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Video: Cadence Founder Jim Solomon on Company History, and What EDA Needs Today

Comments(1)Filed under: EDA, Industry Insights, Analog, Custom IC, National Semiconductor, Cadence, Costello, Analog Artist, Sangiovanni-Vincentelli, EDA history, 25th anniversary, SDA Systems, ECAD, framework, SDA, Alberto, Cadence founder, Jim Solomon, Solomon, Richard Newton, Analog Division

Although we're celebrating the 25th anniversary of Cadence this year (2013), the origins of Cadence go back to the early 1980s, with the beginnings of the two companies that merged to form Cadence in 1988—SDA Systems and ECAD. Jim Solomon, a veteran analog designer who launched SDA Systems in 1983, was a key part of that history. After the merger, Solomon ran the Cadence Analog Division, a startup-within-a-company that laid the groundwork for the market-leading custom/analog IC design tools that Cadence offers today.

In the following three video clips, Solomon discusses SDA Systems, the merger with ECAD, the Cadence Analog Division, and what the EDA industry needs today.

How SDA Systems got started

Solomon had a distinguished career long before Cadence. In the following video clip, Solomon talks about a landmark 1974 paper he wrote on monolithic op amp theory. He then talks about how SDA Systems got started with help from two University of California at Berkeley professors: Alberto Sangiovanni-Vincentelli (see video interview here) and Richard Newton. SDA Systems also attracted funding from four semiconductor companies, including Solomon's former employer, National Semiconductor.

Click on the icon below to view video or click here.

Why SDA Systems merged with ECAD

So what led SDA Systems to merge with ECAD? Some of it had to do with bad timing—SDA Systems had planned to go public on the day of the stock market crash in 1987. SDA pulled back its IPO and merged with ECAD, which had already gone public, the following year. In this video, Solomon tells how all that happened, and also comments on the "framework" concept developed by SDA Systems.

Click on the icon below to view video or click here.

The Cadence Analog Division, and EDA challenges today

When Cadence was formed in 1988, Joe Costello (the president of SDA Systems) became CEO of the combined company. Solomon went back to technology development and headed up the Cadence Analog Division, which functioned much like an independent company. The division pioneered an integrated suite of analog IC design tools linked by a common database.

In this video clip, Solomon also comments on what he feels is lacking in the EDA industry today—and what is most needed. Hint: He's not just talking about better tools and technologies.

Click on the icon below to view video or click here.

—Richard Goering

Other 25th anniversary blog posts

Video: Alberto Sangiovanni-Vincentelli on Founding Cadence, and the Next 25 Years of EDA

25th Anniversary: Hogan on EDA History and Three Little Words

EDA in the 1980s—the "Dazzling Decade" of Electronic Design Automation

25 Years of Innovation at Cadence—25 Key Milestones

25 Years of Innovation: Then, Now, and the Road Ahead

 

Comments(1)

By Janet Schaper on October 26, 2013
So wonderful to hear Jim Solomon talk about SDA, Cadence and the EDA industry.  I remember those days fondly, joining Cadence right after the merger, and going to work for Jim in the Analog Division.  Jim, you are the bomb and always will be.  Thank you for creating these videos and sharing your historical view with all of us who had the privilege of working in that phenomenal time and industry.  

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