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Cadence: Europe to abandon digital for mixed-signal chips

Posted: 13 Dec 2013 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Cadence? mixed-signal? digital chip design? EDA?

According to an executive from Cadence Design Systems, Europe will now gear its energies toward biomedical, automotive and mixed signal chip design, in place of consumer wireless and leading edge digital chip design.

"We are leading edge in connecting sensors and microprocessors but not big digital designs any more, except for Israel," said Christian Malter, director of technology solutions for EMEA at Cadence.

The focus is on 28nm designs for these parts rather than 14nm FINFETS which are difficult to design for analog systems, he stated. Instead there is plenty of activity with over 300 customers in Europe and significant interest in ST's FD-SOI process. "I think we are living in a great time for semiconductors and as a result for EDA," he noted. "Over the last three four years we have seen healthy growth. The first factor is mobility, designing more products with more complexity and lower power. Wireless is the biggest segment for semis with the highest EDA tool consumption but he other factor is that we have new customers such as Facebook, software companies that are designing chips. Within five years these have gone from zero to some of our top ten customers.

He points to renewed growth in IP as an opportunity for Europe as well as filling the gap between the growth in transistors and designer productivity. "We have spent hundreds of millions of dollars on five IP companies to become the number four [in the IP market] and it's the growth market for us right now. The other technique to fill the gap is higher level of abstraction with a pull to SystemC and high level languages converting C to RTL."

"Europe is mixed signal land," he said. "How you have so many different blocks on a chip, lots of different analog blocks. The trend we see is there are many, many issues with the analog and digital blocks and making these blocks work on the same chip is a major issue. In Europe we are far ahead of the other regions for high performance analog, and we see one analog designer owns the design and integrates the smaller digital blocks.>

- Nick Flaherty
??EE Times Europe

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