Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Synopsys makes good use of social media to connect with customers!

The IEEE, the world’s leading professional association for the advancement of technology, hosted a Global Standards at IEEE seminar in Bangalore, India, today at the Leela Palace Hotel, Bangalore.

As part of its program to reach out to global technologists, the IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA) offered this seminar as part of a full outreach program in India. Bringing together leaders from industry, the seminar focused on global standards development at the IEEE and collaborative efforts among organizations and industry. It covered an overview of the IEEE standards development process, including discussion of the IEEE-SA Corporate Program and the IEEE standards intellectual property rights policy.

One of the speakers, Karen Bartleson, Senior Director, Community Marketing, Synopsys and IEEE-SA Corporate Advisory Group member, had a presentation on IEEE Standards for Design Automation: Their Impact on an industry. I managed to catch up with Karen alongside the IEEE seminar. We discussed a host of things, such as Synopsys’ activities in the social media, its role in the IEEE and the University program.

One of Karen’s focus areas is the Synopsys standards program. The program is about ensuring the proper participation by Synopsys in the standards that its customers need.

She said: “We are involved in over 60 standards committees. We sit on the boards of several standard development organizations (SDOs). I am involved in four governing committees of the IEEE-SA. These are: Standards Board, Corporate Advisory Group, Procedures Committee (ProCom), and Audit Committee (AudCom) — they audit policies and procedures.”

Last year, Karen was a member of the New Standards Committee (NesCom). This committee approves of all the project authorization requests (PARs) made to the IEEE.

The IEEE 1800-2009 SystemVerilog standard has been recently approved. The new IEEE 1800 defines a single, comprehensive standard language that is designed to help boost the productivity of electronic system design and verification engineers and make possible broader and improved Electronic Design Automation (EDA) tools to more quickly bring complex system-on-chip (SoC) devices to market.

1800-2009 changes from the previous version: The most important enhancement was the assertion "checker" blocks that encapsulate assertions and their supporting code, providing a mechanism for defining assertion libraries, and letting designers add assertions without needing to learn SVA (SystemVerilog assertions).

Karen added that now the IEEE is preparing a new PAR to take this standard to the next level. In fact, participants contributed their proposals last Friday (Mar. 5). “That shows the vitality of the standard,” she added. All of this also shows the dynamic nature of EDA.

She also touched upon the IEEE 1801 standard, which is based on the Unified Power Format (UPF). It was ratified last year by the IEEE.

Synopsys’ university program
According to Karen Bartleson, Synopsys has a worldwide university program. She said: “We have approximately 1,000 universities globally under the program. We highlight is our rich curriculum. As we have actual course materials, etc., professors can start a brand new class or add to the existing or new material.” Synopsys’ goal is to prepare the next generation of engineers with hands-on experience.

The Indian university members in Synopsys' worldwide university program: In the 2009 annual site update, there were a total of 119 sites in India up from 77 in 2008. This includes one site for D’gipro, who has about 20 universities getting tools through them and who do not have individual sites of their own. Of the 119, a total of 38 are Tier 1. This doesn't include the ones who are joining the Seer/Synopsys program.

According to her, there are three aspects to build a global IT company. These are: a) A university system to train engineers; b) An industry — to hire graduates; and c) A government — that supports institutions and perhaps, provides incentives to the industry.

Synopsys currently works with some national governments, especially in places such as Armenia and Dubai — at the Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority (DSOA), which I happened to visit during the International Electronics Forum (IEF) 2008.

Focus on social media
To my pleasant surprise, social media is high on the agenda at Synopsys. Karen said: “We are discovering that social media can be an extremely powerful medium for connecting with customers. On the Synopsys website, we currently have blogs as well as some forums. We call it as G2G (geek-to-geek communications.”

Synopsys started “The Buzz” at DAC 2009. It started ‘Conversation Central’ — where Synopsys set up 27 sessions. Synopsys also did the ‘Twitter Tower.” A 16-foot pedestal was set up with several monitors — all of those were displaying the various tweets being made during DAC.

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