The Multiple Phases of EVE

Today, as if hearing the echoes of the early parting of ways, we again see ourselves being challenged – this time for using the Xilinx readback feature that any designer could have used any time for many years. The first attempt to have imports to Japan shut down failed; now it’s moved from the Customs House to the courts. We believe strongly in our position, and we will need to defend ourselves in a manner that doesn’t take away from daily operations.

EDA WEEKLY: Let’s put the legal challenges aside for the moment. What other issues are on EVE’s plate now?

We see nothing but opportunity as technology moves to and beyond the 28-nm node. With so many gates on a chip, simulation becomes impossible as a full functional verification strategy.

Designers will, of course, still simulate to validate their RTL at the block level, but simulation will simply not be able to keep up with the integration of those blocks into complex SoCs.

Formal verification provided by EDA players like Real Intent, Jasper, and Atrenta, will continue their market penetration, albeit not as replacement for functional verification, but as a complementary verification methodology.

Beyond simple hardware verification, a larger and larger share of chip functionality is being carried out by software. And that software needs to be verified. Not just to prove that the software itself is correct, but also to ensure that the software executes properly on the underlying hardware, and that performance is as desired.

If high-level architectural tuning is required – multicore balancing, cache sizes, context swapping churn, bus contention – all critical real-world parameters that are hard to simulate, it will be more and more important that real software be executed on a real implementation of the design while it can still be changed. Discovering a mismatch between software requirements and hardware platform after silicon is in hand is not an option. Emulation – or co-emulation, along with a virtual model on the host – is the only practical way to validate software/hardware interaction prior to silicon.

All of this means that we have a lot of work to do for as far ahead as we can see.

EDA WEEKLY: So what is your prognosis now for EVE, assuming the legal issues facing the Company go away? How does the flight look from here on out?

Well, here we are, at 20,000 feet and climbing. We are far from reaching our cruising altitude, and it’s not really a good idea to unfasten our seatbelts and order that complementary cognac. On the other hand, we’ve survived some significant clear-air turbulence, we’ve tightened up our operation, and visibility is good.

We anticipate an excellent flight for our team, our partners, and our customers.

EDA WEEKLY: Good for you; we wish you success from now on. And congratulations in sticking with the airplane analogy; I have come to really like it!



[1] Footnote:
The first EDA Weekly in the current series was devoted to, “The Role of Business Planning,” appearing initially on November 9, 2009.



Loyal readers of the writer’s earliest efforts to produce EDA WEEKLIES in this series, will recall that when it came time about a year ago to do an article on Altium Limited, the writer still harbored hopes of a trip to Altium corporate headquarters, i.e. to Australia:


In fact, Altium's world headquarters are located on the 'upper north shore' in Belrose, Australia, only 17 miles and 40 minutes by car from the Sydney city center.

In as much as trips by this writer to each company HQ's were part of the necessary activity to score most of the interviews associated with his EDA Weeklies up to that time, (e.g. hot spots like San Jose, Fremont, and Santa Rosa, CA), fantasizing about a sojourn to Sydney certainly seemed in order. Until of course it was mentioned that Sydney was 7,420 air miles from San Francisco (or 14,166 miles through Hawaii and Japan to Australia by sea kayak).

Thereupon the writer re-focused his sights on a visit to Carlsbad, CA, the highly-desirable location of the Altium HQ for North America, and base for one Gerry Gaffney, who was to be one of the writer's main Altium interviewees in any case.

Known for its fine golf courses and seven miles of beaches, Carlsbad is a scenic coastal community located 35 miles north of San Diego (and only 465 miles by car (8 hours) from the writer's Albany CA office). Right on!

Of course the rest of the story is now old news. It turned out that
Gerry Gaffney actually resided in the San Francisco Bay Area and simply commuted to Carlsbad as needed. In fact, Gerry and his family had dwelled for the previous five years in Los Gatos CA, located in the southwestern corner of the SF South Bay:

Naturally, on Interview Day, Gerry was right here in the SF Bay Area. So much for the writer's fantasy of an exotic trip!

Nevertheless, the original interview with Gerry Gaffney went well, as did a separate interview with Bob Potock, who is Director of Technical Marketing for Altium. First appearing on March 01, 2010, the EDA WEEKLY entitled, “Altium Limited – Focus on the Americas” can be still be viewed at this URL:

Besides, at that time, the planned interviews with EVE still lay in the future, so visions of a visit to Palaiseau, France through Paris still danced in the writer’s head:

As we now know, those hopes were also dashed when the San Jose, CA office of EVE became the interview location.

Since then, visions of a trip to an exotic locale for an EDA WEEKLY interview have been thoroughly excised from the writer’s expectations.




Thus it was that when the time came around for the ONE YEAR LATER observance of the original Altium article, the writer was content to remain in the SF Bay Area when Jeff Hardison of McClenahan Bruer Communications (Portland, Oregon) connected the writer to one Alan Smith, associate director of corporate communications of Altium Limited:


Alan Smith


Keeping in mind that this interview occurred some months before its publication here, when Altium's total focus was still devoted to gearing up to launch Altium Designer 10, we begin:

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