Meet the Electronic System Design Alliance

By Paul Dempsey |  No Comments  |  Posted: March 31, 2016
Topics/Categories: Conferences, Blog - EDA, Embedded, - General, Blog - IP, - Market Research, Blog - PCB  |  Tags: ,  | Organizations: ,

The EDA Consortium is now the Electronic System Design Alliance (ESDA), reflecting a change not only in its name but also its strategy as it seeks to represent the entire pre-manufacturing design flow.

The new look, introduced today (March 31), expresses the greater role played by software, IP, packaging and third-party design services alongside EDA tools in developing today’s ICs.

The change follows the appointment last year of Bob Smith as the then EDAC’s Executive Director. “On coming in, it was clear that the name ‘EDA Consortium’ was something that a lot of companies looked and thought it wasn’t for them. But they have become critical to IC design. EDA in itself is critical to designing ICs, but now there is also software; there’s IP blocks and much more.

“If you look at how SEMI operates, it is representative of the entire manufacturing ecosystem. What we now want to do is to mirror that, so that we represent the entire design ecosystem.”

Similarly, the change reflects a trend among larger EDA vendors to move beyond their core market. Mentor Graphics has a long-standing position in embedded software, but has also added expertise in thermal modeling and is looking to promote the use of its Calibre software beyond traditional DFM. Both Synopsys and Cadence Design Systems have become major players in the IP market, from processor cores to that used in verification, and the former has also been sharply increasing its software activities through acquisitions such as Coverity.

Nevertheless, ESDA’s Smith acknowledges that there is still plenty to do to widen his organization’s membership. “It’s going to be hard work at the beginning but we felt there was a need to stir things up,” he says.

New ESDA working groups

The immediate plan is to reach out to that wider potential membership by launching ESDA working groups addressing specific, practical needs within the IP, packaging/3DIC and embedded software sectors. Smith outlined details of the first two.

“For IP, we already have companies like ARM and Sonics as members. But to extend our attraction there, we’re working with Warren Savage [President and CEO of IPextreme]. He’s leading a group developing a common fingerprinting methodology for tracking usage that’s very elegant because it can do that without exposing design data,” Smith says.

“In 3DIC, we’re getting together with Herb Reiter [President of eda2asic] who is one of the leading consultants in the field. The working group we’ve got there is looking at that bridge between design and manufacturing. The manufacturers have made big investments but the designers need more automation, more modeling and ways to address the process that go beyond the traditional PDK. That group will look into how you achieve that.”

A specific task for the embedded group is still coalescing. “You have the big players like [Intel subsidiary] Wind River and Green Hills [Software], but further down it becomes a very fragmented sector with companies doing a lot of different things. What we’ll mainly go for is those companies that address where the software directly touches the silicon, where you need their code to make the chip work,” Smith says.

The new activities will run in addition ESDA’s ongoing involvements in such areas as EDA market sales data, political lobbying, working groups covering topics such as exports and piracy, and support for major IC design events (e.g., DAC).

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