So why, you wonder, is a wireless guy writing about EDA?
Because this site is for engineers and the engineers who design wireless chips and systems are just as desperately in need of better tools as anybody on the planet.
Besides the digital part of the design, which applies to everybody, wireless requires both mixed-signal and RF expertise. It may not be rolled up into one guy, of course, but the team has to work closely together.
And then there are the wireless communications standardsa moving target at best, particularly in the pre-standardization phase where you had better be working hard or you'll be last into the market.
So the idea of reusable and "tweakable" IP must be music to the wireless design team's ears. To solve these problems, the big IDMs (Independent Device Manufacturers) have moved to what have become known as platform strategies.
Platforms allow them to reuse design IP and get a head start on the competition for the ensuing design cycles. But platforms are, of necessity, specific to applications. An IDM with a broad product line might have several platforms.
One of the big problems with platforms, as I understand it, is that the EDA tools have fallen short in terms of their specificity. If you're a big IDM with a CAD group to pull the flow together, this is problem. It's an even bigger problem for design houses without CAD groups.
So when Cadence Design Systems launched its design kits concept, we all should have been sitting up and taking notice. So far, Cadence has a launched three kits: analog-mixed signal methodology, RF methodology, and a kit specifically for optimizing the capabilities of ARM cores.
Seems to me, kits dovetail quite nicely with platform strategies. They aren't bundles of point tools. They are actual design flowsor something close to it. And the application consulting component of the kits sounds a lot like a CAD team for hire to me.
Interestingly, Cadence has been pretty clear about the direction of subsequent design kitsthey will be digital.
With that, the synergy with platform strategies gets pretty hard to ignore, I think. This will be welcomed by IDMs but it will be an even bigger boon to smaller companies and start-ups, which now will be able to implement platform strategies too.
From Cadence's point of view, success with the analog-mixed signal and RF kits (technologies where it has leadership positions), could be an excellent pull through for its digital tools.
Is this the future of EDA? We'll just have to wait and see.
For more information on Cadence's RF kit, check out SoC transceiver tool kit speeds optimization of Wi-Fi, UWB, WiMAX designs