, August 13th, in the Stata Center at MIT. The workshop is being hosted by the university and, per the Press Release, “will offer a forum for users to describe their experiences using Bluespec and to showcase the different ways in which Bluespec is being used … Hardware designers and software developers from large systems and semiconductor companies worldwide, and members of academia are expected to attend.” Sounds fun, but hurry because it’s happeneing today!

Cadence Design Systems and Faraday Technology Corp. announced that Faraday has adopted Cadence system-in-package (SiP) digital co-design technology. Apparently, “This technology strengthens Faraday's substrate design capability and enables the company to provide SiP implementation capability to the market.”

Carbon Design Systems named Thomas Rathje as Vice President of Engineering. He succeeds Josh Marantz, who moves to the role of VP of R&D. Rathje has 25 years’ experience, including roles at Quickturn, acquired by Cadence, and Chrysalis Symbolic Design, acquired by Avanti where Rathje was GM of logic products. Prior to Carbon, Rathje was VP of Engineering at Timelab. He also worked as a consultant for Hostler Design Associates and was VP of Product Development for Spring Tide Networks, acquired by Lucent Technologies. Rathje began his career at IBM as staff engineer, moved to Amdahl and RISE Technology Company before joining Chrysalis. Rathje has a BSCE
from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and completed an executive program at Stanford's Graduate School of Business. He also has a large set of legacy business cards.

Certess, Inc. announced that Juniper Networks is using Certess’ Certitude, described in the Press Telease as: The first commercial functional qualification software product for companies developing SoCs or integrating IP blocks. Certitude certifies that if a semiconductor chip design had a bug, it would be found.”

Denali Software announced that it has become the “exclusive commercial provider of simulation models for memory devices” made by Samsung Electronics Company, Ltd. Per the Press Release: “Under the new arrangement, Samsung extends its participation in Denali's Memory Vendor Program.”

eASIC Corp. and Avnet ASIC Israel (AAI) announced a partnership to deliver eASIC's Structured ASIC technology to the Israeli marketplace. Per the Press Release: “Under the agreement, AAI will provide design, technical and sales support to customers using eASIC's products in Israel.”

Innovative Silicon announced that Hynix, the world’s second-largest DRAM maker, is licensing ISi’s Z-RAM technology for its stand-alone DRAM products. Z-RAM is a single-transistor bitcell that requires no capacitor or “exotic” process changes. Based on the license agreement, Hynix will have the right to use ISi’s technology to build memories. Per the companies, the license fees and engineering fees comprise an “8-figure deal.” In addition, Hynix will be paying royalties for use of the ISi technology once production or products that incorporate the technology begins. Per the Press Release: “Both companies will invest
significant engineering resources to ensure the success of this program.”

Sung-Joo Hong, VP of R&D at Hynix is also quoted: “Z-RAM promises to provide an elegant approach to manufacture dense DRAMs on nanometer processes. We see the potential to create a new platform of products based on ISi’s innovation of Z-RAM that will help us maintain, and grow, our leadership position in the memory market.”

IPextreme announced three new sales representatives, Maojet Technology Corp., Progate Technology Ltd, and Sital Technology in Taiwan, Korea and Israel, respectively.

MathStar, Inc. announced its high-definition MPEG-2 Encoder IP Core for the Arrix FPOA, which supports high-definition 720p resolutions at 60 frames per second, as well as all standard definition formats. The company says the core was co-developed with Adaptive Micro-Ware. Per the Press Release: The MPEG-2 Encoder IP Core is part of MathStar's Pro Video Library … [and] is scalable across one or two FPOA devices, depending on the level of compression required. The IP core will also be enhanced to support 1080i formats before the end of the year.”

the start-up focused support vehicle for Mentor Graphics to assist European electronics start-ups, announced the donation of EDA software worth GBP 2.5 million to the Computer Architecture Research Group of Imperial College London. The donation includes software for everything from design and verification for SoCs, to PCBs and embedded software.

Oskar Mencer, EPSRC Advanced Fellow and head of the Computer Architecture Research Group at Imperial College, is quoted: "We are excited to have been selected by Cre8Ventures as the London hub for academic use of Mentor Graphics EDA tools … Cre8Ventures' support will enable us to keep our research highly relevant to current challenges in industry."

Mentor Graphics has provided Michigan’s Kettering University ECE Department a suite of software valued at more than $1 million that can be used to model, simulate, verify, and synthesize electronic systems. Per the Press Release: “These tools enable students to design and analyze distributed mechatronic systems before they are manufactured. Mentor is providing these resources through the company's Higher Education Program (HEP), an endeavor founded in 1985 to further the development of skilled engineers within the electronics industry.”

Mentor Graphics has also signed an agreement with the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) in Lahore, Pakistan to create a 3-year Mentor Graphics Chair for Embedded Systems. At LUMS, Dr. Shahid Masud, will be the focal point for this initiative in embedded systems. Mentor Graphics will also help LUMS to design and improve the curriculum for computer sciences degree programs.

Dr. Zahoor Hassan, Vice Chancellor of LUMS, is quoted: “This agreement with Mentor Graphics will not only help develop state-of-art projects at LUMS in this important domain, but it also will lead to the promotion of industry-driven research in Pakistan.”

