15th November 2006

Platform innovation will drive EDA

An interesting take on the EDA industry evolution and look into the trend by Leon Stok, director of EDA for IBM’s Systems and Technology Group in a keynote address at the International Conference on Computer Aided Design (ICCAD).

Stok identified three previous innovation eras in the EDA industry — those of invention, implementation, and integration. The fourth era, he said, is the one we’re about to enter and is centered on design implementation “platforms”. To make platform innovation happen, Stok said, we will need to define standards as APIs, not ASCII formats. This will allow tools to talk to each other, instead of producing data that another tool can barely read, he noted.

With APIs, smaller companies with innovative potential solutions for the UDSM technology challenges will have a more level playing field. Each can plug in their solutions and then let the market forces decide. It will also pave the way for the bigger players as they too can focus on the overall user flow with a market decided mix of their own in-house tools or point tools from other companies.

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15th November 2006

Designers give CAD research gurus an earful

The organizers of ICCAD (International Conference on Computer Aided Design) decided to do something different and added a designer’s perspective track this year.

“Our goal is to bridge the gap between practitioners and research,” said ICCAD general chair Soha Hassoun, an associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science at Tufts University (Medford, Mass.), in opening remarks at the conference. “We would like them [designers] to tell you [researchers] what critical issues should drive CAD research in the next few years.”

Now, I would term this as going back to basics. The users tell their requirements to the researchers which in turn guides the researchers towards the right direction in terms of practical benefits and usage of their efforts – optimal Lab to Fab transition.

Another tenet emphasized was by STMicroelectronics’ Pascal Urard: “We need academia and the EDA community to think at the flow level, not only at the tool level”.

It is apt to remind the EDA community that they should enable the end user with his final flow and not only the point tools. It’s true that tools provide the differentiating edge amongst the EDA vendors and users should have the flexibility of picking up the ones which best suit his flow.

However, to justify the “Automation” in “EDA”, it pays to facilitate the flow.

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