Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Moore's Law for EDA?

Thank you, EDA vendors! From Semiconductor input costs vs output prices -- managing the squeeze:
SURPRISE: EDA cost per transistor is coming down the same learning curve as all the other input costs like materials, chemicals, labor, etc. (above) and it has been doing so throughout semiconductor history.

What is Wally Rhines' prescription for increased EDA value-add (and profits)? EDA vendors

... must incorporate the embedded software development and system analysis costs into their design tools and flows. To the extent this is accomplished, there isn’t a cost problem and the 30%+ per year per transistor cost reduction can be achieved. That’s why EDA companies first became involved in embedded software in the mid 1990’s. That involvement will grow as EDA companies take on more responsibility for the total design challenge and its costs. It’s just part of the evolution of roles in the semiconductor industry. (Walden C. Rhines is chairman & CEO, Mentor Graphics Corporation.)

Although in the short term there are still plenty of us fighting it out for nanometer-scale timing (and now power) closure, the focus on software and systems is plausible for the long term. We must find quantum leaps in productivity to take advantage of Moore's law in semiconductors.

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