Contributing Editors: Peggy Aycinena, Geoffrey James, Gary Smith, Ed Sperling
Editor-in-Chief: Gabe Moretti
June 8-13, 2008, Anaheim Convention Center, Anaheim, Calif.
|vol.3 / issue 6 February 7, 2008|
IN THIS ISSUE:
Peggy Aycinena, Change Agent Limor Fix
Up-Coming Submission Deadlines:
Nominations for the Marie R. Pistilli Women in EDA Achievement Award Accepted Until March 7
DAC announced today that nominations are being accepted until March 7 for the Marie R. Pistilli Women in Electronic Design Automation (EDA) Achievement Award. Named for Marie R. Pistilli, the former organizer of DAC, the award, now in its ninth year, recognizes individuals who have contributed significantly to the advancement of women in the EDA industry. This year's award will be presented to the 2008 recipient at the Workshop for Women in Design Automation (WWINDA) on Monday, June 9, during the 45th DAC in Anaheim, Calif. Registration for WWINDA and DAC will open March 23.
“This annual award is an important way of acknowledging the significant contributions of women to this industry,” said Peggy Aycinena, this year's WWINDA chair: “We look forward to reviewing this year's nominations and learning more about the individuals who are advancing women in EDA.”
To be considered, an individual should have been responsible for the launch or management either of a successful product that included contributions from women, or a program that has created opportunities for women. Nominees may also be leaders within a company or organization that has helped raise the awareness of women, or they may have served as a mentor or role model for successful women in EDA.
The award is open to both men and women with technical or non-technical backgrounds in industry or academia. For more information on the award, including previous recipients and nomination forms, visit the DAC website.
Call for Exhibitors:
DAC is actively expanding its exhibitor base to encompass the entire design eco-system from embedded software and system-level design tools, IP, EDA, and design services through to silicon manufacturing. The expanded scope of the show floor along with DAC's unique booth/suite combination and world-class conference and educational program makes participation a must for companies with products used in the design and development of circuits and systems.
Hardware security needed to protect valuable IP
The expansion of engineering teams across borders requires technology transfer to countries and governments with diverse rules of law in protection of domestic and foreign IP. Companies today must grapple with a new imperative to both protect and restrict transfer of their valuable investments in the development of new technologies, via such mechanisms as copyrights, trade secrets and patents.
Where there is an intersection of high turnover in overseas engineering teams and regions where the rule of law regarding IP protections is weak, how does a company effectively protect its R&D investment in a timely fashion? In addition to patenting efforts, it is becoming increasingly important to use available security technologies to protect a company's IP assets. We are seeing a number of approaches by customers for protecting their most valuable R&D and copyrighted assets from piracy, cloning, and improper technology transfer.
As most in the high tech arena know, the DVD encryption format, Content Scramble System (CSS), is an encryption-based digital rights management scheme that aims to protect media content from piracy. DVD movies, including extra features and menus, may be encrypted with CSS at the manufacturing plant when the discs are created. The DVD players then decrypt the encryption-protected content when the DVD movie or feature is viewed.
As indicated in the second hardware security imperative, in order to protect sensitive keys during the manufacturing process prior to programming them into a physically secure NVM technology, key information is encrypted. Only the target device has built-in encryption needed to unlock a key. In this way, keys are protected throughout the semiconductor manufacturing supply chain whether they are programmed at wafer sort, in-package at test, or by an OEM manufacturer at the board level.
The word of the year: CHANGE
by Gabe Moretti
As all of you know, the United States is in the midst of a political campaign that will ultimately decide who will be its next President. The word most often used by all candidates is: Change. Everyone is for change, although everyone defines it differently. It seems a bit strange to me that candidates should have to spend so much energy telling everyone that they will bring change. After all, there is an election, the incumbent is not running, and thus there will be change, even if not desired. Yet, someone has figured out that there cannot be progress without change, and so the word of the year has been identified: Change. EDA is one of the most dynamic industries in existence, and its rapid changes are driven by just as dynamic an industry: electronics design. So it will not surprise you that this month's articles are all about change.
Speaking of the Letters to the Editor, we are publishing two of them this month. They comment on the articles on analog design in last month's issue. As you can read, analog design is receiving a lot of attention, and we have not yet reached consensus on how to improve tools and methods for that segment of electronics design.
Protecting electronics contents
The DACeZine also has a Letters to the Editor section to allow for shorter contributions to the contents and directions of the publication. When necessary, answers to the letters will come from the appropriate member of the team (including our readers), since I do not (yet) hold the total knowledge of the industry within me. I encourage all of you to write, either a viewpoint or a letter, and state your opinions on matters that impact our industry, the contents of this publication, or, for that matter, the publication itself. Send your letters to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The material in the two articles on analog design resonated with our readers, and I am glad it did. I picked two letters that represent the general sentiment of our correspondents.
The second letter comes from Mike Demler, who was quoted in Geoffrey James' article.
