September 29, 2003
Make New Friends, but Keep The Old
Please note that contributed articles, blog entries, and comments posted on EDACafe.com are the views and opinion of the author and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of the management and staff of Internet Business Systems and its subsidiary web-sites.
Peggy Aycinena - Contributing Editor


by Peggy Aycinena - Contributing Editor
Posted anew every four weeks or so, the EDA WEEKLY delivers to its readers information concerning the latest happenings in the EDA industry, covering vendors, products, finances and new developments. Frequently, feature articles on selected public or private EDA companies are presented. Brought to you by EDACafe.com. If we miss a story or subject that you feel deserves to be included, or you just want to suggest a future topic, please contact us! Questions? Feedback? Click here. Thank you!


“Engineers are by nature very conservative, their motivation is the engineering. When the pain gets large enough, however, they'll change. Part of it is the fear factor - 'Am I too old to be doing this?' But I went through this in the 1980s and that's a bunch of BS. Engineers do sometimes drop out and become implementation engineers, letting the design world pass them by. In the transistor world, for instance, they became library developers because they couldn't think in gates. But today, if you've got a full set of engineers in the flow, those who are doing design and those who are doing implementation, you'll find they'll work in a team.”

“You've got two choices as an engineer today. You can remain at your level and be the implementation engineer - the transistor guy or the library developer. Or you can move up with the design trend to ESL and remain even more important on the project. The question is - are you a designer or do you just want to perfect the implementation?”

“Either way, if you enjoy thinking and growing, you enjoy being an engineer. It's hard work and you have to keep up with a rapidly developing industry. But in fact, there's nothing better than an old engineer working on a design team - they've been there, done that. I like the concept of the long, tall engineer. I've seen studies that say performance increases by 70% over the lifetime of a working engineer. Just look at the ITRS roadmap - you'll see significant improvements in productivity when somebody actually understands the flow.”

“Oh yeah, and don't throw away your old tools. Make new friends, but keep the old.”



Polling the Industry

I sent out an informal poll asking companies to detail the evolution of some/all of their tools and tool suites. Admittedly, this is a difficult question to put forth. My e-mail request said:

“Lots of the readers of EDAToolsCafe wonder whatever happened to some of their old favorite products and companies. Can you tell me which tools you have either [obtained] through acquisition and are still marketing, or which tools your company has re-purposed under a different product name, but are still major contributors to the product portfolio.”

“This is not a thinly veiled attempt to show that old tools are being marketed as new tools. Neither is it a scientific survey. It's more of a qualitative look at tool evolution in the EDA industry. Please deal with it in that spirit.”


I am grateful to the companies who took the time to respond, or more importantly had the courage to respond. The responses are listed in alphabetical order, with the exception of the response I received from Altium, Ltd. Altium's narrative was lengthy and compelling (please look past the embedded marketing message) and told a story indicative of how technology developments are woven into the history and fabric of a company.

1 - Applied Wave Research, Inc.

ACOLADE from I/Q Com Corp. was acquired by Applied Wave Research (AWR) in 2000 and re-launched as Visual System Simulator (VSS)in 2002.

2 - Cadence Design Systems, Inc. The old OrCAD PCB tools that were acquired by Cadence and renamed several different times under the Cadence brand (Orcad PCB, Allegro, etc.). Recently they emerged again under the old OrCAD brand from Cadence, but they are being marketed by a distributor - a unique development.

3 - Fintronic USA, Inc.

Fintronic developed the FinSim line of Verilog simulators and sold the first one in 1993. Also, in mid 1993, Fintronic did a multi-million dollar OEM deal with Intergraph, which marketed the FinSim simulator under the name of Veribest and sold over 1000 licenses to numerous companies including Scientific Atlanta, Hitachi, Xillinx, AMI, etc. The OEM deal was amicably terminated in 1999, and Fintronic continued to develop and market the FinSim simulators, as well as to offer maintenance to all the owners of Veribest simulators.

4 - Icinergy Software Co.

Icinergy reports no acquisitions to date, but the company did recently repackage their products, so that what was SOCarchitect is now known as SoC Prototype.