Nanno SOLUTIONS announced Kejing Song, an investor in the company, has been named President and CEO. Song has 19+ years’ experience in the industry, including time served at Cypress, Zycad, Lattice, and Sandisk. He has a BS in CS from U.C. Berkeley.

SynaptiCAD released version 12.0 of its compiled-code Verilog simulator and graphical HDL debugger, VeriLogger Extreme. New language features include support for switch primitives and Verilog-2001 generate statements. New debugging features include signal and expression breakpoints, improved syntax checking and error reporting, and more features for navigating the source code using design information. New testbench generation features include faster Verilog code generation and support of analog test bench signals for Actel's mixed-signal Fusion FPGAs.

Synopsys announced selection as Intel's “primary EDA supplier.” The terms of agreement have not been disclosed, but per the Press Release: “The two companies signed a multi-year, expanded commercial and technology agreement under which they will closely collaborate on advanced design flows that combine Synopsys' breadth of EDA solutions with Intel's technology strengths and design expertise. The agreement expands a long-term relationship between the two companies.”

Synopsys CEO Aart de Geus is quoted: "Taking our long-term relationship with Intel to the next level is a milestone strategic move for both companies. It has always been Synopsys' strategy to work closely with other technology leaders with one clear objective: lead in the state-of-the-art of modern design. By teaming up with Intel, we will jointly drive forward a whole new phase of Moore's law's evolution."

Taifatech announced they reduced development time on their wireless Ultra-wideband (UWB) chip design cycle by 30 percent using Cadence’s RF Design Methodology Kit. Taifatech would like you to know that “UWB wireless technology is used for transmitting information spread over a large bandwidth (> 500 MHz) and its main applications are in the wireless, consumer electronics and personal-computer markets.”

Verdant Electronics announced new “evolutionary” technology for both PCBs and Printed Circuit Board Assemblies (PCBAs), which the company says “promises to dramatically improve the way electronic products are made … The core idea is to build and interconnect electronic assemblies in reverse order from the traditional methods. Rather than having components mounted on PCBs and soldered, fully tested and burned IC packages and components of all types are placed on a carrier, encapsulated and subsequently plated with circuits making direct connection to component terminations without solder.”

Virage Logic reported financial results for the third quarter and the nine-month period of fiscal year ended June 30, 2007. “Revenue for the third quarter of fiscal 2007 was $11.3 million, compared with $15.3 million for the comparable quarter of fiscal 2006 and $10.6 million in the prior quarter. License revenue for the third quarter of fiscal 2007 was $8.2 million compared to $11.1 million in the third quarter of fiscal 2006 and $7.8 million in the previous quarter. Royalties for the third quarter of fiscal 2007 were $3.1 million, compared with $4.2 million for the third quarter of fiscal 2006 and $2.8 million in the prior quarter.”

Dan McCranie, Virage President and CEO, was quoted: "While we were able to grow revenue 7% sequentially to $11.3 million, we did not meet our minimum revenue guidance of $11.5 million. That said, the company did make significant improvements in securing new multi-year licensing contracts, particularly in the most advanced 45nm and 65nm process nodes. These contract wins resulted in our again achieving sequential total license backlog growth. And, looking into the intermediate future, we are seeing several positive indicators that lead us to believe we are making strong progress on our goal to transform the company. Specifically, our opportunity pipeline is larger and

Virage Logic also announced an agreement to acquire privately held Ingot Systems, an IP and design services company. Per the Press Release: “The proposed acquisition is an all-cash transaction and is expected to be accretive (non-GAAP) beginning in early fiscal year 2008. The transaction is expected to close by August 2007 … Ingot Systems has approximately 30 employees in two locations: Santa Clara, Calif., and Pune, India. Ingot Systems' California employees will relocate to Virage Logic's Fremont headquarters. The Pune, India location will retain its employees and this site will establish Virage Logic's second research and development facility in that

Dan McCranie, Virage President & CEO, was also quoted here: “By bringing Ingot Systems' strong technology teams into our company, we believe we will be providing the initial technological and operational nucleus for Virage Logic to provide a much more comprehensive product and services solution to our customers."

Xoomsys announced Penny Herscher has been named as an advisor to the company. Herscher is President and CEO of FirstRain, and a board member of both the Anita Borg Institute and California Community Partner for Youth. Prior to FirstRain, Herscher was chairman and CEO at Simplex Solutions, later acquired by Cadence. She served as CMO and GM of a software division at Cadence. Before Simplex, Herscher was an executive at Synopsys. She began her career as an R&D engineer at Texas Instruments and Daisy Systems. She has a BA in Mathematics from Cambridge University.

Zuken and PCB Libraries Inc. say they’ve launched the IPC-7351A LP Wizard for Zuken’s PCB and advanced packaging suite, CR-5000. Per the Press Release: “This land pattern generator greatly reduces the time it takes to build a standard SMT footprint/symbol for a library part and ensures compatibility with the latest IPC Standard for surface mount design. A task that previously could take an average of 30 minutes to process, now takes less than a minute regardless of the complexity.”

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-- Peggy Aycinena, EDACafe.com Contributing Editor.