Committed to Memory


Going Purple

Hello and welcome to the Synopsys DDR Blog!

This is my first time as a blogger, and although I’ve lost count of how many conferences I’ve spoken at and papers I’ve written on the topic of DDR DRAM, this is a new experience for me and I hope that you, the reader, will enjoy the ride as much as I will.

The blogging gurus tell me the first thing I should do is to introduce myself and explain why I’m writing this blog, so here goes:

My name is Marc Greenberg, and my official title is Director, Product Marketing, at Synopsys responsible for DDR Controllers. I’ll be co-blogging this blog with Graham Allan who is responsible for DDR PHYs and who is also very well known in this industry.

I received a 5-year Masters’ degree from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland in 1993 (which was one of the worlds’ top 20 Universities at the time) and my life has been divided between Canada, the UK, and Texas. Almost all of my career has been involved in IP in some way, from the first startup that I worked for (which was acquired by Motorola), to my own small startup, to the IPWorks group at Motorola, to Denali, to Cadence, and now to Synopsys.

I found my passion for DDR DRAM starting with Denali in 2003. At the time, most chips were using SDR-SDRAM and transitioning to DDR1. The LPDDR (mDDR) spec had not been published, and we were trying to figure out how to build a controller for DDR2. I participated in the development of the LPDDR2 standard and attended many of the JEDEC standards meetings discussing DDR3, LPDDR3, DDR4, and Wide IO. This month I attended the JEDEC meeting in Austin where next-generation standards like LPDDR4, Wide IO2 and HBM are being discussed.

Many people ask me why I like working with DDR DRAM, and the answer is that the memory interface is incredibly critical to the operation of the chip, coming close to and sometimes exceeding the importance of the CPU. The great thing about being in DDR Controller IP marketing is that I get tremendous visibility into the inner workings of so many of the world’s cutting edge chips in a way that few other roles could offer.

Digital chips are mostly about moving data around and occasionally doing operations on that data. The more data consumed by a part of the chip, the more important it is, and the more likely it will be connected to the DDR memory controller. From the perspective of the DDR controller, I can see what CPU is in use, how the PCIe, USB, SATA, Ethernet and other interfaces are connected into the chip, GPUs, encryption engines, and get a high-level architectural understanding of each of the chips that I talk to people about. It’s hard to imagine another role with this breadth of visibility into so many different chips.

Another question that people ask me is why I joined a larger company like Synopsys instead of a smaller startup. It’s true that Synopsys is the largest company that I joined voluntarily (if you don’t count my internship at Ford) because my time at Motorola and Cadence were the results of acquisitions of smaller companies I worked at, so some people who know me think of me as a “small company guy”. The truth is, I don’t dislike large companies, I dislike the inefficiencies that are sometimes found at large companies.

When I considered moving my career to Synopsys, I did a significant amount of checking on the effectiveness of the team I would be joining at Synopsys and found that everyone I talked to had good things to say about Synopsys in general and my management chain and team in particular. John Koeter, the group VP, has been exceptional in putting together an all-star IP marketing team including my boss, Navraj Nandra. It’s great to be on the DDR IP marketing “Dream Team” with Graham Allan. This is a team that executes with excellence and efficiency and I’m proud to be a part of it.

One of the first emails I received when I announced that I was going to Synopsys was a friend and colleague demanding to know why I had “gone Purple” (referring to the color of Synopsys’s logo of course). Which brings me to one of my passions outside of work, Formula 1 racing. In the world of Formula 1, “gone purple” means that one has set the fastest time on that part of the lap. I haven’t won the race yet, but by joining Synopsys, I have certainly gone purple in this sector.

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