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 EDACafe Editorial

Archive for January, 2021

EDA updates; Indy Autonomous Challenge; Qualcomm-Nuvia deal; RRAM-based edge learning; robomorphic computing

Monday, January 25th, 2021

Will we see tech students spraying Champagne during the awards ceremony at the Indy Autonomous Challenge next October? What is sure is that the race initiative confirms a strong academic commitment to autonomous vehicle research. Meanwhile, Hyundai Motor and Apple are reportedly planning to sign a partnership deal on autonomous electric cars by March and start production around 2024 in the United States. More about the Indy race below, after some EDA news. Other updates this week concern CPUs, machine learning, and robotics.

EDA updates: Ansys, Siemens

Ansys has recently launched its new HFSS Mesh Fusion. Available in Ansys HFSS 2021 R1, the new solution enables fully-coupled simulation of entire, complex electromagnetic systems. It combines integrated circuits, packaging, connectors, printed circuit boards, antennas and platform in a single Ansys HFSS analysis to predict electromagnetic interactions.

The EDA business of Siemens – formerly Mentor – has announced that its tools for the verification of analog/mixed-signal circuits are now qualified for early design starts on Samsung Foundry’s new 3nm Gate All Around process technology. Early-stage AMS designs can now be verified using the Analog FastSpice (AFS) platform on Samsung’s most advanced process technology.

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Intel’s new CEO: comments from media and analysts

Monday, January 18th, 2021

Comments abound on last week’s Intel news announcing the appointment of Pat Gelsinger as the company’s new chief executive officer, effective Feb. 15, 2021. The official press release is quick to underline that the announcement “is unrelated to Intel’s 2020 financial performance” and that “the company has made strong progress on its 7nm process technology”, implicitly dismissing the notion of a reaction to a problem. But all observers are obviously interpreting this sudden CEO change as a move aimed at recovering competitiveness after a lackluster period that was becoming worrisome for the investor community.

For example, EDACafe last week briefly reported about a letter sent to Intel by Third Point, complaining not only about Intel’s well-known delay in moving to the 7-nanometer node, but also about its loss of many talented employees, certain questionable acquisitions, and more. Observers unanimously express positive judgements on Gelsinger – see, for example, the article from Tirias Research’s Jim McGregor on EETimes. Gelsinger has an engineering background and spent thirty years of his career at Intel, which he left in 2009 to join EMC as President and COO. From 2012 to present, he served as CEO of virtualization leader VMware. More bio details about him can be found in this note to all Intel employees. So, Gelsinger sounds like a great choice; but what about his new strategy?

Pat Gelsinger. Credit: Intel

Staying IDM versus going fabless

Given the difficulties that Intel is currently experiencing in keeping pace with foundries, a key point that Gelsinger will need to address is the choice between retaining Intel’s IDM identity – in other words, keeping the fabs – or embracing the fabless model, which would basically mean outsourcing the manufacturing to TSMC. The obvious parallel is with what AMD did back in 2008-2009, when it sold its fabs to the entity that later became GlobalFoundries.

On this point, Robert Maire from Semiconductor Advisors wrote some interesting comments on SemiWiki. According to Maire, AMD’s example is not a good one: “We think that this is not a good comparison. AMD did not have the minimum critical mass needed to support a fab and all the R&D that goes along with it. Intel has the size, scope and market needed to support the associated spend. The basis of the problem is not economic as it was with AMD; it is an execution/technical problem that Intel has encountered.”

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EDA Q3 figures; Achronix to list on Nasdaq; automotive chip shortage; SMIC added to Entity List; AI updates

Monday, January 11th, 2021

Boston Dynamics dancing robots seem to be a good topic to start this news roundup, the first of 2021. They can be enjoyed by watching this video, created by the robotics company “to celebrate the start of what we hope will be a happier year”. Let’s now move straight to this week’s updates.

Credit: Boston Dynamics

EDA revenue growth in Q3 2020

According to the Electronic System Design Alliance, EDA industry revenue increased 15% in Q3 2020 to $2,953.9 million, compared to $2,567.7 million in Q3 2019, with all categories logging significant gains. The four-quarter moving average, which compares the most recent four quarters to the prior four quarters, rose by 8.3%. The product category showing the strongest growth was IP, with a 25.8% revenue increase. In terms of regions, Asia Pacific reported the best results with a 26.4% growth. The EDA companies tracked by ESD Alliance employed 47,087 people in Q3 2020.

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