EET Sheds EDA Expertise: Bad News for EDA Startups

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in EDA, skmurphy

Richard Wallace pens a “Note to Our Readers” in the morning edition of EE Times on-line (hyperlinks added):

Last week CMP Technology, a part of United Business Media and parent company of this newspaper, announced sweeping editorial management changes at EE Times and TechOnline, EEtimes.com‘s sister Web site. The changes will accelerate the expansion of CMP’s technology media portfolio and hasten the transformation of our staff to an online media orientation–a historic shift from traditional print-centric publishing.

David Needle in “Tech Publisher CMP Restructures” characterizes this as recognizing reality: “CMP announced a major restructuring that includes shuttering some print titles and cutting about 200 jobs, an 18 percent reduction in staff. The Manhasset, N.Y., tech publisher said the move was prompted by a decline in print revenue and growth of its online and events business.” Richard Wallace continues

The changes involve the consolidation of the EE Times and TechOnline editorial teams while strengthening both brands’ online offerings for design engineers and engineering managers.

Change and attrition are the only constants for journalists today; last week this meant saying goodbye to longtime colleagues and friends. So before the pundits and bloggers go into overdrive, we’d like to introduce our new team, acknowledge the contributions of some departing colleagues and explain what these changes signify.

As a blogger I am barely in first gear so it’s probably safe to comment. To be sure a number of other technology magazines have had their print runs curtailed if not eliminated (EE Times has less than half the page count it did from five years ago). My concerns or at least puzzlement come from two paragraphs near the end.

Topical coverage in areas such as communications, consumer electronics and industry developments in China and Japan will be augmented by freelance contributions as we also thank Richard Goering, Yoshiko Hara, Mike Clendenin, Paul O’Shea and Alex Mendelsohn for their years of service to this newspaper and TechOnline.

EDA coverage will now be the purview of the entire editorial team, with increasing focus on contributed articles. EDA application coverage is already a staple of TechOnline DesignLines, PlanetAnalog.com, PLDesignLine.com and embedded.com.

I don’t quite understand why Richard Goering wasn’t able to change orientation to online media, I have been reading his words on-line for a while now and he’s one of the better bloggers that EET has.  If EDA is everyone’s responsibility, it will be no one’s responsibility. Doubtless Goering will take a job somewhere else that involves publishing on-line, so there must be more to the story.

What are some near term strategies that startups should consider now that Goering won’t be profiling all of the little guys?

  1. If you don’t have a blog on your website, you should add one now and post at least weekly. Take time to follow some of the emerging EDA oriented bloggers as they may very well become an important source of context on your firm.
  2. Consider smaller regional conferences like Mentor’s EDA Tech Forum as a more important source of leads. MP Associates should consider adding magazines/print to their conference line-up (DAC, ICCAD, DVCon, …) to pick up the slack in coverage. EDA Tech Forum also publishes a quarterly journal.
  3. The size of your website is measured by the number of inbound links from other quality sites. Become more active in EDA oriented on-line forums (e.g. Verification Guild, SOC Central, EDA Cafe, CADWire, Deep Chip, and Linux Electrons, all come to mind).

This shift to on-line and events is not unique to CMP: Pat McGovern, president of IDG, the parent of recently shuttered InfoWorld had the following observation in an interview in March of 2007 with Mediashift‘s Mark Glaser

McGovern: We’ve made an interesting re-definition about what business we’re in. We always thought of ourselves as [print] publishers who did websites and conferences. Now the website typically has a bigger audience than print, and it’s growing much more rapidly. We used to be a publishing company with ancillary websites and events, but now we’re a web-centric information company, and we have ancillary activities like print publications and events.

Editorial Coverage: The Times They Are A-changing

Written by Francis Adanza. Posted in EDA, Events

Which resource do you prefer to obtain information; print or on-line? This morning I attended an interactive DAC debate that touched on the issues on the shift from print media to on-line publishing. Below is my summary of the topics and discussions of the presentation titled Editorial Coverage: The Times They Are A-changing.

