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Archive for December, 2015

The Year in Review: Thoughts on 2015

Thursday, December 3rd, 2015

Gabe Moretti, Senior Editor

I want to start by covering two sad events that occurred this year.  Two people that made significant contributions to the EDA industry passed on: Gary Smith and Marie Pistilli.  It may be time for EDAC to consider instituting an award that parallels the Phil Kaufman award to recognize people that made significant contributions to the industry without necessarily significantly enriching themselves through inventions or business skills.  If it did, then certainly both Gary and Marie would have earned the award.

Marie PIstilli was for many years the nucleus around which the world of DAC revolved.  Although Pat invented the concept, Marie provided the organizational skill that grew DAC to what it is today.  My first encounter with Marie was as a first time exhibitor at DAC.  She had been described to me as an unbending task master who followed the rules by the letter and had no understanding for compromises.  My experience with her was not like that.  Marie understood that cash flow was the first rule of small startup, and, within reason, did compromise.  Marie also was a champion of professional women and started the Women in Engineering award given yearly during DAC.

Gary was the EDA analyst everyone listened to.  He moved from a direct contributor to the marketing and development of electronic products to an industry observer.  But an observer that had lived within the object he was analyzing and so his opinions had added value because he brought not only financial and statistical knowledge, but also the understanding of the technology and its impact on the growth of EDA.  Gary was unassuming, always ready to share his point of view, always accessible to me as I also transitioned from a technological producer to an analytical career.

The third important thing that happened this year is the marketing of IoT within the industry.  A three letter acronym that had been invented some years ago to stand for Internet of Things.  It turns out that we are not really talking about internet and we still have to define “things”, but the label has stuck and we are not letting reality change it.   IoT is changing our industry by introducing a new set of customers that are systems integrators and deal mostly with reasonably small mixed/signal circuits.  The vast majority of the circuits have MEMS or RF modules or both in them and do not use the latest semiconductor process nodes.  Suppliers of tools and IP for these customers could be found in the exhibit hall at ARM TechCon this year.  The other characteristics of the majority of IoT products contain embedded software modules as well.  The result is that covering EDA by dividing it in vertical specialized areas will no longer work, since the system is the most important topic, not specific tools.  All the tools must be seamlessly integrated and facilitate the dialogue among experts in different disciplines.  The year 2015 was the start of a fundamental change for EDA vendors; the quicker to adapt will without doubt be the new leaders of the industry.