Nusym De-cloaks

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in EDA, Startups

Nusym has been on my radar screen ever since Venk Shukla came to a SIPA dinner on April 26, 2006 and joined their advisory board. Venk has been associated with a number of successful EDA companies (e.g. Cadence, Ambit, Magma Design, and Emulation and Verification Engineering (EVE)), a charter member of TiE, and definitely someone to watch.

Stealth Mode

So I did…for a long time their home page read like this:

“Nusym is focused on functional verification area of Electronic Design Automation. The company is a well-funded Bay Area startup with seasoned EDA management and luminary technical advisory board. The company was founded by hardware design engineers with decades of experience in chip-design. Our technology automates much of the tedious functional verification tasks and enables design verification team’s precious resources to focus on what is important to verify. User will get much higher verification coverage in less time with less efforts.”

NuSym De-Cloaks

I thought it a little odd that they would hide their light under a bushel basket, so to speak, since Venk had included the fact that he was CEO in his bio for SIPA, but so be it. Sometime yesterday that changed, so when I checked the Home page this morning (Oct 20-2006) it read:

The most significant breakthrough in functional verification in a decade

Nusym Technology is an EDA software company that provides order of magnitude improvement in verification productivity while leveraging existing infrastructure of test bench environment and checkers.
We are currently operating in “quiet” mode engaging with a very limited number of potential customers. We encourage you to visit this site often for updates on our progress.

Observations

  • I am surprised that they don’t talk about either Venk or Chris Wilson who lists his affiliation with Nusym on the International Conference on Computer Design’s (ICCD) verification and test track co-chair page.
  • And why does Jayant Nagda languish in the comments in the HTML?
  • An HTML title tag of “Webpage” means that the page bookmarks as “Webpage”. Probably better as “Nusym Technology.”
  • They might want to ask for my e-mail address to notify me when things are updated (or offer an RSS feed).
  • What happened a decade ago that they are using for a benchmark? Cycle Based Simulation?
  • Normally the “quiet period” refers to a pre-IPO state, and “stealth mode” is used for companies that haven’t announced.
  • Where is their blog? Their website has no dial tone.

From the Company page

Nusym is an EDA company developing software solutions that will revolutionize functional verification – just as introduction of logic synthesis in the late 80’s revolutionized logic design.
The company’s technology is based upon ground-breaking research done at Stanford combined with 60+ years of design and verification experience of the founders. The company has attracted funding from individuals that are legends in the EDA industry and Silicon Valley and from venture capital firms prominent in the EDA industry. We have assembled a team of outstanding technologists and a seasoned management team.
The company is founded on the following set of core beliefs:

  1. Simulation continues to be the most potent bug finding tool and will remain so for a long period of time.
  2. Tools that require a lot of effort to learn and need a lot of work upfront to get any benefit from them will never become the tools of choice for hardware designers and verification engineers.
  3. Productivity begets quality. If the tools enable the engineers to become dramatically more productive, quality of the design will improve. Tools that focus on improving the quality without regard to improving the productivity of the engineer are not likely to be adopted.

Stay tuned for the most significant breakthrough in functional verification in a decade!

Observations

  • Logic synthesis in the late 80’s Maybe they really meant to benchmark themselves against the biggest jump in design productivity in 20 years, Synopsys Design Compiler.
  • The company has attracted funding Remembering to Google, I learned that the Woodside fund (OK they don’t list it directly, but they point to this Aug/2005 Economic Times article and Ashish Gupta’s bio does), Draper Richards, and Draper Fisher Jurvetson (again not in their portfolio list but found in their 20 Year Anniversary Book) all had invested. Also some of the Silicom Ventures folks.
  • Simulation continues to be the most potent bug finding tool I think design reviews are probably more potent. But this is probably meant to argue against formal techniques.
  • Tools that require a lot of effort to learn There are very few easy to learn breakthroughs for any engineer wrestling with Moore’s Law. I remember taking an experienced logic designer to a demo of Design Compiler in 1998, before Synopsys figured out “Gates to Gates” (read in your current design as gates and output another gate level netlist that was smaller or faster) and was still trying to sell folks on top down design. The demo concluded and he told me “the future is not now.”
  • Productivity begets quality. Automated checking begets quality.
    • Patterson’s Precept: Inexperience coupled with ambition leads to very large designs.
    • Landman’s Law: In any sufficiently large design, if there is a type of error for which you have no automatic way of checking, then the final design will contain at least one error of that type.
    • Landman’s Lemma: All designs are now sufficiently large. See Patterson’s Precept.
  • I wonder if Nusym had a graphical logo instead of a text treatment ( nu · sym ) they might be listed in more VC portfolio pages. I have come around on this one from a few years ago: spend the money on a simple logo.
  • Why not list all of the engineering and management talent associated with the team.

From the Products page

If you are a potential customer looking for more information, please send an email to info@nusym.com

Observations:

  • It’s odd they list a phone number on the Contact page but just email here. Some description of at least the problem, with some specific symptoms, that they can help address and an e-mail sign-up box. Don’t know, this feels too minimal.

From the Careers page

If you wish to participate in the most exciting EDA opportunity in a decade, please send your resume to jobs@nusym.com We are looking for bright, highly motivated and performance oriented engineers. Nuysm has multiple openings for the following positions.

