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John Bruggeman Q and A: Explaining The EDA360 Vision

Comments(4)Filed under: Industry Insights, SoC, Bruggeman, system, integrators, EDA360, creators, vision paper, apps, application

In this interview John Bruggeman, chief marketing officer at Cadence, answers questions about EDA360 and its potential impact on the electronics industry. He identifies key takeaways from the EDA360 vision paper and discusses the motivations and market conditions that are leading to this new approach to electronic design.

Q: Cadence has done something very unusual - it has released a visionary document that looks at broad trends in the electronics industry and then outlines a new approach to EDA to respond to these challenges. Why?

A: We are undergoing a disruptive transformation in which semiconductor companies must provide more than just hardware. They now have to provide some or all of the software stack in order to build application-ready platforms. At the same time, they're anticipating potential $100 million SoC [system on chip] development costs. In this environment, the problems our customers are facing are significant, and working together to solve those problems will have a huge impact. With the vision paper, we're making a call to the industry to address these challenges.

Q: What key takeaways do you hope people will come away with from the vision paper?

A: We want readers to understand the transformation. Systems companies are now achieving their differentiation and their value from offering the latest, greatest applications, or "apps." They are demanding that their semiconductor suppliers build integrated hardware/software platforms ready for applications development. This is true not just with cell phones, but everywhere. This leads us to three important points.

First, the EDA and semiconductor industries have until now focused on design creation. With $100 million development costs on the horizon, there will be far fewer creators. Many designers will become integrators who make heavy use of pre-designed IP [intellectual property] to build SoCs and systems. EDA tools so far have only addressed creators, and this must change.

Second, EDA until now has primarily focused on helping creators overcome the productivity gap. This work must continue, but what integrators are most concerned about is a profitability gap. Closing this gap requires new tools and approaches that can reduce design costs and bring in more revenue.

Third, design going forward will be driven by apps. People will start with the applications and then build, or source, highly optimized hardware/software platforms. The traditional approach, in which hardware is built first and software and applications are tacked on later, has become too inefficient and costly. Thus traditional design tools and methodologies must evolve, and EDA360 will accomplish that.

Q: People have been talking about top-down, system-level design forever. What's new today?

A: A couple of things. One is the economy. We think we have stripped out the inefficiencies in the supply chain, but we haven't - we just pushed the problem down. The second thing is the iPhone. Expectations about apps are fundamentally different than they were five years ago. I recently bought a barbeque and there are apps on the barbeque!

Three years ago a "smart phone" had email, a calendar, and voice. That's all. What was the imperative to do system-level design? Some smart guy at Berkeley may have thought it was a cool model, but there was no business imperative. Now we have a business imperative. On the upside, the apps drive the revenue and the differentiation. On the downside, there's the design cost.

While I used the iPhone as an example, I want to clarify that I'm not just talking about phones or consumer electronics. Apps are in anything that uses a processor. At Wind River I worked with a commercial airplane that had 400 apps. How do you design a control system that makes them all work in a safe and reliable way? Those apps are critical, and approaches used until now are hard, costly and inefficient.

Q: Both EDA and embedded software companies have had a hard time realizing value for their technology. Will EDA360 help?

A: I think so. Look at it this way. Today, a semiconductor company creates IP for $1, and then spends $3 integrating it. With EDA360 the idea is that you will spend only $2 to create and integrate IP. Now the total cost to the semiconductor company is $2 rather than $4. The question is whether the EDA vendor can articulate enough value to claim some of that savings. Everybody should win in this equation.

Q: Who is going to provide and support EDA360 solutions?

A: No one company can do this alone. It's going to be solved by a community of companies that step up to solve this problem together. This includes EDA companies, processor companies, IP companies, OS companies, foundries.

Cadence will become a leading EDA360 company. I hope and expect that my competitors - the traditional EDA players - will see the light and become EDA360 companies as well.

Q: What is Cadence doing today to support EDA360?

A: We just announced a collaboration with Wind River and we announced the Cadence Verification Computing Platform, called Palladium XP. These announcements fit into the EDA360 System Realization vision. In coming weeks and months we will make more announcements.

Q: Does existing EDA technology fit into EDA360?

A: Absolutely. EDA360 is a broader view of what EDA should be. Without the traditional technology we built as a foundation, we wouldn't have a leg to stand on. And EDA360 needs to be tightly integrated with what we had before. All of the design, verification, and implementation work we did needs to be very tightly tied to System Realization, SoC Realization, and Silicon Realization, because without design, verification, and implementation, you can't realize the final product.

Q: The EDA360 vision paper talks a lot about integrators. Will EDA360 still serve creators?

A: Yes! The creator's job is getting harder, and EDA360 must continue to serve the creators. In many projects there are both creation and integration elements. EDA360 has to serve both.

Q: How will EDA360 change the electronics industry?

A: It will truly enable electronics to become what it can be. There is a mass of potential today, and people are just starting to scratch the surface. As more and more people think from an applications-driven, top-down point of view, the world of possibilities is immense.

Richard Goering

 

Comments(4)

By Sean Murphy on April 29, 2010
One of the things that Lip Bu Tan stressed at the EDA CEO dinner earlier this year was how much he had been out listening to customers and incorporating their feedback into Cadence strategy. What I am puzzled by in this interview is no mention of any customers by Bruggeman. Which Cadence customers are driving this vision? Can we hear more from them and less "marketing vision"?

By rgoering on April 29, 2010
Sean -- EDA360 is a high-level vision for the EDA industry, not a Cadence product roadmap. It is based on the challenges that customers are experiencing. The first step was to put the vision out there and to provoke some thought and discussion. Over time we expect to have considerable feedback, as well as customer experience with the first steps Cadence takes towards EDA360. We will present as much of that as we can.

By Larry Johnson on April 30, 2010
I do NOT agree with you.  If you want to integrate WR OS with Cadence design, I don't care.
Just admit it.  If you want silicon houses to be able to hide their SW IP, so what (many companies will fight that from SW QC aspect).  TI wanted to put a DSP in everything, we see how far that has gotten.   The industry wanted to get rid of real design engg in the 80's, new engg have to get a calulator to add 2+2.

By Richard Goering on April 30, 2010
Larry -- the IP stack concept described in the vision paper is not about "hiding" software IP; it is about providing bare metal software IP that SoC integrators would otherwise have to develop or source on their own. As for OS integration,  many systems houses are demanding HW/SW platforms with software stacks including the OS. Somebody has to integrate the SW with the HW, and EDA360 will help do that.

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