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Synopsys Users Group Silicon Valley 2012 Keynote: Aart de Geus

Synopsys Users Group Silicon Valley 2012 Keynote: Aart de Geus
by Daniel Nenni on 03-27-2012 at 1:26 pm

 SNUG Chairman John Busco opened the session with a few words about Aart de Geus, the silver anniversary of Synopsys, and some SNUG statistics. A whopping 2,500 people registered this year! Probably due to the Magma acquisition which is prominently displayed on “Welcome Magma Users” signs and on the flat screens which are everywhere. This is probably the last we will here of Magma. From what I have been told the assimilation is complete and less than half of Magma employees were retained.

John Busco is a good speaker and a very friendly and interesting guy. He made the mistake of connecting with me on LinkedIn a while back so I follow his every move. Since 2002, John has been involved in ASIC design implementation methodology and support at NVIDIA so he is not just a pretty face.

Aart continued with his theme of Techonomics, where tech meets economics, and Systemic Complexity, where your efforts are not a SUM but a PRODUCT. If at any time, you have a failure or a 0 in your work process the entire product will then equal 0. In the semiconductor ecosystem I have found this to be true, absolutely.

Aart also introduced a sociodynamic term, “Critical Mass through Collaboration” which may not stick. While it accurately describes a rate of innovation adoption that becomes self-sustaining and promotes further growth, Critical Mass is also a protest held on the last Friday of each month promoting cycling related issues in congested cities around the world. Kind of like the Occupy Movement only with wheels. I rode the SFO Critical Mass before my bicycle accident when a cell phone talking driver ran me down and left me to die like an animal on the side of the road but I digress.

A more mainstream term would be “Collaboration through Crowdsourcing”. Crowdsourcing is a problem-solving process that involves distributing tasks to a network of people, which would be the “crowd”. SemiWiki is a good example of crowdsourcing. Since going live in January 2011, 233,827 people have visited racking up 2,225,788 page views. Currently SemiWiki has 3,853 contributions from 11,469 registered members in the form of blogs, wikis, and forum discussions.

Aart made six Magma references, yes I counted, and acknowledged key technical points of Magma products that will be integrated into Synopsys tools in the next 12-24 months. Magma P&R, FineSim, and Silicon Characterization were called out as examples. This supports my previous posted vision that by this time next year Magma products will be just a memory.

FinFets were mentioned and more importantly the man behind the FinFet technology, Dr. Chengmin Hu, will be keynoting on Wednesday morning. The analogy Aart made is that we are now using 193nm waves of light to draw 20nm lines, which is like using crayons. 3D technology such as FinFets will certainly help but will require 3D enabled tools throughout the design flow. Bottom line, A higher level of abstraction on the design side and 3D modeling on the manufacturing (TCAD) side will be required. Paul McLellan did a blog on Synopsys now in 3D which describes the most comprehensive 3D design offering to date. On the manufacturing side, Synopys is the leader in TCAD so I give them an advantage on FinFets at 20nm and beyond.

IP subsystems were mentioned (which are also EDA360 ish) and the first such IP subsystem from Synopsys was announced but that is a blog in itself so stay tuned for that one.

At the press roundtable following the keynote, I asked Aart his opinion on new media and the transparency it’s bringing to the semiconductor ecosystem. Aart sited intellectual property and ethical issues which I agree with 100%. Even though SemiWiki is an LLC, my assets are tied to what I write so I hired an attorney to make sure SemiWiki was fullyFTC compliant, so the evolution begins. Hopefully other websites covering the semiconductor ecosystem will follow suit sooner rather than later. It will certainly help with the signal-to-noise ratio which is also a new media concern.

One thing Aart and everybody else needs to understand is that, if implemented correctly, new media provides an unfiltered feed back loop that you can either embrace and leverage or ignore and get leveraged by your competitors, just my new media opinion of course.

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