DAC: The Day After
Gabe Moretti, Senior Editor
The Design Automation Conference is over. Much has already been written but there are a few items I found interesting that were not covered, or at least not extensively enough in my opinion.
Wednesday morning, shortly before 11:00 the fire alarm went off in the exhibit floor. It took a few minutes for anyone to realize that it was not a test, and then evacuation proceedings started. No panic, no running, no screaming. Exhibitors and visitors proceeded orderly out of the building and had to wait only about 20 minutes before they were allowed back on the exhibit floor. It smelled like an electrical wire had caught fire, but no official details were given.
Here is the Answer to the mystery. OneSpin Solutions booth had, like many other booths, a sign hung from above its booth. The difference was that, given the name of the company, the round sign was spinning slowly. After the fire, the sign was no longer spinning: the electrical motor providing the motion had burned out.
One of the topic of discussion this year was Open Source and how it could be used by our industry. Many were those who did not see a fit. One exception is OneSpin which is in fact offering an Open Source package. If you are interested in formal verification issues, get in touch with them. It may be the beginning of a business opportunity for you (and them, as a derivative market).
Most Improved Company
One of the things I do at DAC is gauge the difference from one year to the next of the profile and capabilities of a company. This year I was impressed by S2C. Last year, this FPGA prototyping company was present at CAD but still looked as the Chinese headquartered company that in fact it is. But this year they were fully Americanized. One of the issues that most non-American companies suffer from is the lack of good marketing. In the space of one year S2C has solved that and its presence at DAC was as professional and as well approachable as any. Product quality and support is good. It merits your attention.
Attendees going to visit the Gold Standard Simulator booth found a little note pinned on the back of the booth announcing that they had been acquired by Synopsys. Gold Standard Simulator or GSS as Chi-Foon prefers to call it, had in fact been acquired by Synopsys about two weeks prior to the opening of DAC. The Company, based in Scotland, may not have had the best of corporate names, but it did have a very good TCAD solution. I first saw it at DAC 2014 and told Aart about them. Last year they could provide me with an impressive list of customers. It was a good acquisition on both aspects: now we will see how Synopsys can manage and leverage this very good simulator.\
Unique Business Approach
Verific may not be one of the most well-known EDA companies, but it sure is successful and has a unique business model. For DAC attendees, Verific is the giraffe company. Every year large number of attendees walk around DAC with a giraffe of various sizes. This year was no difference. The symbol was chosen for two reasons: the founders are all above six feet tall and the company wants to present itself as being above all. Anyway, back to the business model. Verific looks for startups that need parsers and have a business model that looks promising. Then it licenses its products to those companies for free to help them through the incubation process. In fact it may do even more than that and assume functions that are typically performed by VC’s. Verific may find a marketing professional to act either as a consultant or a full time employee for the startup. It may even find early stage investors. So what does Verific gain from all this? It gains market presence and license fees flow once the company is successful. For those who may still question the efficacy of the approach, 26 companies so far that received free licenses early in their development have been not only successful, but have all been acquired by well established corporate entities. The last one in chronological order is Altera. Synopsys acquired nine such companies, and both Mentor and Cadence five each.
Is Austin a good place for DAC?
Final attendance numbers are not in yet. The attendance profile was typical: very good free Monday that started with an impressive long line of on-site registrants, and reasonable amount of visitors on the exhibit floor both Tuesday and Wednesday. The hit of the show was the tee shirt stating: “Keep Austin Nerdy”.
Good food, steaks and Tex-Mex within walking distance of the Convention center, and good music downtown. As with almost all large American cities Austin suffer from traffic congestion and from homelessness. It is hot and humid during the day, and humid in the evening, so next year dress appropriately, we are going back to Austin, and who know how many new restaurants and music joints we will be discovering.