Moderator: Scott Sandler, President and CEO, Novas

Panelists:

Furrier’s Introduction:
I started Podtech with a microphone and an iRiver. All I did was go around attending events and interviewing entrepreneurs. I then hosted the interviews on blogs, podcasts, and websites. At first it was more of a hobby but as traction developed, I turned it into a company. I believe print is going away and that people will look on-line for sources of information. Print will not completely go away, because there is something to be said about the touch, feel, and mobility of a book. However, for on-demand, up to date, real time information we can’t wait for print anymore.

More and more communities are formed on the Internet that print does not allow you to create. People want to be able to comment and share insight with others. Information on-line gives people an identity, a personality, and expression.

Moderator (Sandler): Since we have all been around long enough, can you touch on the history of the transition from print to on-line?

Santorini: It is becoming more and more difficult to figure out what my customer wants. I can’t tell what form they want their information in.

Sandler: Show of hands how many people read print?
Crowd: About half the people raised their hands.

Sandler: Show of hands how many people prefer to get their information on-line?
Crowd: About 2/3 of the people raised their hands.

Sandler: I noticed that some people raised their hands twice. With this small sample, I infer that people still read print, but prefer to get their information on-line.

Fuller: People want information now and on-demand. Print can’t keep up with providing the newest content. Also, anything that has a shelf life is great for on-line because it is easy to archive and retrieve later. Unlike print, on-line usage can be measured in many ways. We can determine how long the user is viewing the page, which pages the user is viewing, the ability to link between other resources, etc.

Markowitz: On-line allows users to develop communities and relationships. Unlike print which is almost impossible to comment on a writers topic, feedback is instant on-line. Users will tell you exactly how they feel and if you do not do your homework, they will call you out on it if you are wrong.

My take: even though electrical engineers have been early adopters of the web for job related information, it’s not clear that the cubicle environment most of us work in is conducive to audio and video consumption. Also, for work related information, it’s not clear that audio or video content has been developed that’s more useful than text (whether phosphor or ink). While streaming media is useful for establishing an emotional connection, it’s much slower for the average engineer to listen to an interview than read a white paper or a data sheet. Leveraging animation and simulation for interactive datasheets may prove more useful, especially if you could download ready to go models–e.g. for schematic, PCB, simulation, power, thermal, and mechanical info to name a few views that currently require manual transcription from PDF.

DAC Panel Presentation: EDA Exit Strategies: What’s Next?

Written by Francis Adanza. Posted in EDA, Events

This morning I attended a panel discussion on EDA Exit Strategies: What’s Next? This presentation was given at DAC on the Pavilion Show Floor. It was a one hour interactive discussion between the panelists and the audience. Below is my take on the two most interesting discussions.

Moderator:
Kathryn KranenJasper Design Automation, Inc., Mountain View, CA

Speaker(s):
Rajeev MadhavanMagma Design Automation, Inc., Santa Clara, CA
Andrew YangApache Design Solutions, Inc., Mountain View, CA
Jay Vleeschhouwer – Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc., New York, NY

Moderator Question: What are the exit strategies for startups in EDA?

Madhavan
: Don’t think about the exit. Worry about building a sustainable, viable business. Worry about satisfying customer needs. In terms of exists, I predict that there will be less and less IPO’s. There will continue to be M&A’s, but I think most successful companies will look like Denali, a privately held corporation.

Yang: There has not been a IPO in six years. The last was Magma in 2001. I agree with Rajeev that most exits will be M&A and privately held companies that share liquidity and pay dividends. I still believe there is a vibrant ecosystem in EDA which is driven by the innovation from startups. In terms of exists, essentially you only have four options.

  1. You fail
  2. You build a successful privately held business
  3. You are acquired (M&A)
  4. You go public (IPO)

Vleeschhouwer: Do not focus on an exit. An exit is not a right but only a privilege. Since Rajeev and Andrew did such a great job of covering the importance of building a business first, I will talk about the trade offs of being a public company. Public companies are ruled by the thumb of stockholders, meeting quarterly goals, and different management structure.