Rather than re-hash recent articles I have written on the topic, I invite you to visit my blog, especially my post on “Analog design is NOT black magic… but it is VERY hard.” In that post I especially take issue with the contention in Geoffrey’s article regarding “The fact that EDA vendors have so far lagged in helping analog designers may be the result of not enough "out of the box thinking." I dispute that alleged “fact” quite strongly while highlighting some of the advances that have been made in EDA tools for analog design.
You saw that James Lin regards simulation as the biggest problem for his designers at National. Well, 20 years ago (the same time when Synopsys began), it was nearly impossible to simulate a PLL, a complete ADC, a SerDes, or any RF circuit for that matter. All of these circuits are routinely handled by the industry-leading SPICE and Fast-SPICE simulators today, without a second thought in most cases. While you may not think of it as a paradigm shift akin to Design Compiler, this represents orders of magnitude improvement in design productivity! And that’s just simulation. What about schematic-driven layout, parasitic extraction and DRC, and many other tools that are routinely used today for transistor-level design? Twenty years ago I had to push every polygon manually, and as far as post-layout analysis goes… forget about it! You wouldn’t have any of today’s mixed-signal devices if EDA vendors had lagged in the analog tools.
The topic of analog synthesis is especially significant to me. I was the architect for Analog Synthesis at Antrim Design Systems, for which I have been granted five patents. The conversation on this topic should start with those who do or have done analog design, not your typical EDA marketeers or digital synthesis experts. What problems need to be solved? What are the biggest areas needing productivity improvement? James Lin said it is simulation, a particularly hot area in the EDA industry at present. It may be that custom analog design is not a “plague” (ouch!) on the industry. Many studies have shown that verification is the biggest bottleneck—another area that the industry and Synopsys especially is focusing on.
Thanks for stimulating the dialogue. Let’s keep it going!
To refresh everyone's memory, this is the sentence from Mike quoted in the article:
Change Agent Limor Fix: YouTube & the Next Generation
by Peggy Aycinena
Limor Fix, 2008 General Chair for the Design Automation Conference, is only asking one thing of her various committees’ heads: Do something different this year. Just one thing that will shake things up, evolve the conference, help move the industry in a new and appropriate direction. Not surprisingly, her committee chairs have responded.
Although Fix partially credits her long years in management-previously as head of an internal CAD R&D group at Intel, and now as director of an Intel research lablet in Pittsburgh—for giving her the leadership skills to promote out-of the box thinking from the 2008 DAC team, she argues the larger credit for their innovative ideas comes from the caliber of the team itself. “It’s always about the team in technology, and the 2008 DAC team is top notch. Best ever, in fact,” Fix told me in a recent phone call.
Few would take issue with Fix’s boast. Just look at the team: U.C. San Diego’s Andrew Kahng; IBM’s Leon Stok; Magma Design Automation’s Patrick Groeneveld; Virage Logic’s Yervant Zorian; University of Pittsburgh’s Steve Levitan; Synopsys’ Narendra Shenoy; University of Minnesota’s Sachin Sapatnekar; Purdue University’s Kaushik Roy; Mentor Graphics’ Dennis Brophy; NVC Marketing & Public Relations’ Nanette Collins; Katholieke University’s Georges Gielen; Kyushu University’s Yusuke Matsunaga; Carnegie Mellon University’s Diana Marculescu; Qualcomm’s Ramesh Chandra; Mentor Graphics’ Anne Cirkel; MP Associates’ Kevin Lepine; and MP Associates’ Lee Wood.
Fix says the 2008 DAC Dream Team is historic in its talent and energies: “This team is doing more than I ever could have imagined possible, and the conference is going to be supremely successful because of them. In previous years, the Executive Committee used to meet every three months, but so many new ideas are being brought online in 2008 that the committee is happily meeting every month in the run-up to the conference in June in Anaheim.
“We are crafting a Design Automation Conference that will reflect ongoing changes in the industry. Change is happening in design automation at an even faster pace than what we’ve seen in the past—and this in an industry that’s legendary for its pace of change. There is a change in tools on the horizon and a change in the way design is done that’s creating a crisis for design managers all over the world. They’re having to say to their teams, and to their management, ‘Okay. This time as we start our newest project, we’re going to have to do things differently. We’re going to have to move things to a higher level of abstraction and, therefore, be willing to integrate even more external IP, or IP from different groups within the company, to make our new project succeed.’
“And,” Fix adds, “Not only are the designers changing their methodologies and attitudes, the computer aided design companies—the EDA vendors—are changing their attitudes, as well. They’re developing new technologies and methodologies that are working at the new, higher abstraction levels needed by their customers, while also acknowledging that the fine tuning of new technologies and methodologies cannot happen until the design teams take it upon themselves to absorb the risk associated with the new tools. It’s a two-way street—out of necessity, the customers have to use the new tools and methodologies, while at the very same time, the new offerings from the vendors are being stress-tested on real projects with real deadlines.”
