Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Clear mixed signals from Magma @ MUSIC India!

Clearly, Magma Design Automation is banking heavily on mixed signal designs, as well as analog, as evident from the number of announcements made at the MUSIC India 2010.

Rajeev Madhavan chairman and CEO, Magma Design Automation, stated in his keynote: "A few years ago, we observed that most customers were moving toward mixed signal designs. Four years ago, we started investing in a lot of analog areas and mixed signal areas. He added that Magma had introduced five new products this month, and five others were slated for release later this year.Rajeev Madhavan speaking at MUSIC India 2010.

New product announcements
At MUSIC India 2010, Madhavan made several new product announcements. First, the Tekton -- next generation static timing analysis (STA) tool. "We already have 32 beta sites under way," he said. A tradiotional STA tool apparently has about 21 scenarios and it possibly takes over two hours runtime per scenario. With Tekton, the runtime gets reduced to less than 30 minutes for all of the 21 scenarios.

Magma announced the QCP -- the standalone extraction tool as well. This scalable tool features an advanced architecture, which claims to deliver 10x performance. Another announcement was made about the SiliconSmart ACE memory characterization tool.

Magma also announced the Titan ADX v2.0, its analog IP optimization software. Madhavan added, "We have provided all of the base library of IP with the tools." It has been licensed it to the largest fabless company (or fab? both names were taken!), with the release likely to be made in June 2010. v2.0 features auto mapping.

The fifth product announcement was about the FineSIM Fast Monte Carlo, which is being used by TSMC. Fast Monte Carlo uses a unique statistical approach to significantly reduce the number of simulations required to determine yield.

Magma's product updates
Madhavan also announced some product updates. One, Magma has been managing 'big chips' on Hydra, an auto interactive floorplanning and hierarchical design planning solution. Advanced hierarchical aware capabilities automate complex tasks. There is 10 percent reduction in TAT (turnaround time) for macro placement vs. manual approach. Two, it is managing 'big blocks' with Talus. This is v1.1, and has a new MCMM accelerator.

Three, Magma's momentum continues with the Titan. Twelve customers are said to be using this tool. Madhavan also updated on the Quartz DRC and LVS -- which are ready to go. AMD, Samsung, Nvidia, etc. are among the users.

Finally, FineSIM SPICE and FineSIM Pro. This is said to have been a big success for Magma. Madhavan also added that there will be some unique technology announcements from Magma in the June time frame. "We have five very new technologies that will be launched at DAC 2010," he added.

Magma's India strategy
Madhavan also introduced Alok Mehrotra as the new managing director of Magma India. He noted: "Over the next couple of months, we will be beefing up our profile in sales and marketing. We also want India to be the hotbed for some of the new technologies we are bringing in."

Madhavan said: "For about 18 months, we looked at our technologies and tried to determine how we can differentiate. We are now launching 10 tools. We have also had three good quarters. As the economy improves, we will get these differentiated tools out." On India, he said: "Over the last five years, India's semicon designers have achieved a lot of credibility. We are fairly bullish about our prospects."

According to him, Magma has lot of traction in the mixed signal and analog areas.

Mehrotra added: "We are financially stable. We now see a huge growth in mixed signal designs. We are going to be providing technology leadership. Third, consolidation and growth -- it will help drive adoption of new technology."

Points to note
Some thoughts on Magma's MUSIC India 2010 event itself. Now, I really hate comparing, but if I may, for a moment, compare the event with Mentor's User2User, Cadence's CDNLive India, and Synopsys' SNUG India, certain things really stood out this time.

One, I've attended past editions of MUSIC India, but this year, the attendance was low, and I am not even comparing it with the other EDA events. Two, the keynotes at other EDA events are generally held in the early part of the program and the global CEOs normally spend a good time on it. This time, at MUSIC India, Magma's CEO keynote was held way beyond noon, really behind schedule, and appeared to be a bit rushed.

One really fails to see the need for paper presentations, while the keynote is held back! Or, is it that India is not considered important for keynotes, which, in this case, was all about product announcements?

Also, not everything announced is new. I've either read or heard about some of those already, and a few releases are already on my PC's Semicon Blog! Am sure, many others have either heard or read about those. For instance, if five products had already been launched, it would have been good to have some papers, on say, Tekton.

I also expected Magma to reveal something about its YieldManager for solar fabs, but well, didn't hear anything about it, although clean tech was mentioned a couple of times.

Finally, a warm welcome back to Magma and to India to Alok Mehrotra, the new managing director of Magma India. I was very fortunate to meet Alok in New Delhi -- during his visit back in March 2004, to set up Magma India.

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