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CoWare to acquire Lisatek for embedded apps clout

Posted: 29 Jan 2003 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:coware? lisatek? electronic design automation? eda? embedded processor tool?

Aiming for leadership in the system-level design market, CoWare Inc. is expected to formally announce this week, its acquisition of Lisatek Inc., an electronic design automation startup that provides embedded processor development tools. Lisatek is a 10-person company, but it is backed by a large research institute and has technology that won a "best paper" award at last year's Design Automation Conference.

Lisatek, formed to commercialize research from the Institute for Integrated Signal Processing Systems (ISS) at Aachen University in Germany, will ship several products that automate embedded processor design. CoWare, which was spun out of the Interuniversity Microelectronics Center, a research institute in Belgium, sells the N2C design and simulation system for SoCs.

All 10 Lisatek employees will join CoWare, said Alan Naumann, CoWare president and CEO, and CoWare will now have access to the work of about 40 researchers at ISS. Moreover, Naumann noted that Lisatek founder Heinrich Meyr, ISS head and "one of the top five or six EDA researchers and academics in the world," is joining CoWare's board of directors.

"CoWare is trying to position itself to be the power at the ES [electronic system] level," said Gary Smith, chief EDA analyst at Gartner Dataquest, a research consultancy. "Lisatek brings some great technology. It is a very interesting buy."

Lisatek's three tools let users design the hardware and software of an embedded processor using the proprietary Lisa language, and then pass VHDL and C to traditional tool flows. Using the Edge Processor Designer, users describe the instructions of their embedded processor. The RIM Software Designer generates a linker, compiler, assembler, and debugger. The Hub System Integrator generates VHDL for portions of the processor model.

Instruction set simulation

With the Lisatek acquisition, Naumann said, CoWare can take advantage of a trend toward multiple-processing elements. An immediate win for CoWare, Naumann said, is Lisatek's fast-instruction-set simulation technology.

Lisatek also brings an embedded-software development and debugging environment that can handle multicore designs, Naumann said. "I think the big play for EDA, and the way to grow the industry by a factor of two, is to get much more into the embedded-software market," Naumann observed.

CoWare will continue to ship Lisatek's three products and will also integrate some of the technology into N2C, Naumann said. But he noted that Lisatek products can be used with other vendors' tools as well.

The privately held CoWare employs roughly 120 people, not counting those from Lisatek. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

- Richard Goering

EE Times

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