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EDA's hope is enabling cheaper design

Posted: 13 Nov 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Magma Design Automation? EDA? Magma? electronic design automation? design tool?

The future of the EDA industry is not too bright, unless it enables chip design of even greater complexity with fewer engineers, thus helping the semiconductor industry deal with the problem of lower profitability as it moves into designs of 65nm and below, according to Rajeev Madhavan, chairman and CEO of Magma Design Automation Inc.

Speaking at the third Magma Users' Summit on Integrated Circuits in India on Nov. 7, the CEO said few of the chip designs being undertaken today will turn out to be profitable.

"A way out is to automate more and more of the design process and take abstraction to a greater level," Madhavan said. "EDA must truly be electronic design automation and not electronic design application."

Echoing comments he's made since a Magma users' conference in Silicon Valley last year, Madhavan said not enough of the design process has become automated and a major change in system-level design is needed.

"Though system-level design has been talked about for long, not much has happened in this," Madhavan said. "Issues such as poor automation of floorplanning, difficulties in arriving at trade-offs between power, area, timing and design for test, the lack of good timing constraints and a tedious engineering change order process all mean that chip design companies are spending a lot of time and energy on addressing these matters."

While the big semiconductor companies are rolling out parallel, multi-core chips, EDA is hardly ready to exploit this architecture, except may be in some areas such as routing, Madhavan said.

"The more design work that the EDA industry moves up the abstraction scale the better the results in terms of efficiency, predictability and quality, but the EDA industry has to do a lot in all these matters to enable its customers achieve profitability," he added.

- K.C. Krishnadas
EE Times

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