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 Thursday's Child

Archive for July, 2009

DAC: The Whine & Cheese Must-See List

Friday, July 24th, 2009

Enclosed please find two Roadmaps for DAC: First, a suggested schedule of events and sessions to attend at DAC; Then, the “Whine & Cheese Must-See List.” I looking forward to seeing all of you next week at DAC!


DAC: One Journalist’s Plan of Attack …

Saturday, July 25

* Design Automation Summer School

Sunday, July 26

* Tutorials on UML and Multiprocessor Design, plus DFM&Y (events run all day)
* EDAC Reception: Gary Smith Industry Update

Monday, July 27

* Workshop for Bio-design Automation (8 am)
* Workshop for Women in Design Automation (9 am)
* The Young Faculty Workshop (9 am)
* Gary Smith on What’s Hot to Trot at DAC (9:30 am)
* DFM Workshop (all day)
* North American SystemC User Group (1 pm)
* Atrenta Blogfest & Panel: Early Design Closure (2 pm)
* ClioSoft Texas Hold’em (3 pm)
* Pavilion Interview with 2009 MRP Winner Telle Whitney (3:30 pm)
* High Tea with Wally Rhines, Aart de Geus, and Lip-Bu Tan (4:30 pm)
* The DAC Student Design Contest Awards (5 pm)

Tuesday, July 28

* Accellera Breakfast: Scott Sandler moderating (7 am)
* Opening session & TSMC Keynote/EDA Roadmap (8:30 am)
* Pavilion Panel: Software Piracy (10:30 am)
* Co-hosted Lunch Panel: SystemC & TLM-Driven Design versus RTL (11:30 am)
* CEDA Lunch: Research & Education (12 noon)
* IPL Workshop & Lunch: The EDA Earthquake (12 noon)
* Special Session on 22 nanometers (2 pm)
* Pavilion Panel: Interoperable PDKs (2:30 pm)
* Pavilion Panel on Embedded Multicore (3:30)
* Closing Panel for Management Day (4 pm, I’m moderating)
* User Track: Verification (4:30 pm)
* Accellera/SPIRIT: Liberte Fraternite Egalite Reception (6 pm)
* The Denali Party for The Way Cool Quotient (8 pm)

Wednesday, July 29

* WACI Special Session (9 am)
* User Track: Timing Analysis in the Real World (9 pm)
* Exhibition Hall Safari & Journey of Exploration (10 am to 5 pm)
* NVIDIA Keynote: Throughput Computing (11:15 am)
* Pavilion Panel: Green Electronics (12:30 pm)
* User Track: Poster Session & Ice Cream (1:30 pm)
* Special Session: Post-Turing Computation (2 pm)
* Pavilion Panel: Analog/Mixed-Signal ( 3 pm)
* Special Session: Multicore Computing (4:30 pm)
* Technology Panel: Mixed-Signal (4:30 pm)
* Pavilion Panel: Design Reuse (5 pm)
* NASA/ESA Conference on Adaptive Hardware & Systems (co-located w/ DAC)
* DAC Evening Party

Thursday, July 30

* Bug Hunt Special Session (9 am)
* High-School Musical goes High-Tech (10 am)
* Plenary Panel: Wally Rhines on Green Tech (12 noon)
* Tech Panel on Watts — milli & mega (2 pm)
* Special Session: Green Data Centers (4:30 pm)
* User Track: Analog & Mixed-Signal Design (4:30 pm)
* ACM Symposium: Nanoscale Architectures (all day, plus Friday).

Friday, July 31

* Full-day tutorials (there’s an extra fee)
* Two different flavors of Verification
* Parallel Programming
* Nano-everything


About The Whine & Cheese Must-See List …

This week the infamous EDA Cooley (everyone calls him “Cooley” because no one can remember his first name) published the results of his survey where he asked the EDA vendors: What are you showcasing at DAC in San Francisco and what will you be giving away? He got 70 responses and, of course, 65 of them were the usual self-promoting EDA vendor infomercials.

Here instead, you’ll find an alternative list of companies who will also be strutting their stuff next week at DAC — just in case you’re tired of being told by others what’s what in EDA. Included on this Whine & Cheese Must-See List are the names of companies who couldn’t or wouldn’t do what it took to be included on the other list.

I’ve really been working hard to assemble this list, considering everything else I‘ve had going on, so I hope you’ll appreciate it. It includes companies and organizations well worth your time should you visit them in the Exhibition Hall next week at DAC. It’s a good list, although of course, even if a company’s not on this list, it doesn’t mean it’s not worth visiting next week at DAC. But at least with this list, you can be sure that no PR people were disappointed, overworked, or in any other way harmed in assembling the darn thing.


