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So you think verifying an FPGA is a piece of cake? Think again.

Posted by Hannah Conrad on June 30th, 2013

Guest: Sheela Pillai, Director of Verification, Altera

Host: Yvette Huygen, Director Worldwide Public Relations and Corporate Communications, Synopsys Inc.

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With the spotlight on increasing complexity of microprocessors and SoCs, it’s tempting to think that FPGA verification isn’t so difficult. After all, FPGAs are much smaller so their challenges are smaller, too, right? Wrong. Sheela Pillai talks about why FPGA simulation is not only different from verifying other kinds of chips, but it comes with unique challenges that are no less daunting.

Sheela Pillai: “FPGA design has changed quite a bit over the years, specifically for the last decade. It is becoming more and more realization to silicon. It is more hard IPs and functionalities integrated in silicon.”

During the show, Sheela talks about:

  • What makes the modern FPGA so challenging and complicated
  • The most complicated challenge she has faced when dealing with FPGAs today
  • The challenges she faces when introducing new FPGA methodologies and what she does to convince people to adopt them
  • Her involvement in  interesting allocations that complex FPGAs have been used in
  • Advice she would give to engineering students
  • Her thoughts on whether or not the complex FPGA will become more complex in the future

Links of Interest:

Altera

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Posted in Verification | Comments Off

CAD Research and Education in Extreme Scaling and Beyond

Posted by Hannah Conrad on June 26th, 2013

Guest: Dr. David Z. Pan, Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering, University of Texas at Austin

Host: Karen Bartleson, Director, Community Marketing, Synopsys Inc.

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What is behind the advances in technology that we don’t always see as employees of EDA, semiconductor, and electronics companies? Research, of course. Universities continue to be a critical constituent in the evolution of our astonishing success. Dr. David Z. Pan tells us about the research his group undertakes in pushing the design-manufacturing envelope as they constantly look forward in technology.

Dr. Pan: “Recently my group has been working quite a lot on pushing 3D-IC manufacturing issues and reliability issues. As we know for the time being, scaling is continuing. We have 14 nm and 10 nm on the horizon but ultimately the horizontal scaling stops and the vertical [must start].”

Dr. Pan talks about:

  • What is going on in his research group as they push the design envelope
  • 3D-IC
  • Extreme scaling
  • A bio project that one of his PHD students worked on
  • Self-assembly
  • Nanophotonics
  • Whether or not he thinks the next generation is being well prepared to enter the workforce and cary on the always-faster-moving world of technology

Links of Interest:

University of Texas at Austin

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Posted in Education, Manufacturing | 1 Comment »

Mobility Helps the World Advance; Integrated SoCs Help the World Communicate

Posted by Hannah Conrad on June 20th, 2013

Guest: Scott Runner, Vice President of Engineering, Qualcomm Technologies

Host:  Yvette Huygen, Director Worldwide Public Relations and Corporate Communications, Synopsys Inc.

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There are over 6 billion mobile connections, over 1 billion people access social media with their phones, 80% of users rely exclusively on their cellphones to take photos, 80% use their phones to navigate, a third watch movies on their phone.  The world is getter smaller, thanks to the dramatic improvements in communication technologies, devices, and policies.

The future of global telecommunications is being enabled by design automation. That’s because underlying this socio-economic shift is the modern, unbelievably complex System-on-a-Chip (SoC).

Scott Runner of Qualcomm Technologies Inc. discusses how mobility and integrated SoCs have helped the world advance through communications.

Scott Runner: “What SoCs have fostered is the ability to integrate different disparate technologies that have enabled mobility. For example, the ability to integrate a modem technology that allows you to place a 4G LTE voice call, data call, while also playing video games and . . . be on a video call. You can do a lot of disparate things together on one platform with reasonable power without burning out your battery in a short period of time.  SoCs have enabled that.”

During the show Scott discusses:

  • Why he believes SoCs are at the heart of a very critical soci-economic shift that is taking place in how people communicate globally.
  • Specifically how SoCs are impacting the shift.
  • The next generation’s visions/ideas and whether or not they will be what drives what happens ongoing in communications and integration of SoCs.
  • Whether or not people recognize and understand the importance of this topic.
  • His perspective on what has to change and what technologies have to catch up and be imagined and created to help make this shift happen.
  • What he thinks is going to happen in the next five to fifteen years that is intriguing in relation to this shift in in communications.

Links of Interests:

Qualcomm Technologies

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Posted in Architecture & System Design, Business, General Interest, Implementation | Comments Off

A Chat with Ed Sperling – Did you ever think of Mixed-signal Virtual Prototyping? Black-magic or reality?

Posted by Hannah Conrad on June 18th, 2013

Guest: Martin Barnasconi, Product manager / cluster leader AMS/RF system design methods, NXP Semiconductors

Guest Host: Ed Sperling, Editor in Chief, System Level Design

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Designing a mixed-signal chip isn’t a simple process, even at 140 nanometers. Designers have to tightly connect the analog, digital and software content on these chips, facing numerous challenges in order to get the architecture right the first time.

