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 What Would Joe Do?

Archive for September, 2017

ANSYS: Big Challenges attract Best Engineers

Thursday, September 28th, 2017

 


Vic Kulkarni is well-known in the EDA community
as co-Founder, CEO and President of Sequence Design from 1995 until the company merged with Apache in 2009, which in turn was acquired by ANSYS in 2011. Kulkarni is now VP and Chief Strategist in the Office of CTO for the Semiconductor Business Unit at ANSYS.

There is little Kulkarni has not seen in his 30+ years in Silicon Valley. Although our conversation here mostly highlights current successes at ANSYS, it’s clear he continues to be wildly enthused about the broader promises of technology and the exciting efforts underway to create tools and strategies to bring those promises to fruition. Vik Kulkarni’s enthusiasm is the kind of thing that continues to make this industry so vibrant, and makes careers herein appealing for the next generation of engineers.

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Glioblastoma: SynBio, AI, Medical Science, 11th Commandment, and the Future of Thought

Wednesday, September 27th, 2017

 


During a recent reunion of immediate family members in North Carolina
, we received devastating news that a nephew out in California, a husband and father of three, had just been diagnosed with a glioblastoma, one of the most horrifically aggressive types of cancer.

Back in North Carolina, the reunion group included a nursing administrator, an MD specializing in genetics, a computer scientist expert in AI and ML, two bio-pharma research chemists – one an expert in CAD tools for protein synthesis and the other with expertise in targeted chemo therapies for oncology – as well as a couple of electrical engineers thrown in for good measure.

In other words, it was a custom-built conference for discussing cell physiology, brain function, clinical protocols, targeted therapies, genetic mutation, and the emerging science and software of semiconductor-based artificial intelligence and neuromorphic computing.

What the conference attendees wanted was to give hope to the nephew in California, despite the brutal reality of the current state of the art of treatments for virulently malignant brain tumors. However, after many hours of discussion in North Carolina the group concluded that the situation in California was dire, even hopeless, given what is currently known about glioblastoma.

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Blue Pearl: Best kept Secret in EDA

Thursday, September 21st, 2017

 


Silicon Valley based Blue Pearl Software
is the quintessential EDA company: privately held, run by a seasoned team of EDA experts, and with a portfolio that includes tools for generating timing constraints, CDC analysis, both synchronous and asynchronous, RTL verification tools for methodology standards and design rules, and design management tools.

Similarly, Blue Pearl’s Ellis Smith is the quintessential CEO in EDA. Before founding his current company, Smith was CEO and President of Orora Design Technologies, CEO at TransEDA through that company’s IPO in 2000, and CEO at Exemplar Logic through its merger with Mentor Graphics in 1995. His experience also includes a stint as CEO at CrossCheck Technology, and years spent at Duet Technologies, CADAM, Versatec, Dictaphone, and 3M. Pretty much the whole history of the EDA industry in one CV.

It would be an excellent idea to sit down for a very long conversation with Ellis Smith to discuss his take on the history of this oh-so-interesting industry. Unfortunately, time was of the essence when I did get the chance to talk with him earlier this month, and the focus was principally on Blue Pearl.

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Real Intent: Leveraging on Investments

Thursday, September 14th, 2017

 


Prakash Narain is a long-standing member of the EDA community
, having helped found Real Intent in 1999. In August 2016, I interviewed Dr. Narain at length about the technology at the core of the company. This week we spoke again, starting with an update of the company’s announcements around DAC in June, which involve further advancements in clock-domain crossing analysis and sign-off.

Real Intent must be doing something right, because Narain seems as enthused about the prospects for his company as someone who has just launched a tech start-up. It takes stamina and courage to sustain that optimism, and market success. Narain says his organization has both.

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PDF Solutions: The Rock of Ages

Thursday, September 7th, 2017

 


John Kibarian has been involved with PDF Solutions since co-founding
the company in 1991 in Pittsburgh, through its relocation to California in 1996, through the IPO in 2001, and on into today. He’s been CEO since 2000. PDF Co-founder Kimon Michaels has also been with the company since the beginning, and currently serves as VP of Products and Solutions.

As well, CMU Professor Andrzej Strojwas [2016 Phil Kaufman Award recipient] has been PDF’s Chief Technical Advisor from the beginning — not surprising considering he served as Kibarian’s PhD thesis adviser at CMU — and Lucio Lanza has been on the board of directors for 20 years, serving as Chairman since 2004.

PDF is a company that defines stability, steady growth, and an intellectually rigorous and serious-minded approach to solving problems. It’s not a company of self-promoters or grand-standers. It’s a company of highly accomplished technologists, deeply involved in one of the toughest jobs in semiconductors: Finding out why chip yields are good, bad or ugly, and figuring out how that data might be used to improve design and manufacturing.

The last time I interviewed John Kibarian, it was 2015 and PDF Solutions had just acquired Syntricity a company with yield-improvement technology and services for the IC process life cycle.

This time when Kibarian and I spoke, PDF had just acquired several assets of Kinesys Software, including its ALPS (Assembly Line Production Supervisor) software, “designed to enable complete manufacturing traceability, including individual devices and substrates, through the entire assembly and packaging processes” – capabilities which PDF plans to integrate with their Exensio big data analytics platform.

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