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Great Reads (7-18-2013): Intel Milestone, Foundry Dispatches, a New Design Paradigm

Comments(0)Filed under: Cadence, EDA tool vendors, EE Times, Electronic Design Automation, EDA tool companies, EDA tools, EDA, EDA companies, ARM, TSMC, DAC, Design Automation Conference, communications, DAC 2013, electronics, Mentor Graphics, engineers, engineering, design automation, Synopsys, GlobalFoundries, Freescale Semiconductor, computer processor, Samsung, EDN, EDA vendors, electronics design, EAD

What’s going on in the electronics industry this week, the week of July 15? As always, plenty. Here are some things that struck my fancy:

What was Intel’s first name?

July 18 is the 45th anniversary of the founding of semiconductor giant Intel Corp. If you’re of a certain age, you’ll recall that Intel began its life as a random access memory maker and for time dominated the DRAM segments until the Japanese decided to crash the party.

What happened after that is the stuff of legend. (Andy, Bob and Gordon stand at right during a painful wardrobe era).

EDN editor Suzanne Deffree takes a look back at Intel that prompts an interesting question: What was Intel called before it became Intel?

Imagine this

It’s not surprising that ARM Ltd. gets a lot of press. The microprocessor core giant has become one of most innovative semiconductor companies in recent decades by not only creating breakthrough technology but by having a knack for nailing the right applications with that technology.

But what about Imagination? That company, also based in the UK, several years ago acquired MIPS Technologies, an ARM competitor, and we don’t hear much about its plans–until now. Electronics Weekly gives us a glimpse at Imagination’s plans for the MIPS core and its market ambitions.

Would you believe that within several years the company hopes to have 25% of all CPU design starts?


TSMC, of course, is the big dog in the foundry world, but there are plenty of other innovative companies scrambling to gain foundry market share on the Taiwanese giant. These include UMC, Samsung, Intel (both of these are also IDMs), and of course GlobalFoundries.

The situation changes seemingly weekly, and this week, EE Times European Editor Peter Clarke cuts through the clutter with an excellent analysis of the changing foundry landscape, particularly as it affects GlobalFoundries and its possible future IPO.

Broken Model?

Speaking of foundries and the ecosystem, is the IDM model dead?

Ed Sperling, editor of Semiconductor Manufacturing and Design, sat down with four experts from the industry–Michael Buehler-Garcia, director of design solutions marketing at Mentor Graphics; Seow Yin Lim, group director for marketing at Cadence; Kevin Kranen, director of strategic alliances at Synopsys; and Tom Quan, director at TSMC–to get a sense for how the rapidly changing ecosystem from silicon designers to foundries to EDA vendors is changing the very notion of one and IDM is especially as we move to 28 and 20nm nodes.

Our stuff

Cadence recently rolled out a new paradigm in design methodology that speaks to the increasing challenge electronics designers have at the early verification stages–parasitic extraction to be specific. The Virtuoso Layout Suite for Electrically Aware Design (EAD) is designed to give engineers immediate feedback on how a layout feature or change will impact design requirements as they draw the layout, among other things. Richard Goering offers an analysis of what it all means.

Their stuff

What happens when you put one of the most dynamic and engaging persons in EDA together with a smart and entertaining Freescale engineer?

You get a really entertaining video interview, held a stone's throw from this cool food truck at the Austin Convention Center (right).

To wit, Karen Bartleson, director of community marketing at Synopsys, got together with Amol Bhinge, senior verification manager from Freescale, at this year's Design Automation Conference. They talked about the challenges of scaling EDA tools in an era in which every next design seems to be three times larger than the last design, but is staffed with the same amount of engineers.

Is that LED winking at me?

Nazita Saye works for Mentor Graphics in London. She recently was struck by the impact of LED technology in a very unusual place in downtown London. It literally stopped her in her fast-paced tracks as she pondered a question:

How do we manage the trade-off between smart information and smart marketing and Ali need need for privacy? Those are questions that she explores in this blog post.

Tweets of the week


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