Fix says there’s enough risk in all of this to sink a [corporate] ship, but she also senses great optimism: “I am seeing more and more willingness in the design companies to be open to new technologies and methodologies. Amidst everything the industry, and the DAC Executive Committee, are talking about—system-level design, new levels of abstraction, additional use of IP, DFM, and new verification technologies—you can see the adoption of all of these things is actually starting to happen across the globe. It’s taken years for this to become a reality, but adoption is definitely kicking in.”
As admirable as all of this forward thinking may be, Fix lists several specific innovations related to DAC 2008. “First of all,” she says, “The DAC website is sporting a fresh new look and the DACeZine, newly launched this year, is also adding a refreshing new voice to the industry.
“Second of all, the exhibitors will welcome a host of new ideas and updated features in the conference that are promising to enrich their experiences and ROI. To that end, every day at DAC in Anaheim in June 2008 will be a "Free Day" on the exhibit hall floor. Attendees will have to register a few days in advance of the conference, but if they do, the floor will be open to them – which will be a tremendous boon for the exhibitors.
“Third, DAC attendee feedback from past years has generated additional program content for 2008 that will look more closely at the methodology of design through a variety of ‘how-to’ sessions that are being integrated into the schedule. [Hence], we are looking at opportunities for learning to take place at DAC for all types of technologists.
“I believe when a person comes to DAC, they are already expert in some sub-domain within the technology. While DAC can give that individual an updated perspective on current trends in their own area, it can also give them more in-depth exposure to other domains, as well. If you’re in formal verification, for instance, DAC will give you multiple sessions to round out your knowledge, but will also offer extended collocated tutorials that offer additional exposure to advancements in other, complementary technologies.”
Finally, and most profoundly, Fix says, “The entire Executive Committee is revamping their thinking about the conference itself. No longer are they thinking of DAC as a single event that happens just once each year, sometime in the late spring or early summer. Instead, they are envisioning DAC as a year-round phenomenon – an ongoing, always vital source of information where academia and industry, students, professors, and industry leaders can exchange ideas and develop a dialog via DAC’s monthly newsletter DACeZine and DAC’s website that provides a single focal point for the industry’s bloggers.
“In conjunction with that, we are developing a database of expert speakers and well-known people who have been invited to speak and/or participate on panels at the conference. This database will be a very valuable resource for future DAC organizers, and it serves as a repository of names and expertise that companies can populate on their own initiative in order to be able to expose their technical leaders and high-level management to DAC’s organizers and attendees.
“But, this year’s Executive Committee is thinking on an even bigger scale,” Fix says. “In terms of marketing the conference and reaching out to a larger ‘user base,’ we are looking at all of the new media in the world today—everything from Facebook to YouTube, and all of those socialization and information tools that our children are busy with all the time. I hear about them from my own children and you probably hear about them from yours, as well. For the new generation of engineers—if we really want to reach them—we need to do it through the communication channels and tools that they use in their everyday lives. For example, we are considering inviting the authors of accepted papers to promote their work and encourage DAC’s participants to attend their paper presentations by uploading short videos on YouTube that would highlight the main contributions of their papers. The DAC website will contain links to these videos.”“You can see why I’m very excited about all of the ideas that the various committee chairs have generated this year,” Fix says. “If I have brought a managerial aspect to the job of General Chair for the 2008 Design Automation Conference, the members of the Executive Team have brought tremendous creativity to their respective jobs and have generated a host of new and clearly stimulating ideas.”
Will there be more startups in EDA?
DACeZine sat down to discuss startups and entrepreneurship in the EDA market with some industry exponents each of whom have launched more than one in their careers. Participants to the discussion were: Rajeev Madhavan, chairman and CEO of Magma Design Automation; George Janac, CEO and founder of Silicon Navigator; Andrew Yang, president and CEO of Apache Design; and John Sanguinetti, chief technology officer at Forte Design Systems. What follows are excerpts of that conversation.
by Ed Sperling
Q: In the past, the majority of startups in electronics occurred in the EDA sector. What's so unique about this sector, and will the trend continue?
Q: Does it make good business sense to fund these companies?
Q: How has it changed?
Q: What is the exit strategy for today? Who has gone public besides Magma and Verisity?
Q: Is that still the number, or has it gone higher than that?
Q: Will that attract the same caliber of entrepreneurs if the return on each investment isn't as high?
Q: When all of you started down the entrepreneur path, was there a bigger reward at the end—or at least the promise of one—than there is today in EDA?
Q: But if you're an entrepreneur, would you go into EDA today or would you go into Web 2.0 or some other nascent market that's ready to explode?
Q: Agreed, but how about if you're just coming out of school and looking for a specialty?
Q: So what happens to the entrepreneurial talent pool?
Q: Aren't the problems that startups deal with relatively short-term, though?
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