A typical week in EDA. Speculations about IBM, another Synopsys acquisition, Google continues to diversify, TI gets more modern, Verific does what small companies are supposed to do, that is support standards, and Chip Design covers wearable technology. But it is IBM and Google that add spice to the news this week, or at least rumors about them.
As the first Italian immigrants came mostly from Southern Italy, Americans' idea of Italian cooking tends toward southern Italian cuisine. But Italian cuisine is as varied as its regions, and there are 20 of them. In the north, where I come from, we do not use as much tomatoes and so our sauces are not always red.
Reviews of and opinions on what I think are the most interesting stories of this week.
Recently I had an exchange with a few Synopsys' executives about what they foresee for 2014. What follows is their input.
Michael Sanie, Senior Director, Verification Marketing, Synopsys
That John Cooley built his blogger reputation by promoting himself as the White Knight representing users against the oppressor Synopsys is well known. But that John Cooley easily navigated legal issues was a well kept secret until October 25, 2013. Reading his latest "scoop" against Synopsys I was surprised by the amount of legal insight that John displays, and how quickly he can reach the conclusion that the matter is resolved against Synopsys and in favor of Atoptech on 8 of the 9 claims made by Synopsys against Atoptech. If you have not read the piece you can find it here.
EDAC is sponsoring an event at the Computer History Museum to celebrate five decades of EDA. As I wrote previously, I only have 43 years in EDA and, in fact, when I started in 1968 it was called Computer Aided Design (CAD). For the purists, like myself, the technology became EDA with the introduction of commercial logic synthesis tools. For me there is a difference between using computers to aid in the design process and having computer programs perform functions based on algorithms as a substitute for human skills. But let's not look for precise semantics.
There are probably a few old timers like me who remember the Data Center. It was a physical place one went in order to use powerful computers the company either could not afford or did not want to purchase. Control Data Corporation made the data center famous with its line of CDC 6XXX computers used mostly for engineering and scientific applications. A data center near the Los Angeles airport was my second home during 1968 to 1972 while working as a consultant.
Daniel Nenni has started a conversation on his creation Semiwiki with the provocative title: "Are 28 nm Transistors the Cheapest...Forever?" (http://bit.ly/16HR8D7)
It appears that after (thanks EDAC) having addressed only technology issues for fifty years, the industry is finally realizing that we are all in this in order to make a profit. Daniel deals almost exclusively with fabrication costs, but I think that there is a significant, and growing, body of evidence to show that development costs also justify his conclusion.
The Cambridge Centre for Gallium Nitrate says that GaN " is probably the most important semiconductor material since silicon. It can be used to emit brilliant light in the form of light emitting diodes (LEDs) and laser diodes, as well as being the key material for next generation high frequency, high power transistors capable of operating at high temperatures."
I have been lucky to be able to take a relative long vacation on the high seas and in Italy to recharge the batteries and celebrate my retirement. The time was very enjoyable, but the retirement is not lasting. There is only so much golf one can play, and so much metaphysics one can study. So I started to look at EDA and semiconductors industries again because this is what I love to do. And what I found, having stepped back for almost half a year, may surprise a few.