November 17, 2008
The Best of Times, The Worst of Time: Part 2
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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 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!

Now well connected to Silicon Valley industry and investment partners, the UCSC faculty can brag on a wide range of research initiatives, including work in nonvolatile data storage, secure online collaborate content aggregation, nanopipettes and cell-sifter technologies for those inclined toward the biological, and exploration of various human/computer interface problems. The entire program at UCSC is impressive – and growing. With over 700 students, and a fully functional remote campus at NASA Ames in Mountain View, look for lots of innovation and leadership to come from the Baskin School of Engineering at Santa Cruz going forward.

By the way, the morning keynote was delivered by Prith Banerjee, Senior VP and Director of the worldwide HP Labs. He gave a rousing speech connecting the spirit of the mid-20th century Bell Labs with the scope of interests and investments driving today’s HP Labs. Unfortunately for Dr. Banerjee, none of the 2008 inaugural research awards – upwards of $3 million handed out by HP to a gaggle of global institutions in industry and academia to help drive innovation in 23 (!!) different areas of technology – managed to land in the hands of any of the researchers at UCSC, many of whom were in the audience for Dr. Banerjee’s address. I suspect before he comes back next year for UCSC’s 2009 Research Review Day, Banerjee will be sure his awards committee looks more carefully at the quality of the work being done at UCSC, and the proximity of the campus to the HP Mother Ship.

* Test Week and ITC from October 26th to 31st – Test is a special neighborhood in EDA. For many years, it was a cul-de-sac where mainline players in EDA rarely stopped off. These days, however, all of that has changed. Now, thanks to the great difficulties in getting things manufactured accurately, and accomplishing big yield despite small geometries, it turns out a lot of the solutions to design-for-manufacturability rest in the cul-de-sac of design-for-test.

Hence, despite the downturn and gloomy predictions of yet another Armageddon in the tech sector, and Silicon Valley in particular, this year’s International Test Conference seemed to me to be very well attended. The exhibit hall was lively and the opening keynote on Tuesday, October 27th, had many hundreds of people in attendance at the Santa Clara Convention Center; Cisco VP Mike Lydon’s talk offered a comprehensive review of the relationship of test to successful silicon.

Afterwards, I had a chance to speak with ITC Program Committee member, Freescale’s Carol Pyron, as folks were milling about in the ballroom after the close of the plenary session . She emphasized that “test is not a cul-de-sac anymore! Test touches all parts of the process, and it always has. People just recognize it these days more than ever before.”

Pyron added that despite the current economy, “Companies absolutely have to invest in a down market if they hope to be ready for the next uptick. You have to tighten the bolts, and push the technology because the uptick always arrives!”

I also saw Tets Maniwa, long-time EDA observer, at ITC. With regards to the Cisco keynote, he said: “It’s interesting to see they’re mentioning power more and more here at ITC. Way back in the dark ages, I wrote an editorial suggesting that the problems in test would escalate as problems in power increased. Now I see that situation is being fully recognized here at ITC. There are some solutions being looked at right now, but none really exist as yet. That’s certainly a market opportunity that continues to exist for those who can take advantage of it.”

[ Editor’s note: Tets Maniwa provides coverage of the Cisco keynote , and the October 29th ITC invited talk given by U.C. Berkeley’s Jan Rabaey in EDA Confidential ]

* Phil Kaufman Award Dinner on October 29 – Sponsored by EDAC, CEDA, and White & Lee LLP, and managed by Marketing on Demand, the annual Kaufman Award Dinner was as civilized and sophisticated as one would expect for a dinner honoring Synopsys CEO Aart de Geus. The several hundred people in attendance were welcomed by EDAC Chair Wally Rhines of Mentor Graphics fame, and CEDA Chair John Darringer of IBM fame. Both men warmly congratulated de Geus for his decades of accomplishment, while U.C. Berkeley’s Kurt Keutzer gave the main address, outlining in detail the story behind the technology and the people that have put Synopsys and Aart de Geus on the map.

A video testimonial to de Geus’ contributions followed Keutzer’s comments, and included congratulations from U.C. Berkeley’s Alberto Sangiovanni-Vincentelli, Synopsys Fellow Brent Gregory, Synopsys Board Member Bruce Chizen, Silicon Valley Leadership Group CEO Carl Guardino, Synopsys President Chi-Foon Chan, Applied Materials Board Chair Jim Morgan, Synopsys Senior VP Deirdre Hanford, Synopsys VP Rich Goldman, The Center for Corporate Innovation’s Sanjay Vaswani, and former San Jose Mayor Susan Hammer. Credited for his commitment to local education. through the Synopsys-sponsored Silicon Valley Science & Technology Championship, and local culture through his leadership of the San Jose Jazz Festival, Aart de Geus was described repeatedly throughout the evening as a Renaissance Man.

When Dr. de Geus finally took the podium to express his appreciation for the evening’s commendations, he started by thanking his family with great emotion – they were seated prominently at the head table – and all those who have contributed to his career. He made special mention of his long friendship with Chi-Foon Chan. Per de Geus, Chi-Foon and Aart are twin brothers, separated at birth, and coincidentally brought back together to successfully share in leading Synopsys to its current ranking in the EDA market.

Just in case anyone doubted that ranking in the market, Dr. Keutzer began his remarks with a simple bar chart. As of October 29th, the day of the Kaufman dinner, the market capitalization for Synopsys was greater than that of Cadence, Mentor Graphics, and Magma combined. For some reason, that particular bit of market data seemed wildly amusing to Keutzer‘s audience.

By the way, the evening also included a Film Noir moment, ala Citizen Kane, that included cameo appearances from Wally Rhines, Ed Chang, Ed Sperling, and John Blyler. Seeing Rhines channeling Warren Muffet (sic) remembering Phil Kaufman was worth the price of admission, as were the reminiscences of Ed Cheng enjoying his golden years by reflecting on VLSI technology, synthesis, and layout. I’m pretty sure Orson Wells would have loved it.

* ICCAD from November 9th to 13th – A longtime lynchpin of the autumn tech conference cycle in Silicon Valley, the IEEE International Conference on Computer Aided Design was again the destination for the EDA industry this past week in San Jose. As mentioned above, there were hundreds in the DoubleTree Hotel attending sessions, panels, keynotes, and observing/participating in the annual CADathlon grad student design competition.

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-- Peggy Aycinena, Contributing Editor.


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