What Interested You In 2020


In business you are always told to follow the money, but for us it is more important to follow the readership. If we are not writing what you want to read, then we are missing the mark. I like to review the ones that have garnered the most attention, in part to see if that will influence what I write about for 2021, but also to find out where the industry is looking for the most help. As Sem... » read more

Chinese EDA


If you saw this headline and thought you missed a press release, don't panic. China has not, at this point, announced to the world that it has a suite of EDA tools ready to roll. The rest of the world is content to look at the substandard attempts it have made so far and write them off as not being capable of developing competitive EDA software. But in all likelihood, given the current politica... » read more

Optimizing What Exactly?


You can't optimize something without understanding it. While we inherently understand what this means, we are often too busy implementing something to stop and think about it. Some people may not even be sure what it is that they should be optimizing and that makes it very difficult to know if you have been successful. This was a key message delivered by Professor David Patterson at the Embedde... » read more

Confusion Persists In Verification Terms


I find it amazing that an area of technology that attempts to show, beyond a reasonable doubt, that a design will work before it is constructed can be so bad at getting some basic things right. I am talking about verification terminology. I have been in this industry for over 40 years and it is not improving. In fact, it is getting worse. The number of calls I have with people where they hav... » read more

Engineering Within Constraints


One of the themes of DAC this year was the next phase of machine learning. It is as if CNNs and RNNs officially have migrated from the research community and all that is left now is optimization. The academics need something new. Quite correctly, they have identified power as the biggest problem associated with learning and inferencing today, and a large part of that problem is associated with ... » read more

And The Survey Says…


Some of you may have received an email recently that looks something like this. Others may be getting it in a little while. This is an invitation to participate in a survey that is important for the industry, and I encourage you not to ignore it. Let me explain a little. This survey has quite a long history. It all started in 2002 when Collett International conducted the first survey. Ba... » read more

Constrained Innovation


The semiconductor industry has long been seen as a risk-averse industry and that is probably to be expected. The rapid migration of technology nodes (lots of innovation happening there) produced a rapid expansion in transistor counts that stretched development teams to their limits. Every design had to contain more functionality while dealing with a plethora of new concerns, and be developed by... » read more

The Meaning Of Verification


When I ask the question "Why do we do verification?" there are generally two types of responses. One of them sees the glass as half empty and the other as half full. It depends upon how you look at the problem and if you see verification as being a positive or negative operation. The negative answer is that we do verification to find bugs. This relies on the mechanical function of creating v... » read more

Standard Evolution


I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Lu Dai, chairman of Accellera Systems Initiative and senior director of engineering for Qualcomm. SE: I have noticed a change in the way that Accellera operates these days. In the past, standards were driven by the EDA companies, but recently we have seen a lot more end-user company involvement and they are the companies driving new standards. ... » read more

A New Breed Of Engineer


The industry loves to move in straight lines. Each generation of silicon is more-or-less a linear extrapolation of what came before. There are many reasons for this – products continue to evolve within the industry, adding new or higher performance interfaces, risk levels are lower when the minimum amount is changed for any chip spin, existing software is more likely to run with only minor mo... » read more

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