It is always a pleasure speaking with Dr. Wally Rhines, chairman and CEO, Mentor Graphics Corp. The last time I met him was at Santa Cruz, USA, during a global electronics forum in April this year.
Outlook for global semicon in 2014
Rhines said: "The outlook for the global semicon industry in 2014 is
modestly positive. Most analysts will see single digiit growth. In
memory, we have short supply vs. demand. While we had consolidation of
the wireless industry, we still have volumes of handsets, tablets, etc.
In the US, tablets are said to be the biggest growth area during Xmas.
you look at any product, you look at what more can it do. You look at
more and more features that can be added. We have specialization in
ARM-based chips. There are enough change dynamics that show demand.
iPad bridged the gap between the portable PC and phone. The
infrastructure of apps has now made a huge infrastructure. If you are
dependant on apps, there can be a differentiator.
electronics is another great opportunity. However, it is still a small
market. The electronic watch is interesting. We are in an era where
there are some things that are key, and some require figuring out.
will be more and more need for specific devices, rather than only
applications in future. The same thing was with the PC, which went from
custom to specific needs."
In that case, how is the global semiconductor industry performing having entering the sub 20nm era?
said that 2014 is going to be a big year. There will be releases of
14/16nm technologies. This will be the year when customers will be doing
tests. There are companies in all regions of the world that will be
doing such stuff.
Have FinFETs gone to 20nm? Are those looking for power reduction now benefiting?
Rhines said: "The big advantage is leakage. FinFET dramatically impacts
current leakage. Now, attention will shift to dynamic power. It will
once again be predominantly the consumer of power in large chips."
Outlook for EDA
Now, let's see what's the outlook for the global EDA industry in 2014.
Rhines said: "Whenever you create new technologies, you will need EDA.
So, EDA will grow. New designs will also need EDA. There will be new EDA
tools. EDA is now addressing thermal and stress issues in verification
and design. Caliber PERC is our main product here. The upgrades are good
for EDA. There are new things they have to adopt, in these tools.
Let's talk about embedded. Mentor released the new version of Sourcery CodeBench. What does it stand to gain?
Panicker, sales director, Mentor Graphics India said the Sourcery
CodeBench is a real-time operating system (RTOS). That product is
gaining momentum. Large MNC customers like Qualcomm are adopting this.
Among small firms, there are medical, energy meter companies that are
handling it as well.
Dr. Rhines added that Sorcery CodeBench is
indicative of a trend - it is very open source based. It is now 20,000
downloads a month, so that is a big community.
Next is there any scope for the growth of biomems and optical telecom industry?
said that both areas are interesting. Biomems are still a fairly small
market. It is going to be evolutionary. As for optical telecom, over the
last year or two, all participants have gone into a silent mode. Mentor
is working with a number of customers.
Five trends to rule in 2014
Now, it was quiz time. First, the top five trends in the EDA industry during 2014. Dr. Rhines said:
Growth of emulation for verification. The market is growing at over
CAGR of 25 percent. Emulation is really big. It will be a big game
changer for EDA.
* Continued pressure on power as we go to FinFETs.
* Power reduction.
* Yield analysis for 14/16nm. A near range can be security.
Now, the top five trends for semiconductors in 2014! Dr. Rhines mentioned these as:
* Move to 14/16nm and cost.
* Growth in hybrid functions is another trend.
* Basic IoT.
* Security - how you verify designs.
* Continued commoditization of wireless applications.
Saving closure time
can folks save closure time and boost performance by incorporating
knowledge of physically-aware design early into your front-end design
Dr. Rhines said: "You need to do more things
in parallel, and faster. Emulation has become popular. You can do
embedded development faster. You can also do timing closure.
are other things - there are fixed things in design that won't change.
There is a need to do more trade-offs in design and do work parallely,
What's with the Connected car?
car networking technologies are said to be getting importance. What is
state of their hardware and software development?
connected car, traditional protocols are inefficient. In the connected
car, collision avoidance is going to be a very big thing. By 2015, there
will be key things added. BMW is connected to Amazon via 3G. We are
using connected networks.
Dr. Rhines added: "I would like to see
third parties to write apps that can help cars. However, the automotive
OEMs are concerned about losing control of their vehicles. They also
don't want to be locked out. They see a dramatic move to open source,
especially to infotainment.
"Audio is the first thing. Children
in backseats want videos. These people are all tied into GENIVI." GENIVI
is a non-profit industry alliance committed to driving the broad
adoption of an in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) open-source development
Finally, let's look at the status of 3D ICs. How is Mentor helping with true 3D stacking integration?
Rhines said: "We got involved in 3D ICs very early. We developed tools
to solve problems. We have designs for test products that are in the
market for some time. Now, the challenge is to get people to do
multi-die 3D designs."
SMEs in India
Lastly, a look at the SMEs in India. What's happening at that front?
Rhines said: "The number of fabless start-ups has been declining
worldwide, but India has held up well. A cottage of IP creators has come
up, and that's where India has come up. India is a great place for AMS,
power devices, etc. A capability to do embedded hardware and software
design is also important. India has proficiencies in both."
Panicker added: "We have seen an increase in the resources in India by 35 percent. There are a couple of great companies."