In a conversation with Ed Sperling, Martin Barnasconi talks about how system-level verification, virtual prototyping and even analog IP reuse can play important roles in addressing these challenges, and about why it’s so important to cross the boundaries of analog, digital and software.

Martin Barnasconi: “Systems are evolving, and whether you like it or not software will control your radio function…We need tools where software and digital and analog hardware come together.”

In this show, Martin talks about:

  • The challenges of tightly connecting analog, digital and even software content on mixed signal chips: Functional and system-level verification
  • Multi-chip solutions
  • Whether the digital or analog side of creating mixed-signal chips is more painful
  • Time-to-market pressures and what they could mean for the reuse of analog IP
  • The possibility of prototyping in the analog space
  • The need to deal with different competencies, whether you are an analog, digital or software designer

Links of Interest:

NXP Semiconductors

System Level Design

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Posted in Architecture & System Design, Verification | Comments Off

The Case for Cyber-physical and Embedded Systems Education

Posted by Hannah Conrad on June 12th, 2013

Guest: Dr. Peter Marwedel, Technische Universität Dortmund, Germany

Host: Karen Bartleson, Director, Community Marketing, Synopsys Inc.

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Information technology is becoming increasingly pervasive and essential for our life and for almost all sciences and industrial sectors. This is poorly reflected in today’s education, which is still very limited to certain disciplines.

In our conversation with Dr. Peter Marwedel, he passionately shares the need for teaching engineering students about the integration of information technology with other sciences and sectors. In particular, he will talk about approaches for embedded system education and its extension toward cyber-physical system education.

Peter Marwedel: “There is hardly any industrial sector which is not influenced by information technology. If you look at physics and other sciences like chemistry and biology, you need a lot of computers and a lot of computing to get the results. The computers are really key to success in say, biology. Consider the analysis of DNA, for example . . . [it] became feasible only because of information technology. I think the introduction of the term “cyber-physical systems” reflects this trend really well in that it expresses and stresses the fact that we have this integration between information technology and physics. . .”

In this show, Peter talks about:

  • How information technology is being integrated with other sciences and sectors
  • The meaning of the term “cyber-physical”
  • His perspective of the level of difficulty in multi-core challenges in various areas of technology
  • His thoughts on whether or not this generation of engineers is being well educated and prepared to go into a cyber-physical field
  • How industry can help prepare students

Check out Peter’s book, Embedded System Design.

Links of Interest:

Technische Universität Dortmund

Karen Bartleson and Dr. Peter Marwedel

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Posted in Architecture & System Design, Education | Comments Off

Conversation Central at DAC 2013

Posted by Hannah Conrad on May 31st, 2013

If you are going to be at DAC 2013 in Austin Texas, come join us live in Synopsys Booth (#947).

We hope to see you there!

(Please click to enlarge)

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Posted in Conversation Central | Comments Off

TechSF: Equipping San Francisco Residents to Work in Tech

Posted by Hannah Conrad on May 23rd, 2013

Guests: Hamid Mahmoodi, Associate Professor of Computer Engineering, San Francisco State University; Rhonda Simmons, Director, Workforce Development, Office of Economic and Workforce Development, City and County of San Francisco; Dan Stoner, Recruiter, “Minister of Possibilities”, Bay Area Video Coalition

Host: Karen Bartleson, Senior Directory, Community Marketing, Synopsys Inc.

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In an offline conversation, Professor Hamid Mamoodi mentioned a new and growing program called TechSF. In a nutshell, we learned that TechSF was a program started by the City of San Francisco to equip San Francisco residents with the skills to work in tech.

Since the tech industry is near and dear to our hearts, we wanted to learn more about TechSF. We traveled up to San Francisco to the Bay Area Video Coalition (BAVC), one of TechSF’s program partners, to find out more about this fascinating program from Hamid Mahmoodi, Rhonda Simmons, and Dan Stoner.

Quotes from the show:

Dan: TechSF was set up [by the mayor’s office] to help support the tech sector in San Francisco . . . [and to] support job seekers and hiring managers and put the two together in a unique way.

Rhonda: We try to focus on individuals . . . that may not typically engage in technology: women, various ethnic groups, populations that are poorly represented in the field. Our focus is to outreach, do recruitment and really try to target individuals that may or may not understand the industry and know how to get into it. [TechSF also targets] . . . folks that need a certain amount of retraining . . .

Hamid: San Francisco State University is one of the many partners involved in this project. We are on the education side. . . . Our role is to ensure that our graduates obtain the skill that is demanded of them in the marketplace in the tech industry. We try to achieve this goal by working with the [TechSF] partners and the tech industry [itself] to understand what the skills are, what the current trends are and then see which of those are lacking in the curriculum. Then, we try to bridge the gap by introducing project based learning opportunities to our students.