Public companies have different customer penetration objectives, product portfolios, profitability requirements, and market goals. IPO is simply a financing strategy, it is not a means to cash out. Only if it is strategic to the business objectives, does a company go public.

Compared to other tech markets, it is very difficult for investors to understand the EDA market. Most likely investors will take another company public. In addition, there are not enough users in the EDA market, thus growth limitations to support an IPO strategy.

Audience Question: How do you know when a company is ready for an M&A? Is a company ever too big or too small?

Group Discussion:
From the company’s perspective, its not whether the company is too big or too small for M&A. The important issues include; how are you going to manage the post M&A and how do you manage the R&D and embed the technology into the companies line of business? Many company M&A’s do not succeed. Developers leave, over development, not enough development, off strategy, and slow customer acquisition. It is all about the execution of the merger.

Applying Design Automation Tools Beyond Semiconductors

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in EDA, skmurphy

Steve Levitan wrote a great opinion piece in this week’s EE Times: “EDA Can Shine Beyond IC Borders” that nicely expressed some future possibilities for EDA professionals.  

EDA methodologies, techniques and tools are unique in that they approach problems in terms of levels of abstraction, which gives us the power to work on complex problems from a high-level representation. We see complex systems as hierarchies of interacting components. This is reflected in our second strength: the modeling of very large systems by extracting their key behaviors in efficient representations for simulation.

The EDA industry also excels at developing techniques to solve large, complex optimization problems. And we are willing to tackle the black art of synthesis.

These key techniques of abstraction, extraction, optimization and synthesis from the EDA toolbox can be used in a broader context than just for electronic systems design. They are also applicable to other problems characterized by the complex behavior of large numbers of interacting components, in fields as diverse as routing systems for vehicular traffic, drug design, biology and health care. I believe that EDA has a great opportunity in the next decade to apply the tools we have developed for electronic systems design to these and other complex problems.

I think there may be as much, or perhaps even more opportunity these days in applying the skills and methodologies that honed in EDA–abstraction, extraction, optimization, and synthesis–to other fields that would benefit from richer modeling and automation.

This is not to say that we don’t remain interested in assisting EDA startups. Ever since they passed Moore’s Law, the electronic systems design problem continues to get more interesting every year and established firms are continually forced to redesign their product every two to three years to keep up with the semiconductor roadmap. But many other fields languish for the lack of these same techniques applied in an appropriate fashion.

ASIC Design Starts Dropping: Implications for EDA

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in EDA, skmurphy

I attended a very thought provoking talk tonight on “Factors Influencing IC Design Starts and Future Revenues” by Bryan Lewis and John Barber of Gartner at the Santa Clara Valley Chapter of the IEEE Components, Packaging & Manufacturing Technology Society. Bryan and John declined to make their slides available but I was able to crib this chart from an EE Times article “Sockets scant for costly ASICs

2000 2005 2006 2007 2008
7,749 3,623 3,391 3,196 3,048

Chip volume and complexity combine to increase total revenues but the design start trend has clear implications for an EDA industry that in the 80’s and 90’s saw ASICs (gate array and standard cells) as key drivers. The other interesting trend is that process lifetimes are elongating considerably. The need to move to a new process was another strong driver in the 90’s as deep submicron and then very deep submicron processes required entirely new back end tool sets to accurately model their complexities and constraints. This is a trend that has been underway for more than a decade as the EE Times article points out

Back in the mid-1990s, any given year saw a total of some 10,000 ASIC design starts, according to iSuppli. A design start is equal to a unique tapeout, but the IC may or may not go into production, Gartner’s Lewis said.

It would seem that the near term EDA opportunities may have more to do with complexity management as complexity continues to increase, and intelligent management and recycling of legacy design data.

