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India gearing for outsourced ESL design

Posted: 27 Sep 2005 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:hardware design? electronic system? level?

India's software skill base, growing hardware design skills and the increasing software content in electronics is making the country a likely source of Electronic System Level (ESL) design.

Industry experts say that since software and hardware design skills have been acquired, system design is also the next logical step to take.

"ESL design is a major opportunity for India. Firstly, the core skills in embedded software, system software, user-interface and board level design have been built in India over two decades. Second, compared to full chip design, ESL represents a lower level of investment and risk," said Srini Rajam, chairman and CEO, Ittiam Systems Pvt. Ltd.

"The very fact that software is increasingly driving electronic systems also buttresses this argument of India having a good chance now," said A. Vasudevan, vice president, VLSI, Wipro Technologies. "Design is now led by consumers who want additional features at low costs, causing design companies to have complex products aimed at small market windows while ensuring control over design costs. Here, they have no choice but to use software system modeling for validation, parallel application and development."

Wipro is probably best-positioned in India to take up ESL design. Its VLSI team has been routinely using hardware-software co-design methodology for a year now, and this has helped in getting designs first time right.

"With this, we are able to simulate the entire system in a single environment. First-time silicon pass has helped cut total development time of products as it minimizes validation time and avoids costly re-runs," Vasudevan said.

Working towards productization in the last couple of years and having 10,000 staff working in the product engineering space adds to Wipro's strengths.

"With the cost of new product development at 90-nanometer being shared between hardware and software development, understanding design from both points of view becomes the single overriding differentiator for companies," Vasudevan said.

Though Wipro has been building system-level rather than isolated software or hardware expertise alone, system-level architecture design skills and vertical domain knowledge many here are still only now picking up.

"There is the need for exposure to ESL design tools and methodologies, many of which are still evolving," said Kamal Aggarwal, marketing manager, Softjin Technologies Pvt. Ltd.

Softjin is developing custom ESL design and verification tools. With the emergence of innovative processor architectures including re-configurable processors, the company sees the need for new system-level design tools enabling designers to design around these new processors. SoftJin is trying to make a business out of developing these EDA tools to meet the requirements of platform and processor providers.

- K.C. Krishnadas

EE Times

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