A View from the Top: A Virtual Prototyping Blog


Calling Even More Spirits …

This is a follow-up post to my previous post on effort related to hardware and software design called “Riding the Software Hockey Stick”. I did get a couple of comments, which are related to the the validity of the the data I presented.  Well, sometimes you just have to admit that you were wrong … So what did I do wrong? This was not quite as bad as the spirits I had called in my blog conversation with Ran Avinun from Cadence (for the non-Germans, the reference to “the spirits I called” comes from an old Goethe poem).

I was very excited to try out a new tool I downloaded to try the animation of .gif files. So why not combine my experiment with some blogging? I had participated to questions to some of the surveys we did here at Synopsys, specifically as it relates to the effort spent during projects on hardware and software development. The question we asked was “What percentage of your total project effort is spent on software development (vs. hardware development) during design?”. We asked this question at several events starting at the Synopsys User Group (SNUG) in Santa Clara 2008, all the way through 2008 at the other worldwide SNUG events and then through 2009 at DVCon and two virtual conferences.

Using my new tool I have the animated those results and then claimed a trend towards more software versus hardware. Brian Bailey rightfully pointed out that I should not have put the results from different events in sequence in order to determine a trend. And he is right, this is where I went wrong, even though the animation looks nice and seemed to indicate a trend.

The second set of comments was related to the animation itself, that it was difficult to follow and also difficult on the eyes. So below you find the data in an un-animated fashion. I also followed Jacob Engblom’s recommendation to check on the different communities which actually answered the survey.

My take away from all this is as follows:

  • While I was wrong to indicate a trend over time, the importance of software the overall chip related project development effort  remains unquestionably an important issue.
  • Results of the survey taken at the Virtual Multicore Conference 2009 skews the data the most, given the very high percentage of software engineers and system architects.
  • The communities for the first three data sets and also the final one are pretty closely comparable.
  • Going forward I will try to make sure that we ask the same questions on the community definition to make sure that we can compare the communities.

At the end of the day I lost a little bit too eager to try to outline a trend here, but when looking at the data objectively it is very clear that software is very important for project success. The fact that this is true across different communities who answered the surveys makes it even more sticky.

Thank you now for your reference the data I had animated right next to each other:

1 image

2 image

3 image

4 image

5 image

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