Selling Around IT in Larger Firms

Written by Theresa Shafer. Posted in Consulting Business, EDA, Startups

Large firm IT departments are “gatekeepers”. Their job is to keep the enterprise network computing infrastructure safe and operational. New software from a new vendor is almost always viewed as a threat. Most of the time, they will say NO to any new software. Most of the time our clients have to sell around them. Here’s five tips for doing that:

  1. Provide a service (deliver the results of you running your software) instead of selling software.
  2. Package your offering as SaaS at a price that’s below the radar of IT.
  3. Leverage an existing partner: Who else is your prospect buying from?
  4. Find someone who is in a lot of pain whose needs have been ignored by IT.
  5. Find someone whose needs span more than one IT administrative boundary, so that no single IT group views satisfying the need as their obligation.

A related article “Selling Around The CIO” which is well worth reading to understand what likely counter-attacks from an IT group will look like. In particular we advise clients to prepare for three audiences in a sales presentation: business, end user, and IT. The objective of the IT oriented presentation is simply to neutralize as many potential IT roadblocks as possible. It can be given directly to the IT folks or supplied as ammunition for your internal champion if needed.

Another blog entry worth reading on this topic is Ori Weinroth’s summary from the 2006 Office 2.0 Conference on “Is IT the Enemy of Office 2.0

Nusym De-cloaks 4

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in Blogging, EDA, skmurphy, Startups

Venk Shukla, CEO of Nusym, commented on Nusym De-cloaks 3 on Dec 4

We had met a long time ago but lost touch afterward. The points you make about website credibility are valid. We will measure the information we put out against this criteria once we decide to emerge from the shadows. Thanks for paying attention, anyway.

I think Nusym has emerged from the shadows because Richard Goering, the dean of EDA journalism, has just posted an entry about Nusym called “Tracking an elusive verification startup” on his new blog, that includes an interview with Shukla.

Veteran EDA user and consultant Sean Murphy brought Nusym to light earlier this year in his blog, which covers a variety of topics including EDA. Murphy has some interesting comments about the claims made in Nusym’s web site.

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.

Certainly the folks who started O-in and Silicon Sorcery would agree, as well as the folks at Verisity and Systems Science. It’s actually hard to argue with. Richard Goering continues

What else do we know? Google Nusym, and you’ll find documents that name Woodside Fund, Draper Richards, and Silicom Ventures as venture capital investors. Shukla said that Lucio Lanza and John Sanguinetti are investors in Nusym, and he said that about $6 million has been raised so far. Nusym currently employs around 20 people, he said.

Goering has some interesting speculation on what Nusym may really be doing, and he then offers another quote from Mr. Shukla.

“What attracted me is that this is the first genuinely good idea we’ve heard in verification for a long, long time,” said Shukla. “There’s been no innovation in that space for the last 10 to 12 years, and the problem is getting worse.”

I think that there has been a fair amount of innovation in the verification space in the last decade. It’s an odd position for Venk to stake out, that there hasn’t. It also neatly sidesteps the specifics of the insertion point in the flow or the actual nature of the benefits they hope to deliver. Cutting time to achieve high verification coverage is a generic promise at this point. For example, Cadence, a potential exit for Nusym, makes the following promise for their Incisive platform:

The Cadence Incisive® platform delivers the fastest and most efficient way to verify large, complex chips. It ensures that your product will meet specifications, ship without defects and arrive on time by removing productivity, predictability and quality risks in the development process.

Ann Germany and Shankar Hemmady, writing at EDACafe on “Verification Languages: 3 points to ponder beyond which one?” list this as their second point:

2. Is there a way out of this mess?

Deploying thousands of simulations, directing resources across geographically dispersed teams and achieving total coverage across the block, chip, system and project levels are today’s verification reality. Exasperating isn’t it? With modern SoC’s consisting of one or more processors, embedded software, instruction and data caches, large register sets, multiple buses, dedicated hardware accelerator, and a dozen or more interfaces to industry standards, simply keeping track of where we stand and what comes next becomes a problem on its own. How can we capture the verification process and what can be done to automate this process? What if the specification changes in the middle of the project? What if a critical bug is identified a week before tapeout? How can we manage the verification process to gain control over this flood of information?