The Whine & Cheese Must-See List

* Accelicon Technologies
* ACCIT – New Systems Research

* Achilles Test Systems
* Altair Engineering
* Altos Design Automation
* Amiq Consulting
* Analog Bits
* AnSyn
* APAC IC Layout Consultant
* Applied Simulation Technology
* Artwork Conversion Software
* Ateeda
* austriamicrosystems
* Avery Design Systems
* BEEcube
* Berkeley Design Automation
* Blue Pearl Software
* Breker Verification Systems
* Cambridge Analog Technologies
* Chipworks
* CoFluent Design
* Concept Engineering
* Coupling Wave Solutions
* CoWare
* CST of America
* Dassault Systemes
* Dataram
* Desaut
* Dolphin Integration
* Dynalith Systems
* EMA Design Automation
* Enterpoint
* Epoch Microelectronics
* Fidus Systems
* FTL Systems
* GateRocket
* Gradient Design Automation
* Helic
* ICDC Partner Pavilion
* Infiniscale
* Infotech Enterprises
* Innovative Logic
* iNoCs
* Instigate
* Interra Systems
* Jspeed Design Automation
* Kilopass Technology
* Legend Design Technology
* Library Technologies
* Logic Perspective Technology
* Lynguent
* Magillem Design Services
* MathWorks
* Micrologic
* Micro Magic
* Mixel
* MunEDA
* NextOp Software
* OptEM Engineering
* Optiwave Systems
* OVM World
* Physware
* PLD Applications
* QThink
* R3 Logic
* Runtime Design Automation
* Satin IP Technologies
* Seloco
* Semifore
* Shearwater Group
* Si2
* SIGDA/DAC University Booth
* Sigrity
* Silicon Design Solutions
* Silicon Image
* SmartPlay Technologies
* SoftJin Technologies
* Sonnet Software
* Spatial
* StarNet Communications
* Synapse Design Automation
* SynTest Technologies
* Teklatech
* Tela Innovations
* The RTC Group
* Tiempo
* TOOL Corp.
* True Circuits
* Test Systems Strategies
* Tuscany Design Automation
* Uniquify
* Univa
* Veritools
* Warthman Associates
* WinterLogic
* Z2 Innovation
* Zeland Software

Semicon, Wally Rhines, & the Top 10 Must-Do’s at DAC

Thursday, July 16th, 2009

A lot of people were at Semicon this week in San Francisco. Organizers were said to be expecting 25,000 for the 38th Annual Gathering of the (hellishly complex) Global Semiconductor Ecosystem, but clearly not everybody showed up.

That’s not to say there weren’t thousands of people in South and North Hall of Moscone Center, but it wasn’t a full house. You could feel it in the eerie calm of the Exhibition Hall – a place traditionally abuzz with seething crowds – and you could see it in the color palette on display. Dark suits. Muted Ties. It was almost funereal, with everybody appearing to be dressed to the nines out of respect for an industry that’s in the direst of straights.

EDAC Chair and Mentor Graphics CEO Wally Rhines gave the Wednesday keynote at Semicon in the Novellus Theater. Rhines was not, however, wearing his darkest suit. It was more like battleship grey. Perhaps Rhines didn’t get the memo: It’s a funeral. More likely, he’s just not as ready as some to give up.


Rhines’ Keynote …

Rhines has been around for a long time. Two decades at TI prior to his last two decades in EDA. He’s seen it all when it comes to boom and bust in semiconductors, and although he did acknowledge in his July 15th keynote that these are the darkest times to date in the history of the industry – with a whopping 56 billion unit volume drop over two quarters, Q4’08/Q1’09, equivalent to the collapse witnessed across a full four quarters in disastrous 2001 – he said this time around it‘s different:

Compared to the previous historic busts in 2001, 1996, and 1985, there was no semiconductor bubble of oversupply and overproduction prior to the current events. Hence, prices will remain more stable and the inevitable recovery will be faster and more deliberate. More importantly, Rhines insisted that Moore’s Law has not collapsed: “The data does not support a slowing of leading edge technologies.” He had lots of graphs on graphs to prove the point.

He also had graphs to prove that, although consolidation is the bellwether of a maturing industry, never over the history of semiconductors have the top 5, or even top 10, companies ever commanded, in aggregate, more than 10-to-15 percent market share. Per Rhines, leading semiconductor companies can never rest on their laurels: “Innovation and cost structures force you to keep up or get out.”

