Week In Review: Design, Low Power

Soitec buys IP firm, MBDA; AI architectures debut at Hot Chips; Synopsys results.


Wafer company Soitec and European missile manufacturer MBDA joined together to buy the assets of Dolphin Integration. The IP and EDA tool provider, founded in 1985 in Grenoble, France, has been struggling, recently concluding insolvency proceedings and going into receivership. The new joint venture will absorb Dolphin’s 155 employees and be owned 60% by Soitec, 40% by MBDA. The two companies committed to a financial investment of around 6 million Euros (about $6.9m) in the acquisition, which includes payment of certain liabilities and a cash injection to working capital requirements.

Soitec CEO Paul Boudre sees the acquisition as an “opportunity for Soitec to reinforce a full IP and service offering related to energy efficient solutions for chip design on FD-SOI,” a major product line for the wafer maker. As for the missile company, MBDA has been a customer of Dolphin since 2004 and says its support will lead to a “more stable flow of defense related revenues and a closer technological collaboration” with the European defense industry.

Several chipmakers unfurled new architectures at the Hot Chips 30 conference. Arm showed off its first machine learning processor architecture, based on an open-source stack, with 16 compute engines segmented by function. Fujitsu rolled out the specs for a new a high-performance CPU based on the Arm v8-A processor, utilizing its own microarchitecture for high-performance computing and AI. Nvidia rolled out a deep learning accelerator, which was developed as part of its Xavier platform, that is optimized for convolutional neural networks. And Intel took the covers off its new Intel Xeon, a scalable processor code-named Cascade Lake.

Synopsys reported third quarter 2018 financial results with revenue of $779.7 million, up 12.1% from the same quarter last year. On a GAAP basis, earnings for the quarter were $0.52 per share, down 30.7% from $0.75 per share (this includes a $26 million charge related to the settlement of Mentor Graphics patent litigation). Non-GAAP Q3 2018 earnings were $0.95 per share, up 3.3% from $0.92 per share in Q3 2017. The company raised revenue and non-GAAP earnings guidance for the year, and expects a record year for IP.

IP Cores updated its true random number generator IP core, TRNG1, with features to simplify the FIPS-140 certification of a user’s system.

Crossing the Chasm: Building a Startup to a Successful Exit: Sept. 13, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m., at SEMI in Milpitas, CA. Jim Hogan of Vista Ventures and Amit Gupta, co-founder of Solido Design Automation, will discuss the experience of growing Solido from an EDA startup through its acquisition by Mentor, a Siemens Business, in 2017.

Electronic Design Process Symposium (EDPS): Sept. 13-14 at SEMI in Milpitas, CA. The meeting will discuss design methodologies, design flows and CAD tool needs. Focus areas include machine learning, smart manufacturing, reliability, and cybersecurity.

Arm TechCon: Oct. 16-18 in San Jose, CA. The Arm-centric conference and expo will feature keynotes by senior Arm executives as well as best-practices for implementing Arm IP in a range of designs, including IoT and automotive. The company has also teased an expanded roadmap for future products to be released at the show.

Ed Sperling contributed to this report.

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