Nusym should consider situating their brand promise in the realities of design and verification as outlined above. This is also an approach other software startups should consider as well: don’t try and position yourself as bringing fire to the savages, acknowledge the challenges and real pain your prospects are experiencing and offer a specific measurable benefit that differentiates you from other potential solutions.

Coffee Break with Gary Smith

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in EDA, skmurphy

It’s a strange thing to know someone who’s making the front page of the paper for losing his job.

I have known Gary Smith for almost 20 years: we met when he was a methodologist at LSI Logic and their salesman for 3Com dragged him in to encourage us to continue using the proprietary LSI tools and not move to Synopsys Design Compiler and Verilog for ASIC design. Like all good ENTJ‘s he was hearty, robust, and argumentative. I guess it takes one to know one. What Gary and I considered to be a friendly but spirited conversation the salesman was convinced had escalated to a shouting match. We have been friends ever since.

Much has been made of Dataquest’s decision to shut down their 5 person Design and Engineering Group, which covered EDA, electronic system level (ESL) design, embedded software, mechanical design, and architectural engineering and construction. I think Gabe Moretti‘s Life Without Dataquest (Oct 23, 2006) in CMP’s EDA DesignLine probably had the best insights (links added):

It is always sad to see people that have dedicated their skills to make a difference in our industry get laid off. It has happened too frequently in the last two years in the media, and the trend has now extended itself to the world of analysts. Some individual analysts, Erach Desai for example, have started their own consulting organizations instead of being associated with an investment banking firm. Now the news that Gartner Dataquest has decided to close its CAD group at the end of this month and terminate coverage of EDA highlights once more the real nature of the industry.

When three of the handful of publicly traded EDA companies control about 73% of the industry revenues as Merrill Lynch Research’s Jay Vleeschhouwer stated in his last report, one only needs to look at Cadence, Synopsys and Mentor, to determine the state and direction of the industry. By adding Magma to the input data one has enough to develop a sufficiently accurate picture of the industry to advise EDA corporate planners and independent investors on both growth opportunities and possible pitfalls. Gartner has thus made a difficult but financially sound decision in terminating its EDA coverage. In spite of the excellent professional qualifications of each of the members of the CAD group, and the technical leadership they provided under the able guidance of Gary Smith, the business side of this enterprise has become less justifiable. The four largest companies have grown an internal knowledge of the competition and thus have lessened their reliance on the input from Dataquest, while few of the smaller companies have developed the marketing bandwidth to take advantage of the private analysis offered by Dataquest.

Just as the amount spent on advertising and the changing nature of the ads have shaped the reorganization of the industry coverage by media giants like CMP and Reed Elsevier, so the amount of money spent on independent market analysis is reshaping this segment of the industry. I have no doubt that companies will continue to rely on independent input for their planning, but this help will come from individuals or small organizations that can operate with a significantly smaller overhead than Gartner. If you really think about it, supporting capabilities, like media, PR, and market analysis, are now resembling the nature of the industry they serve: innovation and creativity come mostly from small companies and individuals who find a way to believe in their own ideas and convictions and who are successful for what they know and contribute, not who they work for.

I like the Moore’s Law waits for no one sentiment he closes on. He was the first to really explain it as a rational business decision instead of some kind of conspiracy. John Cooley offered a wealth of them in the “Untold Gary Smith Back Story” but Steve DiBartolomeo of Artwork Conversion Software made what I think was the most prescient comment:

What’s replacing Gartner? DeepChip, and blogs. An EDA company makes an outrageous claim? Within hours actual users will refute such claims on blogs, emails to DeepChip and the bragger is called to account. A major customer changes suppliers, the news is out in days. A new tool is crap, in spite of the NDAs enough “Call Me Anonymous” engineers report their experience. The services that you provide freely via DeepChip compete directly with Gartner. Information zips around much more freely than before; yet someone has to aggregate it, qualify it, filter it and make sense of it, but it is pretty clear that the Gartner business model has reached the end of its life.”