Even more contrarian, Rhines argued the precipitous decline in DRAM prices in recent years should be seen as an example of a positive phenomenon in technology: “As unit prices fall, sales soar [and that] enables innovation in applications.”

Rhines finished his keynote with a brief Q&A. Along with questions about solar technology (the Intersolar North America conference was collocated with Semicon this week), visa restrictions and outsourcing, Rhines was also asked about TSMC’s problems ramping up yield at 40 nanometers.

His response was upbeat to all questions. Rhines shamelessly promoted the Green Technology plenary session at DAC in response to the solar question, said visa restrictions were bad, that outsourcing was good only if it was pursued in search of engineering talent not cost savings, and ended with a ringing endorsement of TSMC. He said, “At all process nodes, yield ramp-up problems are temporary. TSMC will fix it [and move on].”

Rhines ended by insisting that process migration challenges are a great motivator for innovation in EDA. They drive development of new design tools, new place-and-route and verification tools, and provide opportunities for further partnering between EDA vendors and established and/or emerging fabless companies.

When Rhines was done, he got a rousing round of applause for his data-rich keynote, his facility in answering questions across a range of topics, and his palpable optimism – something in short supply at this particular Semicon.


Top 10 Must Do’s at DAC …

After Rhines finished his fantastic (but under-attended) keynote, I headed out to explore Semicon. I ran into an EDA editor in the North Hall who said, given how under-attended Semicon looked in cavernous Moscone Center, DAC housed in that same venue later this month will be a “ghost town.” He told me DAC needs to be folded into Semicon as a technical track.

Following that, I went to the South Hall and saw the Magma, Si2, and Synopsys booths. At Synopsys, I talked at length with Synopsys’ Sr. Director of Marketing, Tom Ferry.

Based on all of that, here are the Top 10 Must Do’s at DAC:

No. 10 – Not as many people are going to show up at DAC as many stakeholders in the EDA industry would like. Get over it.

No. 9 – If you think DAC is going to be a ghost town, don’t come. Go rain on somebody else’s parade.

No. 8Check your cynicism at the door. It’s not helpful, it’s not good for your inner Feng Shui, and it really pisses me off.

No. 7 – Don’t wear a dark suit and muted tie if you are coming to San Francisco. These may be tough times, but it’s not a funeral. It’s DAC. Battleship grey is okay, but bright colors are better.

No. 6 – The Novellus Theater can only be reached by exiting North Hall and turning left on Howard. There’s no foot traffic wandering in from the Exhibit Hall, so if you’re giving a talk there, be prepared for a small turnout.

No. 5 – The world’s gone Gaga over Green. Attend the DAC Thursday Special Plenary Panel, hosted by Wally Rhines: “How Green is My Silicon Valley.”

No. 4 – DAC is not ready to be folded into Semicon. Semicon is for the process, production and test guys, according to Tom Ferry, while DAC is still for designers. Accept it. They’re still two different shows.

Lords of the Samurai

Lords of the Samurai

No. 3 – TSMC has just joined Si2, but is not yet a member of EDAC, although The MathWorks is. Figure out when TSMC will become a member of EDAC.

No. 2 – San Francisco is fabulous, and you’re so lucky to be visiting this month. The DeYoung is hosting King Tut, the Museum of Modern Art is hosting Ansel Adams/Georgia O’Keefe and Richard Avedon, and the Asian Art Museum is hosting the Lords of the Samurai. See at least one of these shows, and let me know which one you saw.

No. 1Learn something new at DAC, something really new! Then write to me and tell me what it is. Make it something positive, thanks. (

No. 0 – Assume this may be your last visit to DAC. Enjoy it like there’s no tomorrow!

ASQED: Get Thee to Kuala Lumpur

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

Cool stuff’s happening next week in Malaysia as ASQED, the debut edition of Asia ISQED, unfolds in Kuala Lumpur on July 15th and 16th. Conference organizers will welcome 400+ attendees, a 100-percent increase over their initial attendance expectations – very impressive, as other technical conferences in the industry lament decreasing registrations.

When I spoke by phone on July 8th with Ali Iranmanesh, Founder and CEO of Silicon Valley’s ISQED and now Kuala Lumpur’s ASQED, he was preparing to leave for Malaysia and was understandably excited: “There’s definitely a market for [these types of events] in Asia – Malaysia, in particular – where there are multiple fabs, packaging, and design facilities. I expect ASQED will become bigger each year based on the great interest we’re already seeing.”

