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Multicore Complexities to be Explored at DAC
A combination of events has made the design and use of multicore systems not only desirable, but in some cases necessary. Advances in semiconductor manufacturing, EDA tools, and system architectures, as well as the availability of high quality third party IP, has enabled the development of platform computing that use multiple cores, some of which are Application Specific Processing Units. Platforms that were introduced using individual components on a board, as late as three years ago, can now be implemented as a single IC. This has not only fostered improvements in personal computing and communication products, but over the entire spectrum of electronic products, from medical devices to automotive.
The article by Geoffrey James (Core Business Issue) looks into some of the business aspects of the increasing use of multicore in electronics. In addition to the improved outlook for personal electronic devices, and the obvious demand for EDA tools that increase designer productivity in developing such devices, software development tools and methods must also be improved, and in a few cases, like debugging parallel computing systems, new techniques must be developed. Gary Smith, at the just concluded EDP Symposium in Monterey, has predicted a resurgence of ASIC designs. The designs will use multicore architectures and may well be a significant boost to the business revenue of fabless semiconductor vendors like eSilicon.
The article by Bradley Geden and Sanjay Sawant from Synopsys (Parallel Simulation Boosts Verification Productivity), presents one example of a complex EDA tool required to support multicore designs. Simulation is recognized in most market reports as the most time-consuming and expensive task in IC design. Lately leading EDA vendors in the simulation market have been able to achieve a significant reduction in simulation run times using software technologies that parallelize the simulator execution. The authors specifically draw a distinction between Design Level Parallelism and Application Level Parallelism techniques. Both are used in the product that is the subject of their article.
Another article (Multicore? Ah, Software, There’s the Rub) by Larry Lapides, vice president of Sales at Imperas, recognizes, in his own unique style, how hardware design and software development become even more interdependent when multicore architectures are designed and developed. In his spare time Larry enjoys exploring the wine regions of the world, and obviously had a glass before writing this article. I think poetry is often underrated as a medium of communication, and even disdained in technical circles. Yet, as the article shows, it has its moments.
John Darringer, president of IEEE Council on EDA, a DAC sponsor, is well known to the EDA community. He has attended DAC for many years and can attest to its importance to EDA and the design community. In this issue he writes with authority (IEEE’s Council on EDA Supports EDA Professionals) about the reasons why IEEE and other professional organizations and DAC are valued resources of support in times like these.
The annual Marie R. Pistilli Women in Electronic Design Automation Achievement Award is one of the most prestigious awards associated with DAC. Nominations for the award are now open. Read the article (Nomination Deadline Extended for the 10th Annual Marie R. Pistilli Award) for details.
A call for nominations for two new awards that honor outstanding technical contributions within EDA is listed in this issue. These awards have been instituted by the DAC sponsors, IEEE/CEDA and ACM/SIGDA.
As usual, please send comments and suggestions to me at email@example.com.