EDAC lists 11 public companies

  1. ANSTAnsoft5 analysts
  2. ARMHYARM Holdings4 analysts
  3. CDNSCadence11 analysts
  4. LAVAMagma Design Automation7 analysts
  5. LVGNLogic VisionNo analyst coverage
  6. MENTMentor Graphics7 analysts
  7. MIPSMIPS Technologies4 analysts
  8. PDFSPDF Solutions6 analysts
  9. SNPSSynopsys11 analysts
  10. SYNPSynplicity Inc.3 analysts
  11. VIRLVirage Logic5 analysts

There is a fair amount of overlap in coverage but it looks like there are perhaps 16-18 analysts covering at least one company in the industry and a core of about a dozen covering at least three. As a contrast, Xilinx has 27 analysts covering it and Altera has 30. These two FPGA players probably invest as much in CAD tools as many if not most of the companies listed above.

Peggy Aycinena interviewed Gary in 2001, posting it in 2004 here where she and characterized him as the EDA Industry’s answer to the Oracle at Delphi. While he has survived a bout with cancer and has a young son still in diapers I have never witnessed him display any supernatural powers. He is strong methodologist who is able to spot the part of the future that’s already here by observing and listening to designers.

As to what Gartner’s decision means for the industry, I am guided by Gerald Weinberg’s observation that “It may look like a crisis, but it’s only the end of an illusion.”

Nusym De-cloaks 3

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in EDA, Startups

It’s been a month since my two posts on Nusym Technology.

  • They upgraded their text treatment ( nu · sym ) to a nice logo.
  • They still promise to deliver the “most significant breakthrough in functional verification in a decade. Nusym Technology is an EDA software company that provides an order of magnitude improvement in verification productivity while capitalizing on existing verification infrastructure.” It’s hard to understand what benchmark they are measuring themselves against.
  • They don’t list any of the luminaries involved in this titanic breakthrough, which leads me to wonder if some of them have left. The Captology team at Stanford has come up with some guidelines for improving the credibility of a website; here are the first four:
    1. Make it easy to verify the accuracy of the information on your site.
      You can build web site credibility by providing third-party support (citations, references, source material) for information you present, especially if you link to this evidence. Even if people don’t follow these links, you’ve shown confidence in your material.
    2. Show that there’s a real organization behind your site.
    3. Highlight the expertise in your organization and in the content and services you provide.
    4. Show that honest and trustworthy people stand behind your site.
  • The first two “core beliefs” on the company page have been re-phrased (compare to version in “Nusym De-cloaks” to sharpen their dislike of formal technology. Also, if #2 is correct, how did PrimeTime ever get adopted? (italics is added text, strikethrough has been deleted).
    1. Dynamic verification solution. Formal technology falls short on its promise. Simulation technology continues to be the most potent bug finding tool. and will remain so for a long period of time.
    2. Ease of adoption. Tools that are hard to learn and demand changes in current flow will not be embraced by the design and verification community. 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.
  • They still ask you to “stay tuned for the most significant breakthrough of the decade.” As I noted earlier, most early sites at least let you provide an e-mail address and promise to notify you.
  • I exchanged e-mail with the Dean of EDA Journalism (admittedly it’s a small school) and he indicated he hadn’t heard what Venk and crew were actually up to. As Bill Joyner observed last year “I look to Richard to help me stay abreast of new technologies and trends and to be sure I know ‘what’s happening’ in design automation.” I do too, so either the story has been embargoed or it’s not been formulated yet.
  • Nusym Technology is not listed on the 44th DAC exhibitor list, so maybe they are going to stay “quiet” in 2007 as well. As a first time exhibitor, they can just take a “suite” and give private demos by invitation only. Details as they unfold, your mileage may vary.

Update Dec 18, 2006: Richard Goering, the dean of EDA journalism, has just posted an entry about Nusym called “Tracking an elusive verification startup” on his new blog, that includes an interview with Shukla.  I have followed up this post with “Nusym De-cloaks 4” for those half dozen of my readers still following this thread.