In this show, you will learn:

  • What TechSF is
  • How to sign up for the BAVC program
  • How long TechSF has been in place, where it stands now, and where the City of San Francisco would like the program to be in the next year
  • About success stories
  • How companies, universities, communities, and individuals can support TechSF

Links of Interest:

TechSF

Bay Area Video Coalition (BAVC)

San Francisco State University

From left: Karen Bartleson, Hamid Mamoodi, Rhonda Simmons, and Dan Stoner

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Posted in Education, General Interest | Comments Off

Smart Grid, Smart Lives

Posted by Hannah Conrad on April 23rd, 2013

*This show was recorded in December, 2012.

Guest: Chris King, Chair, Smart Energy Demand Coalition

Host: Karen Bartleson, Senior Directory, Community Marketing, Synopsys Inc.

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Chris King, Chair of the Smart Energy Demand Coalition, is a luminary on Smart Grid. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Demand Response and Smart Grid Coalition, the Association for Demand Response and Smart Grid, the U.S. Demand Response National Action Plan Coalition, and Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative.

What is Smart Grid?

Chris says, “The Smart Grid is really what the Smart Grid does not was the Smart Grid is. [It’s about] what benefits it brings. It brings energy savings, peak demand reduction, more renewable energy, cleaner energy, [and] more convenience to consumers. The technical definition is ‘adding sensors, controllers and meters.’”

In short, what the Smart Grid is varies from consumer to consumer, because it boils down to how people individually utilize the technology.

During the show, Chris talks about

  • What Smart Grid is.
  • The SmartMeter and Smart Grid technology as a whole.
  • Where Smart Grid technology exists today.
  • Whether or not Smart Grid technology invades personal privacy and causes heath issues.
  • The possibility of a global Smart Grid and whether or not challenges exist for emerging countries.

*This show was recorded in December, 2012.

Links of Interest:

Smart Energy Demand Coalition

Demand Response and Smart Grid Coalition

Association for Demand Response and Smart Grid

U.S. Demand Response National Action Plan Coalition

Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative

SmartMeter

Green Button

Blue Button

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Posted in Architecture & System Design, Business, General Interest, Standards | Comments Off

Making the Internet Work

Posted by Hannah Conrad on March 15th, 2013

Guest: Russ Housley, Former* Chair, Internet Engineering Task Force

Host: Karen Bartleson, Sr. Director, Community Marketing, Synopsys Inc.

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Have you ever wondered how the Internet works?

It is organizations like the Internet Engineering Task Force that make the Internet function as such an interconnected part of our everyday lives. Russ Housley, Former* Chair of the Internet Engineering Task Force, joined us on Conversation Central to give us a look at the work behind the Internet.

Russ Housley: “The Internet is both a technological thing and a sociological thing.”

During the show, Russ talks about

  • What the Internet is and how it works
  • The voluntary standards produced by the IETF
  • A couple of the widely deployed and widely successful Internet standards
  • The secret to making the IETF work when there is no voting within the organization
  • Rough consensus and running code
  • His proudest moments so far with the IETF
  • What he sees for the future of the Internet

*Update (3/21/13): Russ Housley is now the Chair of the Internet Architecture Board

Links of interest:

Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)

Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)

World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)

Internet Society (ISOC)

Internet Architecture Board (IAB)

Five Principles of OpenStand

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Posted in General Interest, Standards | 1 Comment »

DVCon! 10 years? 25 years? What’s exciting about the 2013 conference

Posted by Hannah Conrad on February 15th, 2013

Guests: Stan Krolikoski, General Chair, DVCon; Distinguished Engineer, Cadence Design Systems, and Dr. Ambar Sarkar, Technical Program Chair, DVCon; Chief Verification Technologist, Paradigm Works

Host: Yvette Huygen, Director, Worldwide Public Relations and Corporate Communications, Synopsys Inc.

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If you will be in the San Francisco Bay Area from February 15th – February 25th, join other design and verification experts at the 2013 Design and Verification Conference (DVCon).

We paid an early visit to the Double Tree hotel in San Jose CA, the home of DVCon 2013, to talk to two of its key organizers, Stan Krolikoski and Ambar Sarkar, about DVCon’s rich history and future. Stan is the General Chair and Ambar is the Technical Program Chair of this year’s DVCon, which is sponsored by Accellera. They are energized about what you can expect and look forward to at the conference.

Stan: “They key [of DVCon] is imparting knowledge. I want the newbie who comes, who is just starting out in design and verification, to learn a lot.  I want someone like Ambar to come around and get just one nugget out of the conference that makes him say, ‘I could use that I work.’”

Ambar: “In my profession, I’m a consultant, and I work with the whole spectrum of people who are at different levels of maturity. I can honestly say (and this is what excites me) to each and every one on of my customers: You can go to DVCon and learn something from the conference . . . ”
During the show, Ambar and Stan talk about:
• What led DVCon to its 25th year
• A surprise ending to a near-disaster: a no-show speaker
• The culture of DVCon
• What is exciting about the upcoming conference

Links of interest:
DVCon
Accellera

Ambar Sarkar, Yvette Huygen and Stan Krolikoski

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Posted in Verification | Comments Off