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Archive for April, 2012

Inheriting Emulation

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

Recently, I’ve started to see an interesting trend cropping up in SoC development. Companies and teams are adopting or “inheriting” the emulation platform of their vendor, partner, or customer to accelerate the SoC realization effort.

Adopting a common emulation platform allows multiple organizations to share data and replicate development environments. Emulation tests for a critical block from an IP vendor can be replicated in-house, and later used as a golden reference model for verification at the system level. Leveraging a common emulation platform and use model enables partners, vendors, and customers to share a high-performance software development environment. Integration testing, along with driver and application software development can occur at multiple sites in parallel prior to tapeout.

Although there are many potential benefits to using a common emulation platform, there are also many potential issues. Failure to address these issues can result in increased project delays and costs, effectively erasing the advantages of using a common platform.

The first potential issue to be addressed is the choice of emulator. In many cases, the choice of the emulation platform to be shared is imposed by one company over another. For example, an important customer might demand that a vendor verifies its IP using the same emulator.
However, many organizations already have a preferred emulator or FPGA prototyping platform, and have built a complex verification environment around it. Adding a new emulation platform requires more time and money. An organization that typically uses FPGA prototypes with a target hardware system may need to invest significantly in order to adopt a transaction-based emulation flow built around an Electronic System-Level (ESL) virtual platform.

Alternatively, if both parties have an equal say in the choice of emulation platform, there are other potential difficulties. Each company may have a centralized IT or CAD team that demands its own evaluation, and each could have differing criteria for success. Each company may have differing budgets for the project and differing procurement policies, creating further complications in purchasing a common platform. (more…)

The Metrics of Social Media

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

By now, you probably know that social media is kind of a big deal. Social media is literally changing the world, having played a significant role in political scenes around the globe. Closer to home, social media marketing is changing the way we do business, providing access to online audiences like never before. If you need some more convincing on the value of social media marketing, you can check out my earlier blog post, “What Is Up With Social Media?”.

We know that social media is important for our business, but exactly how important—or perhaps more accurately, how effective—is it? How do we know if our social media campaigns are having any impact? The number of followers of your Twitter account or fans of your Facebook page doesn’t give you the whole story. Are your links being clicked and reposted? How many people do you influence? Who else is talking about you (and what are they saying)? As social media has evolved into a critical marketing tool, a host of new technologies have been developed to help you answer these questions.

Tracking Your Content/Links

When you post a link to your latest blog post, does anyone retweet it? If you advertise a sale or promotion with a landing page, does your social media campaign result in conversions? Content tracking is the most straightforward and readily available metric for social media. Almost every social media scheduling tool, such as HootSuite, Tracx, Buffer, and Gremln also includes metrics on clicks, mentions, and reposts. There are a wider range of dedicated analytics tools to choose from as well, such as SWIX and Cyfe. You can also collect some of this data through URL shorteners like This information helps you to assess the quality of your content. (more…)

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