As proof, Iranmanesh noted the Malaysia Ministry of Innovation has decided to step in as an additional sponsor of the conference (other sponsors include Synopsys, Mentor Graphics, Cadence, and the Malaysia Institute of Microsystems) and has expressed interest in securing Kuala Lumpur as the ASQED venue for at least the next 3 years.

I asked Iranmanesh if other venues in Asia might be of equal interest. He said the enthusiasm of the Malaysian sponsors makes Kuala Lumpur a particularly attractive location for ASQED, as well as the multiple tourist destinations nearby, including beautiful beaches, golf courses, and the iconic Petronas Twin Towers.

Iranmanesh added that Kuala Lupmur’s a balmy 80 degrees with only moderate humidity in July: “It’s a great time of the year to be there.”

Others clearly agree. Per Iranmanesh: “People are coming from Singapore, Korea, Malaysia, India, China, Taiwan and the Middle East. [Recently], many people from these countries have been having difficulty getting to ISQED in Silicon Valley – in particular, many from Asia – due to travel restrictions, visa problems, and financial problems. We’re addressing that need with ASQED, and [a program appropriate] for engineers and upper management.”

To satisfy those audiences, Synopsys President & COO Chi-Foon Chan and University of Tokyo Professor & Solar expert Takashi Tomita are traveling to Kuala Lumpur to give the opening keynotes on July 15th, as well as Verdant Electronics President Joseph Fjelstad, Cadence SVP Charlie Huang, and NXP VP of Research Hans Rijns.

Following these high-profile speakers, ASQED’09 will offer multiple technical tracks, with the majority of the papers coming from Asia (the remainder from the U.S. and Europe). The principle topics of interest, per Iranmanesh, appear to be circuits and systems, design automation methodologies, test and verification, and packaging. Other topics on the program include PCBs, photovoltaic technology, low-power design, and nano/bio-tech. Clearly cool stuff.

So, is it too late for you to get yourself to ASQED in Kuala Lumpur by July 15th? Probably, but there’s always next year. In fact, given the expectations and apparent demand for such conferences in Asia, there may come a time when ASQED becomes the flagship product in the organizers’ portfolio, with ISQED serving as the “satellite campus.” Would the mandate then be, Get Thee to Silicon Valley?  

[Note: Dr. Ali Iranmanesh also serves as Founder, CEO, and Chairman of the Silicon Valley Technical Institute.]

IC Manage & Xuropa – Back to the Future

Friday, July 3rd, 2009

It’s déjà vu all over again here in the summer of 2009.

Once again, bright entrepreneurs are working to deliver on the promise of web-based design,  project management, tool evaluation and sales – James Colgan with his Xuropa website that offers “professional networking, collaboration, marketing and product evaluation tools,” and Dennis Harmon with his IC Manage web-based Global Design Platform management tool that offers “design assembly, derivative management, content delivery, revision control, and release and configuration management.”

Why is it déjà vu? Because over the last 10 years, we’ve heard about these kinds of thing before. Web-based everything was going gang-busters at the end of the 90’s, much less so after the boom busted, and then back on the radar screen with increasing frequency as the overbuilt infrastructure turned out to be useful after all.

Now the conversation’s way past those quaint days. Way, way past. It’s no longer just about or Y2K. Now it’s about SaaS, Cloud Computing, Global Data and Design Management, and Teraflops.

But lest we forget how we got where we are today – the July 2nd Xuropa-Cadence Online Verification Lab announcement (see below), and the recent IC Management Global IC Design Management Report (also see below) that proves people really, truly do want to manage their projects globally – let’s take a (distinctly abbreviated) walk down Memory Lane.

Back to the Future …

June 25, 1999

The buzz builds …

“First Product Developed In Cadence-Synchronicity Technology”

The product was Design Sync (design data management using Synchronicity’s web-based client-server architecture interfaced to Cadence APIs). The partners were Synchronicity and Cadence. Look for quotes from Mike Gianfagna (Cadence).

March 8, 2000

Mike Santarini reporting in EE Times as buzz really builds …

“Monterey launches bold Internet EDA play”

The product was eDolphin (“web version of Dolphin physical design system running remotely on HP machines at the customer’s site or by co-location providers”). The partners were Monterey Design and Hewlett Packard. Look for quotes from Jacques Benkoski (Monterey).

