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The Real Numbers: Redefining NRE


Developing ICs at the most advanced nodes is getting more expensive, but exactly how much more expensive is the subject of debate across the semiconductor industry. There are a number of reasons for this discrepancy. Among them: As design flows shift from serial to parallel, it's hard to determine which groups within companies should be saddled with different portions of the bill. The re... » read more

Which Group Should Create System Models?


One of the factors affecting adoption of a system-level flow is identifying who will do the work to create the system model. For most organizations it's not something they have allocated to a specific group. Generally when an ESL flow is deployed, the software developers, architects and hardware designers will all benefit from the investment, so it would be reasonable that they all contribut... » read more

Opening Salvo At DAC


As always, DAC starts with a view of the state of the industry from Gary Smith and this year, Smith's view was a little different from previous years. For DAC 51, Smith no longer spoke of ESL as being the key to the future. In fact, he conceded that he may have been off a few years or a couple of decades on that one, but in the end he was right. This year his main message seemed to be that k... » read more

Confessions Of An ESL-Aholic


At DAC 1997 – 17 years ago – Gary Smith coined the term “Electronic System-Level” (ESL) design. Around the same time I entered EDA when becoming part of Cadence and became very involved in ESL. Things have changed over the last 17 years quite a bit. While some of the predictions did not come true, others definitely did. Over the last couple of years the tools to be counted as part of sy... » read more

Vista Virtual Prototyping


Vista Virtual Prototyping provides an early, abstract functional model of the hardware to software engineers even before the hardware design is implemented in RTL. It can run software on embedded processor models at speeds par with board support packages, providing sufficiently fast simulation models for OS and application software validation. The Vista Virtual Prototyping solution has two dist... » read more

A Different Kind Of Sales Job


For years EDA companies have been pitching the benefits of ESL tools and high-level modeling, and for just as many years chipmakers have been throwing that idea back at tools vendors saying it’s too expensive to retool. Talks between the two have waffled between polite bickering and contentious negotiations. Chipmakers have approached these “talks” from the stronger bargaining position... » read more

Plans Vs. Planning


The end of the year is a good time to look back at what’s happened over the past year, and look ahead to what might happen in the coming one. Two quotes that help my thought process when thinking about the might be coming, “Change is the law of life.” from Kennedy, and “Plans are nothing, but planning is indispensable” from Eisenhower. From my perspective, 2013 has been a good year... » read more

Vista Virtual Prototyping


Vista Virtual Prototyping provides an early, abstract functional model of the hardware to software engineers even before the hardware design is implemented in RTL. It can run software on embedded processor models at speeds par with board support packages, providing sufficiently fast simulation models for OS and application software validation. The Vista Virtual Prototyping solution has two dist... » read more

The Rest Is History


I recently fielded some questions on the evolution of Electronic System Level design. The questions started me thinking about how ESL is being applied today and what effect some of the historical assumptions might be having on ESL’s perceived use cases. It’s interesting that we are at a point to consider historical assumptions about ESL. Looking it up, Wikipedia claims that the term ESL ... » read more

Simple Economics


By Jon McDonald I was watching one of the MIT OpenCourseWare videos the other day. It was one of the lectures on Computer Science. I believe it was Prof. Robert Gallager who made a statement that really got me thinking: “Increasingly, system computational complexity has little impact on cost because of chip technology.” From a hardware perspective I initially had a bit of trouble with t... » read more

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