Tuesday, March 24, 2009

EDA Industry Update

Sramana Mitra posts her latest financial analysis of the leading EDA vendors at EDA Industry Update.

Some reactions to her points:

  • Synopsys is king of the hill. Yes, obviously.
  • Cadence should acquire Magma. I could see this happening. That's the kind of thing Cadence has done in the past, and Magma is getting small.
  • Bring back Joe Costello. It would certainly energize the industry, but I doubt he'd want to, or that he could fix things alone.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Synopsys Lynx, a New Old Product

I'm at SNUG this week. I'll try to post more of a trip report after the fact. Aart's keynote speech yesterday was very listenable, as always. But I didn't feel there were a lot of major announcements or new insights.

One of the new announcements was a surprise to me: a flow management system called "Lynx". There's no way I can describe it better than harry … the ASIC guy � Synopsys Lynx Design System Debuts at SNUG.

I'm curious to learn more about it -- there's a SNUG session on it tomorrow. I'm a sucker for a pretty GUI, and I love automation. But I wonder how much business opportunity there is for this -- what is the target customer, and what is the value to them? Many large companies may already have something in place. But for a company just starting up a flow, this could be a quick start to "best practices" results.

Just don't call it a Framework!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Real-Time SNUG Tweets

Woz Dances to a Different Beat

Most all of you must be familiar with Steve Wozniak (personal site, Wikipedia article), legendary personal computer designer and Apple Computer co-founder. "Woz" has long been one of my hardware-design idols, alongside geniuses such as Seymour Cray (R.I.P.).

I've followed Woz's trajectory for a long time. I've seen him speak a couple of times, including as a featured guest at the Synopsys Users Group conference a couple of years ago. As a hardware engineer, you can't help but love Woz. He is truly a gifted designer, and his enthusiasm and passion are clear and sincere.

As Apple co-founder, he's a pretty wealthy guy, which gives him the luxury of pursuing whatever wild idea strikes his fancy. He's had a couple of brushes with pop culture (dating an actress/comedianne), but came out in a big way last week with an appearance on Dancing With the Stars.

You can see his debut here Wow! Woz continues to command my respect as a passionate engineer with absolutely no pretense. I can't help but laugh and wonder if this is the best "15 minutes of fame" moment for an electrical engineer, though. Rolling in on a Segway? Pink Boa? Ah, Woz, you really don't care what others think, do you? I love and respect you for that.

Tonight is his second appearance on DWTS. Hopefully it won't be his last. Check him out. And, in solidarity with our engineering brethren everywhere, give him your support. It would be sweet if some hackers got into the phone system and pumped up the votes for his performance. [the roots of Woz's technology wizardry began with "phreaking" phone systems to get free long-distance phone calls!]

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

SNUG is Coming to San Jose

It's that time of year for my favorite industry conference, SNUG: Synopsys Users Group - San Jose. I'm on the Technical Committee, so I might be biased. I hope to see you there!

At a glance:

SNUG San Jose 2009
March 16 - 18, 2009 

Location: Santa Clara Convention Center 
5001 Great America Parkway
Santa Clara, CA 95054

Here's the schedule. Contact your Synopsys support person or sign up online.

Cost-Reducing IEEE

Two years ago, in better economic times, I wrote a post Wondering about the IEEE, questioning whether being an IEEE member worth the US$140 dues.

Now, of course, the economy is in worse shape, my company is cost-reducing with a vengence, and IEEE membership is up to $169 (a 20% increase by my calculator). To put it politely, what is the IEEE thinking? It's like some government bureacracy run amok, growing on auto-pilot.

All of the concerns about benefits vs. cost, and the unease of not having a home for ASIC design and EDA, still exist. Now the cost has risen much faster than inflation and money is tighter. Time for us to part ways, until "some sunny day". (cue Vera Lynn/Pink Floyd)

Monday, March 02, 2009

Twittering Away EDA

Twitter mania is running wild! (I reserve judgement on whether this is a good thing.) In the early days, Twitter was only a factor in events like the MacWorld keynote, when so many geeks would be riffing on Steve Jobs' speech, it would crash Twitter's servers.

Now, I hear Twitter mentioned on MSNBC every five minutes (weird). And last week, Twitter came to an EDA conference. JL Gray and like-minded attendees "tweeted" their impressions of DVCon in real-time. JL followed up the conference with a recap via that "old-school" platform, blogging: Cool Verification: DVCon 2009 Wrap Up: Attendance.

I followed the DVCon tweet stream from time to time, but I felt you really had to be there. I didn't "get" many of the references, though it sometimes left me wishing for a live webcast to see what the excitement was about. Personally, I think Twitter is too hyped-up. Maybe, when most everyone is carrying a cell phone or MID with low-cost unlimited data access, it will create new ways of interacting and experiencing conferences. But for now, it is something to be figured out by early adopters.