Monday, August 14, 2006

EDA Confessions, Part I

After my prescient DAC trip report, I've been thinking of a couple of times in my career when I've really missed the boat on EDA companies. I have a couple of examples that I can't forget. I'll write about them one at a time. Confession is good for the soul. ;-) The first is a company that I ignored, yet in retrospect could have done a great jobs for us.
The Time
Late 1990s
Product Type
Floorplanner
The Company
Silicon Perspective (SPC)
The Problem
My company was working with Synopsys on "Chip Architect" and "Floorplan Manager" to close timing on "deep submicron" designs. These were around 0.35 micron, IIRC. I never used Chip Architect, but my colleagues were beta testing and helping to debug it. I spent a lot of time with Floorplan Manager; it was pretty inefficient to back-annotate tons of layout data onto Design Compiler, and for DC to optimize designs in a way both effective and feasible for physical design. We were struggling to close timing on the design.
The pitch
An SPC Sales guy kept calling me, asking us to evaluate FE. He made extraordinary claims about its performance, capacity, and quality of results. He wanted us to try it on a multimedia design one of our groups was working on.
What I did
I couldn't believe that this little startup could deliver such amazing results that Synopsys and Cadence couldn't! Clearly, he was just making wild claims to get our attention. So, I never did bring him in for an evaluation.
What happened
Our design project took so long and it was eventually cancelled. And I ended up leaving the company around the same time. Later, SPC was acquired by Cadence for a large sum and today is the foundation and namesake of "Encounter", their whole family of Digital IC implementation products!
Lesson learned
Don't dismiss startups lightly! Consider them skeptically, but give them a chance if their story seems plausible.

2 comments:

Sandeep said...

We want more!!

Do you hear me dog whistling??

-Sandeep

Sandeep said...

Oh and in case the "dog whistling" is lost in translation - this is what I meant