Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Global semiconductor companies delivering platforms: Jaswinder Ahuja, Cadence

Some time ago, Cadence Design Systems Inc. had announced the EDA360 vision! As per Jaswinder Ahuja, corporate VP and MD of Cadence Design Systems India, the Cadence vision of EDA360 is said to be well and alive. The organization has been aligned around the EDA360 vision.

The EDA360 is a five-year vision for defining the trends in the EDA industry, based on what Cadence is observing in the industry and the direction in which, it feels, the industry will go.

At Cadence, the Silicon Realization Group is headed by Dr. Chi-ping Hsu. The SoC Realization Group is headed by Martin Lund, and Nimish Modi is looking after the System Realization Group. Cadence's focus has been on in-house development and innovation. Tempus has been a major announcement from the Silicon Realization Group.

What's going on with EDA360?
There has been a renewed thrust in the SoC Realization Group at Cadence. Already, there have been three acquisitions this year -- Cosmic Circuits, Tensilica and Evatronix. Cadence is buying the IP part of the business from Evatronix. This acquisition is ongoing and will be announced in June 2013.

On the relationship between the electronics and the EDA industries, Ahuja said that the electronics industry was currently going through a transition, and that the EDA industry needs to change. The importance of system-level design has increased. Companies are currently focusing on optimizing the end user experience.


IP gains importance
Today, global semiconductor companies are concentrating on developing and delivering platforms. Now, this trend has been around for some years, but has gathered momentum lately. For example, a decade ago, IP was not considered to be important. Today, that perception has changed!

Cadence's IP portfolio is such that it will not conflict with key partners, such as ARM, Imagination, etc. In the System Realization Group, Cadence has C-2-Silicon Compiler, Virtual System Platform (VSP) and Rapid Prototyping Platform (RPP). The RPP is complementary to the Cadence Palladium series.

Cadence has key industry partnerships such as those with TSMC and ARM. In the past, when a foundry used to announce a new process node, it was with an industry partner, and not any EDA company. Now, the new node announcements are with EDA companies, and especially, Cadence. An example is the ARM 64-bit core on TSMC 16nm FinFET process.

This April, there was an announcement regarding ARM and Cadence partnering to implement the industry’s first Cortex-A57 64-bit processor on TSMC 16nm FinFET process. Cadence has similar announcements with GlobalFoundries, IBM and Samsung.

Nodes to co-exist
An emerging trend today is that multiple process nodes are co-existing, which Cadence believes will continue to exist. The industry is witnessing a clustering of nodes. It is said to be economical to move on to lower nodes if a semiconductor company has the capability.

The 16nm node is under qualification. Bear in mind that a unless a design is available, a customer cannot do much. Cadence is said to be working with foundry partners to develop the design infrastructure at the most advanced nodes. IP definitely needs to be available for everything. Tensilica and Cosmic Circuits are helping Cadence in the IP business.

Promising startups in India
The Indian semiconductor industry is said to have some promising companies such as Ineda Systems and ThinCI, both of whom are Hyderabad based firms. The companies are said to be in product development. Today, acquisition seems to be a reliable path to exit. It is therefore, better to place bets on startups.

The government of India has now recognized electronics as a strategic sector. The electronic development fund (EDF) is said to be pending. It would be great should the EDF come through. Some industry clusters have also been formed, for instance, automotive in Pune and power in the National Capital Region (NCR). The Indian electronics and semiconductor industries can be successful with or without the presence of a fab, Ahuja concluded.

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