March 28, 2000

Reporting in EE Times as buzz really, really builds …

“Cadence Unveils Its Strategy for the Internet Era”

The initiative was iCadence (“moving EDA to an e-services model … includes Cadence Internet Engineer, Cadence Internet Learning Series,, and”). Look for quotes from Ray Bingham (Cadence).

April 4, 2000

Richard Goering reporting in EE Times as buzz really, really, really builds …

“Cadence crafts new design-oriented site”

The company was SpinCircuit (“web-based supply-chain portal for pc-board market”). The partners were Cadence, HP, and Flextronics. Look for the quotes from Adriaan Lautenberg (Cadence) and Dave De Maria (Cadence), and references to Carly Fiorina (HP), Ray Bingham (Cadence), and Michael Marks (Flextronics).

June 1, 2000

Again, Mike Santarini reporting in EE Times as the buzz becomes manic …

“Synopsys and Avanti roll out virtual design shop

The product was Design Sphere (“open, hosted … fully equipped Internet-based design shop”). The partners were Synopsys, Avanti and TSMC. Look for the quotes from Aart de Geus (Synopsys) and Mark Milligan (Synopsys).

June 1, 2001

Peggy Aycinena reporting in EDAVision Magazine as buzz fades …

“Web-based Design: All the Glitters may be gold”

“Numerous EDA vendors have backed way off of their aggressive development schedules and, in some cases, allowed their web-based design tools to be ‘temporarily’ shelved until the economic conditions re-emerge to support further research and implementation of the products …

“This may be prudent from a short-term financial point of view, but those who are holding back may regret their cautionary stance … Long-term investment in tools that facilitate remote collaboration and IP evaluation is definitely warranted. EDA and IP vendors need to persevere, even in these difficult times.”

Look for quotes in the article from Mike Markowitz (Mentor), Trent Poltronetti (Synchronicity), Daya Nadamuni (Gartner), Bill Alexander (Monterey), Mark Milligan (Synopsys), Dan Holden (TSMC), Peyman Kazemhkani (TSMC), Kuochon Lee (CreOsys), and Mike Curran (Sweetcircuits).

July 2, 2001

John Cooley reporting in EE Times as buzz really fades …

“A Mutating DesignSphere”

Look for the quotes from Bob Wiegand (NxtWave) and Dave Burow (Synopsys).

December 17, 2001

Dave Maliniak reporting in Electronic Design as True Believers soldier on …

“Synchronicity And Cadence Team On IP Management And Reuse Infrastructure”

The products were IPinfraNET and IP Gear. The companies involved were Synchronicity and Cadence. Look for quotes from Dennis Harmon (Synchronicity).

June 8, 2004

Synchronicity sold to MatrixOne …

“MatrixOne Acquires Synchronicity for $18 Million”

Look for quotes from Mark O’Connell (MatrixOne) and Patrick Romich (Synchronicity)

April 23, 2007

Establishing robust web-based project management …

“IC Manage Announces Global Design Platform”

The product is Global Design Platform (streaming TCP, design assembly, derivative
management, real-time delivery, and IT integration using the Perforce engine).

April 29, 2009

The new reality of global management …

“IC Manage Announces Global IC Design Management Report”

Report written by Dennis Harmon (IC Manage).

July  2, 2009

Combining professional networking, collaboration, marketing, and product evaluation …

“Xuropa Launches Online Lab Featuring Cadence Verification IP”

“With only a web browser, approved visitors to Xuropa Online Labs can access the Cadence Incisive MIPI verification IP Components. Users can run simulations, employing them on example circuits … Users can begin to test drive applications in minutes vs. the days or weeks it used to take to get agreements signed, software downloaded, and keys installed.”

The product is Xuropa Online Lab, with partners Xuropa and Cadence. Look for quotes from Susan Peterson (Cadence) and James Colgan (Xuropa).

June 1, 2001

In the spirit of Back to the Future, the last word goes to EDA Vision …

“Web-based Design: All the Glitters may be gold”

“As recently as two years ago, web-based design tools meandered across a range of definitions – anything from e-commerce to application service providers to file management and revisions control. For the current players in EDA and IP, however, web-based design tools are those products that facilitate remote collaboration to a geographically dispersed design team, either across the campus or across the globe, and remote access to IP specifications and evaluation.

“This clarification of the definition of web-based design offers a refreshing ability to focus on a specific end-user and a specific flavor of tool. The get-rich schemes of the Internet Gold Rush may have lost their luster, but the opportunity for long-term profitability in web-based design is greater than ever.”


ClioSoft at DAC

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