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Madhavan stresses need for automation

Posted: 16 Sep 2005 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:automation? eda?

The term "EDA" is coming to stand for "electronic design assistance, "according to Magma Design Automation Inc.'s Rajeev Madhavan, who warned that design tool vendors must provide more automation in order to extract greater value from customers.

Madhavan, Magma president, chairman and CEO, told an audience of mostly chip designers at Magma's Music user conference here Thursday (Sept. 15) that EDA vendors ? Magma included ? have fallen into a pattern of offering customers individual capabilities and optimizations rather than tools that work simultaneously in an automated fashion to increase productivity.

"The EDA mentality has been, we provide the capabilities, but the flow has never been our responsibility," Madhavan said. "That has been somebody else's problem. That has got to stop."

Madhavan said EDA has done poorly in creating complete flows. The industry, he said, needs to put a stake in the ground and focus on customer cost problems, which are increasingly exponentially at each technology node.

"We cannot allow EDA to become assistance," Madhavan said. "It's got to be about complete automation, and going back to the grass roots where we are giving you the ROI and the capability to dream."

As an example of the EDA industry's failure to solve the flow problem, Madhavan pointed to hierarchical design flows, something he termed "the divide and conquer myth." He said vendors, including Magma, fell into the trap of doing hierarchical flows because it was the popular way to address capacity constraints. The problem, he said, is that dividing the design into multiple pieces requires customer to use more engineering resources, ultimately failing to increase productivity.

"Hierarchy was a dream that never lived up to expectations," Madhavan. "It's actually been a failure in terms of value proposition."

Hinting at future offers, Madhavan said Magma has re-focused its efforts around what he called "the big challenge," providing the capability for designers to do any chip within two days, plus two hours for verification.

"We are extremely, extremely focused on achieving this goal," Madhavan said. "It is no longer a dream. It's a matter of when Magma launches this."

While Madhavan would not go into detail about forthcoming product offerings addressing areas of concern that he highlighted Thursday, he said the company has been working in some areas for 18 months, making reference to current beta testing.

"When I am outlining these problems," he said, smiling coyly, "it usually means we have a significant amount of work underway."

Dylan McGrath

EE Times

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