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CEO Interview: Jack Harding of eSilicon

CEO Interview: Jack Harding of eSilicon
by Daniel Nenni on 12-12-2016 at 7:00 am

I recently spoke with Jack Harding, CEO of eSilicon Corporation and Duy-Loan Le, one of eSilicon’s Board members about eSilicon’s progress in Vietnam, a large design location for the company. eSilicon also gives back in the region through its association with Sunflower Mission, a U.S. based non-profit organization that is committed to improving the lives of the people in Vietnam, mainly through educational assistance programs. Duy-Loan is a co-founder of Sunflower Mission, so I explored what is happening there with eSilicon’s support.

Figure 1. 2015 Sunflower Mission Scholarship Winners

eSilicon has been operating in Vietnam for many years, what are the key developments over the past year?

Jack Harding: eSilicon has experienced substantial growth. We are now designing some of the most complex chips in the world. Applications for these devices range from advanced networking, high performance computing and even artificial intelligence. eSilicon Vietnam is critical to many of these achievements. The core strength of our large Vietnam team has been semiconductor IP memory development and developing new memories at the most advanced semiconductor FinFET processes. We have also built a world-class chip design team in Vietnam. This team works with our worldwide network of eSilicon expert designers. Recently we also added a specialized IC testing facility, which we believe is the first such facility in Vietnam.

With over 300 engineers, eSilicon Vietnam represents our largest workforce and to highlight the importance of this team, our vice president of worldwide human resources, Bruce Newton, is located in Vietnam.

Duy-Loan, what drove you to co-found Sunflower Mission 15 years ago?

Duy-Loan Le: There are three fundamental beliefs I hold regarding the work of Sunflower Mission. First, education forms a strong foundation for a person’s future. Second, I cannot think of a gift that is more relevant, impactful, and sustainable than the gift of knowledge through a broad scope of education. And third, the difference between success and failure is often opportunity. I have reached my position today, because I have been fortunate enough to receive a broad scope of education that engages not only academic excellence but also civic leadership to create opportunities for all.

I co-founded Sunflower Mission as my way of giving back, allowing those who are not as fortunate as me to get a good education and prosper.

What are some of Sunflower Mission’s accomplishments over the years in Vietnam?

Duy-Loan Le: Sunflower Mission has three operational pillars: elementary classroom construction, three different scholarship programs, and an annual international work camp. In the first 14 years of operation, we have built 149 classrooms across Vietnam. Importantly, October 2016 marks the start of our 15th anniversary year in Vietnam. In 2017, we will be building two kindergarten classrooms and six elementary school classrooms equipped with computer rooms. The schools are located in Quang Nam province.

Over the last 14 years, we have given scholarships to nearly 16,000 students from elementary school level through university level with over 400 of our students having graduated from a University. Many of our former teenage work camp participants go on to attend a University and while there, they apply the leadership skills learned to raise funds and lead projects to help others.

Can you tell us about current activities at Sunflower Mission?
Duy-Loan Le: This year, we received over 200 applications for the Engineering & Technology Scholarship for Excellence Program which is one of three scholarship programs of Sunflower Mission. eSilicon administers this scholarship program under Sunflower Mission’s guidance. Jack and I went to Ho Chi Minh City on November 29[SUP]th[/SUP] and Danang on December 1[SUP]st[/SUP] to present the scholarship awards to 59 winners.

This kind of success is what we aim for at Sunflower Mission.

About Sunflower Mission
Sunflower Mission’s focus is exclusively on educational programs. We strive to make a significant difference in the lives of Vietnamese youth. We reach our goals by being focused and dedicated. We are committed to ensuring that for every dollar raised, at least 97 cents will go toward the cause of educating children in Vietnam. Learn more about our scholarship, school building, and work camp programs.

About eSilicon
eSilicon guides customers through a fast, flexible, low-risk ASIC journey, from concept to volume production. We provide system-on-chip (SoC) design, custom IP, manufacturing solutions and online decision-making tools. Our strength is in optimizing our customers’ complex chips for cost, schedule, power, performance and area. Everyone worries about the cost of developing and manufacturing an SoC — investment, time, unit production price. And everyone worries about meeting power, performance and area (PPA) targets.

Finding the Right Chip Recipe
But as the number of semiconductor process and IP choices explodes, it becomes more and more difficult for designers to make informed, data-driven decisions regarding how to implement their SoCs. There are simply too many combinations to run enough trial implementations to narrow the choices down to the optimal SoC recipe. And making the right technology choices has an enormous impact on cost, schedule and PPA.

Introducing Design Virtualization

eSilicon’s design virtualization technology maps actual physical results from hundreds of SoC tapeouts and thousands of simulations to our customers’ targets to assist in finding the best possible implementation recipe. Through our proprietary STAR platform, the ability to explore — in real time — the implications of various chip implementation recipes is now possible. This is how we help our customers build the right chip, right now.