Application Engineer @ Los Gatos, California

Job Responsibilities:

  • Customer Deployment: Demonstrate value of verification automation tools to customers. Develop and deliver product and verification methodology trainings to customer’s design teams
  • Pre-sale Customer support: Provide technical guidance to customers to effectively and successfully use verification EDA tools. Responsible to develop and help verification environments at various customers.

Job Requirements:

  • BS with 5 years of relevant experience, MS with 3+ years of relevant experience experience in functional verification.
  • Functional verification experience in design verification or consulting environment working with latest EDA tools.
  • Good understanding of verification methodologies including usage of coverage driven test bench automation techniques or formal methods.
  • Ability to understand functional specifications of network protocols and processor buses to connect with design and verification team.
  • Good communication, presentation and customer interaction skills

Sr. Software Engineer @ Bangalore India

We are looking for bright, highly motivated and performance oriented software developers who understand computer language based compilers and hardware description language simulators.

Job Responsibilities:

  • Person in this position will be responsible for design and development of tools based on Hardware Description Languages like Verilog, Vera and SystemVerilog.
  • Responsible for designing, developing and debugging software programs for the EDA verification technology. This involves working with Hardware Description Languages (Verilog, SystemVerilog, VERA) in Front end compilers, Simulation kernel, Optimizations, Debug, Constraint Solvers and Test bench automation techniques.
  • The technology involves understanding of compilers and simulation techniques to implement innovative verification automation tools.
  • This challenging and rewarding opportunity involves working with the top talent in the industry.

Job Requirements:

  • 3+ Years of EDA software development experience in simulation or test bench tools.

Application Engineer @ Bangalore India

Job Responsibilities:

  • Customer Deployment: Demonstrate value of verification automation tools to customers.
  • Pre-sale Customer support: Provide technical guidance to customers to effectively and successfully use verification EDA tools. Responsible to develop and help verification environments at various customers.

Job Requirements:

  • BE or B.Tech. with 3+ years of relevant experience in functional verification.
  • Functional verification experience in design verification or consulting environment working with latest EDA tools.
  • Good understanding of verification methodologies including usage of coverage driven test bench automation techniques.
  • Ability to understand functional specifications of network protocols and processor buses to connect with design and verification team.
  • Good communication, presentation and customer interaction skills

Observations

  • experience experience I caught this in the “Application Engineer @ Los Gatos, California” description when I ran my blog post through a spell checker. Something you should probably do for your own job postings (will they be as tolerant of errors in inbound resumes).
  • Only the senior software engineers in Bangalore get the opportunity of “working with the top talent in the industry” ?
  • Hiring an application engineer in Bangalore: further evidence of the tidal shift of design work offshore. I wonder what fraction of verification work is now offshore? One challenge Nusym may face in increasing the productivity of engineers by a factor of 10 (just for the sake of argument) is that, according to Frost & Sullivan, most Indian design houses compete on cost. That means you have many fewer hours to sell unless you can re-configure your business model to promise (and sell) a result.
  • VERA is about ten years old. I wonder if that’s the benchmark. And what is Daniel Chapiro up to these days?

From the Contact Page

Nusym Technology, Inc.
101 Albright Way, Suite E
Los Gatos, CA 95032

Phone: 408-583-0980
Fax: 408-583-0985

Observations

  • They should consider a skype address, given that 2 of the three open positions are in Bangalore (or perhaps even their Bangalore facility coordinates).

Hopefully you will find some useful advice in this entry if you are working on the first or second web site for your startup.

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Comments (7)

  • SKMurphy » NuSym De-Cloaks 5

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    […] No discussion of the most significant breakthrough in verification in the last decade (although the careers page still promises “the most exciting EDA opportunity in a decade”). The company has raised $8 million of capital to date. Nusym’s investment funding comes from premiere firms such as Woodside Funds, Draper Richards, L.P., as well as prominent EDA veterans, including Lucio Lanza and John Sanguinetti. […]

    Reply

  • SKMurphy » Quotes for Entrepreneurs - July 2009

    |

    […] I think that there is a relationship between Moore’s Law and Alan Moore’s Law and that is automated checking begets quality. I quoted Howard Landman’s old signature in NuSym DeCloaks: […]

    Reply

  • SKMurphy » Nusym De-cloaks 4

    |

    […] See also Nusym De-cloaks from Oct 21 and Nusym De-cloaks 2 from Oct 22 for a critique of the site and some suggestions for other startups. But the next sentence shows the difference between a journalist blogging and a consultant blogging: Goering picked up the phone got an interview. Intrigued, I put in a call to Venk Shukla, Nusym CEO. I asked him about the claim that Nusym’s technology will be as revolutionary as logic synthesis. “With logic synthesis, instead of focusing on individual gates, people started focusing on the outcome, and the tool did the rest,” Shukla said. “With verification also, our goal is to make this more of an outcome-oriented tool than the input-oriented effort that people have today.” Shukla said that Nusym is focusing on “simulation or the tools that work off simulation,” and is just now going into beta sites with its technology. The real value, he said, is not so much simulation speed as completion and coverage. “What’s important is how much more quickly you can complete simulation,” he said. […]

    Reply

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