I can hardly believe my ears. I just heard a rumor on John Cooley’s DeepChip.com website (Slogan = “We’re in Deep Chip Now!”) that “Effective on August 31, 2011, the High Level Synthesis organization, which produces Catapult C, will become part of a new entity with Calypto Design Systems. Mentor will be a majority shareholder in Calypto…”
And there’s more, because the rumor goes on to say that “Effective immediately, FPGA Synthesis, which produces Precision, will become part of SDD. FPGA Synthesis and the BSD group within SDD share a very similar set of customers…”
Note: SDD stands for “System Design Division” and BSD stands for “Board System Division” (why not BDD = “Board Design Division”? Who knows why those who don the undergarments of authority and stride the corridors of power do what they do? It is not for we mere mortals to speculate on these matters).
to see the full post on Deep Chip.
Now, merging FPGA and board-level design makes sense, considering that the vast majority of FPGAs end up on circuit boards and taking into account the need to optimize both portions of the design based on board placement and pin assignment and so forth. Ultimately, the target market is one and the same (system design houses and similar); also, this removes one level of management at Mentor which equates to cost savings and (one might hope) tighter integration of the tools.
But what about Catapult C, into which Mentor have poured huge amounts of development and resources and which is (to my mind) one of the premier high-level synthesis (HLS) tools out there. It’s interesting to note that Mentor haven’t dumped Catapult C – instead they’ve made it part of Calypto Design Systems and (assuming this rumor to be true) Mentor will be a majority shareholder in Calypto.
So what is the rationale behind all of this? It seems to me that there are two possible explanations. One justification is that they are giving Catapult C a chance to grow independently, without being restricted by the whims of Mentor corporate. An alternative is that they are positioning Catapult C to sell it.
If the latter option is the case, I think they are making a big mistake. HLS is the wave for the future. Other companies like Synplicity (now Synopsys) have some very interesting technology in this area – particularly with regard to FPGAs. And then consider, for example, today’s announcement from NEC, which has just released its first dedicated FPGA version of their CyberWorkBench HLS technology (Click Here
for more details).
It is going to be very interesting to see how all this plays out…
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