Global Sources
EE Times-Asia
Stay in touch with EE Times Asia
EE Times-Asia > EDA/IP

EDA needs productivity, not 'sexy' tech, says exec

Posted: 16 Oct 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:ASIC? EDA tools? Synopsys? Cadence? Open-Silicon?

EDA needs to shift its focus to providing solutions that emphasize productivity, rather than continuing to focus exclusively on tools aimed at the next technology node, according to Naveed Sherwani, president and CEO of fabless ASIC vendor Open-Silicon Inc.

Sherwani, a former professor who founded and led Intel Corp.'s Microelectronics Services unit in the late 1990s, prescribed a change in mindset for EDA vendors, which he said are preoccupied with leading-edge, "sexy" technology at the expense of productivity.

"EDA vendors all want to provide 45nm tools," said Sherwani. "I am not interested in 45nm tools. I am interested in tools that will enable me to do 180nm designs in three weeks." Currently, he said, the design cycle for a 180nm device is roughly 10 weeks.

EDA's focus on the most advanced design technology challenges is deeply rooted, and not likely to change easily, Sherwani acknowledged. Even in academia, he noted, the focus is on advanced technology, not productivity. "If you wrote a paper on EDA productivity, it would never get published," he said.

Major EDA vendors, such as Cadence Design Systems Inc. and Synopsys Inc., need to add experts in productivity to their payrolls, Sherwani said. EDA, he said, is "stuck right now," because any revenue gains made by one vendor are made at the expense of another.

"I fundamentally believe that EDA lacks leadership," Sherwani said.

EDA is also hampered by an inefficient business model, Sherwani argued. In order to gain access to a promising tool, customers are forced to buy bundles of tools, including many they will never use, Sherwani said.

Many, including Cadence president and CEO Michael Fister, have suggested changes to the EDA business model that would enable EDA companies to share more in both the risks and rewards of customer projects. But Sherwani acknowledged that such changes would be very difficult to implement.

Sherwani: EDA vendors preoccupied with leading-edge technology.

If an EDA company made such changes to the way it priced tools and services, it would likely see a revenue dip that could last years, Sherwani said. Eventually, he argued, the company would likely see a significant increase in revenue as a result, but would probably be acquired by a competitor before it reached that point because the prolonged period of decreasing revenue would significantly decrease its stock price.

"These companies are not very highly valued to begin with," Sherwani said.

Reiterating comments he made during a session at the Design Automation Conference in July, Sherwani said that intellectual property (IP) vendors need to adopt a services business model and that IP standards are badly needed. While IP is thought of and priced as an off-the-shelf product, there is almost always additional work required of the IP vendor after the sale. Sherwani believes IP vendors need to adopt a business model that compensates them for this work, rather than assuming they will be compensated by multiple sales of a single piece of IP.

- Dylan McGrath
EE Times-India

Article Comments - EDA needs productivity, not 'sexy' t...
*? You can enter [0] more charecters.
*Verify code:


Visit Asia Webinars to learn about the latest in technology and get practical design tips.

Back to Top