EDA Needs More Inclusive Analysis @ Lower Cost

Date:   Monday , May 03, 2010

Todayís ICs include one or more processors, memory, and various digital silicon intellectual property (IP) blocks, plus analog IP such as sensors, interfaces, and antennas. To implement these mixed-signal systems on chip (SoCs), designers require fast, accurate, and high capacity analog and digital design tools that can be tightly integrated into a single design environment. This need has led EDA providers to create solutions with the embedded digital design system.

The designs also require better static timing analysis because the number of process, voltage, and temperature (PVT) corners has increased dramatically and there are many more scenarios that must be analyzed. To address this with conventional tools, the designers require more static timing analysis licenses, more expensive machines, and more time. The new design platforms allow designers to fully analyze any design in about an hour, which saves time and makes it possible to analyze at a limited cost. Hence, designers do not have to cut corners by choosing to analyze only a limited number of PVT corners.

As always, the changing requirements of the semiconductor design engineer will shape the EDA industry. The EDA industry must develop tools that enable engineers to design more advanced and complex ICs in less time, with smaller teams, and fewer computing resources. The introduction of new design methodologies, innovative tools, and the growing demand for ICs for the markets in India and China will help drive the growth of the EDA industry.

Inventing a great product is probably the least of the EDA entrepreneurís challenges. Right now, thereís very little venture capital funding available in the EDA segment, or even the semiconductor space as a whole. To get funding for a startup, entrepreneurs need a great product, a solid business plan, and a strong, high-demand market.

The good news is that the EDA industry provides critical technology that the over $200 billion semiconductor industry relies on. Thereís always a new problem that EDA can solve for the design engineers. Now could be the perfect time to start a company. Donít get dazzled by your technology and make sure that you and your team have solid business sense. And, work closely with customers to understand their requirements and how you can meet them.

Rajeev Madhavan is the Chairman and CEO of Magma Design Automation. Founded in 1997, Magma is an EDA software provider built on the concept of combining logic and physical designs into a single system.