Nusym De-cloaks 2

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in EDA, Startups

Some follow-ups to yesterday’s post on Nusym

  • Why de-cloak? Don’t most stealth startups emerge? Yes, at least according to Google and EET. But a good Star Trek allusion (or is it Harry Potter?) always enriches a blog post and the Duke “invisibility cloakdemonstration announcement had recently gone out over the mojo wire, so it was fresh in my mind. Technically I think you have a cloak of invisibility and boots of stealth, so a stealthy start would de-boot (debut?).
    • you might wonder how they could have been “on my radar” if they were in stealth, but think Jorn.
  • Quiet mode (stealth mode): I am normally in favor of this, but if you are advertising jobs for folks and identifying yourself as associated with the startup in public forums it can’t hurt to at least talk about the problem you plan to solve. Other opinions on “stealth mode startups”
  • Other “stealth mode startups” that have emerged in 20006 according to EE Times:
    • Gear6 (FYI their news page allows you to enter your E-mail to be notified of new developments).
    • Takumi Technology (they “emerge from stealth” here).
    • Micro Magic (reborn in stealth after being acquired by Juniper; their CEO believes “What separates Micro Magic from other EDA companies is that we are actually designers.”)
  • The Company page contains a paragraph that looks to be more appropriate for B round solicitation than a customer oriented briefing:
    • 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.
    • You have to be careful that you don’t base your customer briefing on your funding pitch and instead work from scratch on customer pain points. I guess the counter-argument is that it establishes their financial viability.
  • I got an e-mail from Howard Landman (he of the Law and Lemma) that pointed out Patterson’s Precept was coined by “David Patterson, co-author of Patterson and Hennessy computer architecture book, professor at U.C. Berkeley.” I have amended the original post to reflect this.

Details as they frolic in plain view but beyond understanding, like the invisible ineffable cues that a school of fish use to synchronize their movements.

A WACI Track at DAC

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in EDA

From the Call for Papers for the WACI track

Wild and Crazy Ideas (WACI) at DAC 2007
Submit a paper to the new WACI track at DAC and demonstrate your long-term vision! The WACI track will feature novel (and even unproven) technical ideas that create a buzz and get people talking. The aim of WACI is to promote revolutionary and way-out ideas that inspire and generate discussion among conference attendees.

a quick perusal of the submission form shows the following areas of interest:

  • System-Level Design and Co-Design
  • System-Level Communication and Networks on Chip
  • Embedded HW Design and Applications
  • Embedded SW Tools and Design
  • Power Analysis and Low-Power Design
  • Verification
  • High-Level Synthesis
  • Beyond Die-Integration and Package Design
  • Logic Synthesis and Circuit Optimization
  • Circuit Simulation and Interconnect Analysis
  • Timing Analysis and Design for Manufacturability
  • Physical Design and Manufacturability
  • Signal Integrity and Design Reliability
  • Analog/Mixed-Signal and RF
  • FPGA Design Tools and Applications
  • Testing
  • New or Emerging or Specialized Design Technologies
  • Automotive Electronics

In fact, “Automotive Electronics” is a special theme of the show. Proof that a near death experience, in this case for the automobile industry in the US, can re-awaken a desire for innovation, or at least lower internal barriers against risk taking. Judging from his rather wacky website, the WACI track must be the brainchild of Sachin Sapatnekar, 2007 DAC technical program co-chair, who is quoted in announcing it:

“The DAC community is instrumental in enabling the development of all of the latest innovations in electronics and bringing the latest ideas to reality, enhancing all aspects of life. We are excited to provide a forum for the truly revolutionary and controversial ideas at DAC 2007 with this new WACI track.”

The submission deadline for regular papers and WACI submissions is Monday, November 20, at 5 p.m. MST. This looks like a good opportunity to submit some innovative ideas and trigger some fruitful discussions in San Diego next June.

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