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Semiconductor Realization!

Semiconductor Realization!
by Daniel Nenni on 09-20-2010 at 1:15 pm

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results (Albert Einstein). Given that statement, according to John Bruggeman (Cadence CMO and EDA360 Chief Anarchist) the semiconductor industry is INSANE!

This year the EDA Tech Forum and the Global Semiconductor Alliance Expo were not only on the same day, but also at the same location, which saved me a trip to the Santa Clara Convention Center but the conference session overlap was INSANE!

The award for the best panel definitely goes to the GSA: From MIDs to Base Stations – Where Mobility Infrastructure Meets Innovation, featuring heavy weight semiconductor executives from fabless companies around the world: Scintera, NetLogic, PicoChip, Altera, and eSilicon. The fifth panelist was John Bruggeman!?!? Whoever put John B. on this panel is INSANE!

First let’s look at the semiconductor problem statement best illustrated by Aart Degues, Synopsys CEO, in last week’s blog:

It’s an INSANE attempt at bottom-up design where you try to find a vegetarian restaurant while avoiding your level 12 vegan mother in-law (been there, done that). It’s a complicated and somewhat treacherous trip through System, SoC, and Silicon design and implementation. Unfortunately, this trip is getting longer and more expensive every day which has officially qualified semiconductor design starts and fabless semiconductor start-ups as endangered species.

Enter EDA360. I now consider myself an EDA360 expert since I have read the vision statement 360 times, blogged about it: EDA360 Manifesto, EDA360 Redux, TSMC OIP vs CDNS OIP, and have had endless conversations with the foundries, fabless, EDA and IP companies alike. So far, EDA360 is all about the WHY, which is something I see everyday in working with the top semiconductor companies and foundries on leading edge technologies. I also now work with an Eastern European investment fund targeted at fabless semiconductor companies in Silicon Valley which may sound INSANE but I can assure you it’s not. There is still plenty of money to be made IF you can get an SoC into production on time and within a REASONABLE amount of money.

Per JohnB: EDA360 is a top down approach starting with System Realization – to SoC Realization – ending with Silicon Realization. The WHY of EDA360 makes complete sense, great vision, I’m on board, I even have an EDA360 shirt. The question I have is: exactly HOW is this going to work?

During the GSA panel John B. spoke last and challenged the panel to turn it upside down, start at the top and be SYSTEM versus SILICON driven. The lack of meaningful discussion on the topic was disappointing. This was an infrastructure innovation panel, right? The panelists knew JohnB was on the panel, right? The crowd definitely wanted more EDA360 discussion but left empty headed!

IF EDA360 is a fantasy and the cost of semiconductor design continues to increase exponentially, where will the design starts come from? Where is the meaningful discussion within the top EDA vendors on this topic? When will there be a panel with Wally, Aart, and JohnB? I would even invite Rajeev! WE NEED DESIGN STARTS!

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results (Albert Einstein). Given that statement, according to Daniel Nenni (World Famous Blogger) the Electronic Design Automation industry is INSANE!