5 - Mentor Graphics Corp. Innoveda was acquired by Mentor Graphics and is now part of the Mentor Graphics Systems Design Division. Innoveda resulted from the previous merger of ViewLogic, PADS and HyperLynx. Mentor Graphics continues to invest in the PADS product line, the market standard for Windows-based complex PCB design. The latest version, PADS Suites provide complete, front-to-back, PCB system design flows in three configurations; PADS PE, PADS XE, and PADS SE, with increasing functionality to support a variety of design needs from individuals to small teams. Another former Innoveda tool, HyperLynx, which is a powerful and easy-to-implement PCB tool suite for pre- and post-layout signal integrity (SI) simulation and analysis, is part of Mentor's high-speed PCB design solutions. The latest version, HyperLynx 7.0, is available in two versions, the HyperLynx EXT tool for mainstream designs with clock frequencies under 500 MHz, and the HyperLynx GHz tool for multi-gigabit designs.

Accelerated Technology is now part of the Mentor Graphics Embedded Software Division. Mentor Graphics continues to market the Nucleus Real Time Operating System and the Code/Lab Developer Suite. The Accelerated Technology products were merged with the Mentor Graphics embedded software tools that included the VRTX Real Time Operating System, the XRAY Debugger, and the Microtec Compilers.

IKOS Systems is now part of the Mentor Graphics Emulation Division. Mentor Graphics continues to sell and market the VStation emulation system family. The latest version was a 30-million gate capacity emulator.

6 - Sequence Design, Inc.

Sente's Watt Watcher technology is currently part of Sequence's PowerTheater.

Sapphire's FormIT and FixIT, as well as Frequency's Copernicus, are part of Sequence's PhysicalStudio tool for the concurrent optimization of timing, power, noise and voltage-drop.

Frequency's Columbus is still Sequence's Columbus solution for the extraction of capacitance, resistance and inductance.

7 - Synopsys, Inc.

Following are samples of specific products acquired through acquisitions [over] the past two years.

Through the Avanti acquisition, Synopsys [obtaied] Milkyway (design database), Astro, Apollo, JupiterXT, Star-RCXT. All continue to be marketed under the same name. HSPICE was also acquired from Avanti and continues to be marketed and sold. It is now part of the new Discovery AMS solution that was announced on Monday.

Through the InnoLogic acquisition Synopsys gained its ESP products, ESP-BV, ESP-CV, ESP-LV, which are functional equivalence checking tools for memory designs. They continue to be marketed and sold under the same name.

Through the Numerical Technologies acquisition, Synopsys acquired CATS and i-Virtual Stepper. Both products are sold and marketed under the same name.

Through the InSilicon Corp. acquisition, the following IP cores are still marketed and sold under the same name: PCI Express, PCI-X, PCI, USB 2.0 Full Speed On-The-Go, USB 2.0 PHY, USB 2.0, USB 1.1, 10/100 Ethernet, Gigabit Ethernet, IEEE 1394, JPEG2000, JPEG, Java Accelerator.

8 - Verisity Design, Inc.

Verisity acquired SureFire Verification in 1999. The main tool we got from that acquisition is SureCov, which the company is still marketing and selling.

9 - Altium Ltd.

Acquisitions have been intrinsic to Altium's strategy and provided the primary motivation for the company's decision to go public in 1999. To date, the value of these investments has totaled nearly US$100M. The focus has been to acquire technology (and the people behind it whenever possible) in order to complement our internal development efforts. Principle acquisitions have been around the PCB, FPGA and embedded design space, as well as IP. The goal is to assemble a complete, integrated design platform consisting of high-quality technology that is accessible to mainstream engineers.

Altium's business and development models have been engineered to support the acquisition process. This has allowed us to quickly and profitably integrate new companies and technologies into our environment with minimal risk or disruption. We've learned that it's vital to quickly transfer the acquired core technologies into our development stream for delivery to customers. Ownership of technology, as opposed to licensing/OEM agreements, is an important element in our acquisition strategy as it safeguards our ongoing ability to package, deliver and upgrade our products at reasonable cost.

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-- Peggy Aycinena, EDACafe.com Contributing Editor.


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