Does IC design have a future in cloud computing? What are
the real and perceived obstacles, and how can they be overcome? A Design
Automation Conference panel will
discuss these questions Wednesday, June 16, from 2:00 to 4:00 pm in Anaheim,
Calif. Andreas Kuehlmann, director of Cadence Research Labs, is the panel
computing is not only a hot topic in EDA - it is generating excitement
throughout the software industry. As described in a seminal paper, "Above
the Clouds, a Berkeley View of Cloud Computing," it refers to the
applications delivered as services over the Internet and to the hardware and
systems software in the datacenters that provide those services. The
applications themselves are referred to as Software as a Service
(SaaS). Cloud computing thus promises access to substantial amounts of compute
power as needed, without having to purchase servers or set up an IT
In EDA, Andreas said, cloud computing promises "the
availability of large computing resources on demand. You can allocate resources
close to tapeout and do a lot of processing. This is very appealing to smaller
design houses who do not have the resources." He noted, however, that cloud
computing has a wide range of definitions and that "people have to find out
what it means for EDA."
The EDA industry, in fact, may not quickly embrace what some
would call a "pure" cloud computing/SaaS model. In a recent
presentation James Colgan, CEO of EDA cloud computing pioneer Xuropa, noted that a "pure" SaaS model -
exemplified by Quicken
Online or salesforce.com - may not
be appropriate for EDA, because it requires that applications be rewritten for
SaaS. He suggests a "hybrid SaaS" model that requires no code rewrites. Its
basis is what he calls "Infrastructure as a Service" (IaaS).
Real and perceived
According to the description, the DAC panel will discuss
"the real and perceived hurdles" that currently prevent broad adoption of cloud
computing in IC design. Andreas cited the following as potential points of
EDA business model is not set up for cloud computing and SaaS.
have specialized flows, often including internal tools. A complete
solution in the cloud may be difficult to attain.
computing algorithms and compute infrastructures may not match current EDA
algorithms and flows in general. However, there are particular EDA
problems for which the cloud could offer a valuable resource.
computing providers claim the security issue has been solved, but "some
customers are very uncomfortable about sending design data outside of the
there's a lot of user interaction, latency can be a problem. "You don't
want to wait five seconds for a response to a mouse click."
The panel will be chaired by Raul Camposano, consultant, who
had some exposure to cloud computing as CEO of analog simulation startup
Xoomsys. Panelists include John Chilton (Synopsys), James Colgan, Samuel George
(Cadence), Rean Griffith (U.C. Berkeley), Paul Leventis (Altera), and Deepak
Singh (Amazon). Samuel George works with Hosted Design Solutions
at Cadence. Rean Griffith was a
co-author of the Berkeley paper cited above.
Cloud computing, Andreas said, "could change everything,
from the business model to the way tools interact to the way we do design."
Noting the topic's significance and the knowledge of the panelists, this panel
is high on my priority list for DAC.