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Archive for April, 2012

Standards: Past, Present, and Future

Monday, April 30th, 2012

Standards have, are, and will play a major role in EDA. The difficulties inherent in developing semiconductors require the existence of point tools that provide specific solutions to very demanding problems. These tools must be able to work together in an integrated flow that needs the ability to exchange data in a reliable manner. In addition engineers need to be able to exchange tools from various vendors for both technical and commercial reasons. All of these would not be possible without standards. To read more about standards go to


Our industry recognized the need for standards even before it became Electronic Design Automation. It was still called CAD, for Computer Aided Design, when, shortly after the introduction of proprietary workstations, users found the need to exchange schematic drawings among various workstations. EDIF was the result of this standardization exercise, but we soon discovered that a standard by itself is not very useful. All the workstation companies quickly develop EDIF readers, but you could not find an EDIF writer from any of them. Reality has a way of asserting itself, though. EDIF 1.0 became a format for storing designs that could be reused and thus, ultimately ported to a new system.


Can EDA Replicate Its 2011 Growth This Year?

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

Each quarter, the EDA Consortium publishes the Market Statistics Service (MSS) report containing detailed revenue data for the EDA industry. According to the latest information distributed by EDAC, overall fourth quarter 2011 EDA revenues increased 12.8% compared to the same period in 2010. Total revenue for Q4 was $1700.1 million. it is very interesting to me to note that the most authoritative research service covering EDA from the financial industry reports that revenues for the same period were $1.41 billion corresponding to an increase of 13% over the same period a year ago. There is clearly a discontinuity in the numbers.

EDAC can only use actual figures reported by its corporate members. Unfortunately for the consortium, Synopsys, a member, no longer shares its data with the organization and a few other large vendors of EDA tools are not members of EDAC. The result is that EDAC estimates the market contributions of important, non-reporting, companies and this can lead to inaccuracies. The error seems to be around 0.02% which is well within the acceptable error for forecasting purposes.

For the entire 2011 calendar year total EDA revenues were estimated to be $5.069 or 13.5% greater than 2010. The three largest companies (Cadence, Mentor, and Synopsys) account for approximately 75% of total revenue, while another half-a-dozen companies add another 13.6% to the total. Although 2012 appears to be a good year, growth will slow to a projected 7-8%.

Areas that will contribute significantly to the growth in revenue include: heterogeneous system designs, virtual prototyping, formal verification, emulation, power consumption analysis, and layout optimization.

The slowdown is due to two major factors: worldwide economy and a decrease in number of electronics companies using the very latest manufacturing process. (more…)

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