In 2012 Lip-Bu Tan, CEO of EDA software vendor Cadence Design Systems Inc., speaking at the Cadence Live Europe user conference held on the outskirts of Munich, Germany, said that his company, a relative latecomer to large-scale IP provision, would expand its IP cores offering but be selective in terms of the cores it provides.
This week, at the same annual event a year later, Tan was able to say that he had delivered on that promise. But he also hinted that as well supplying tools, hardware blocks, the company is also going to be addressing software issues. After all that is where the engineers are. There are far more software engineers than there are hardware engineers.
The company started its voyage into IP with the acquisition of Denali for memory compilation back in 2010. But since the arrival at Cadence of Martin Lund as senior vice president of R&D in the SoC realization group from Broadcom in March 2012, the pace has picked up. Cadence has initiated a series of acquisitions including data-plane processor provider Tensilica for about $350 million and to acquire analog IP provider Cosmic Circuits. Cadence also acquired a SERDES development team from PMC-Sierra Inc. At this year's event Tan announced the intention to acquire Evatronix
And with the Tensilica acquisition comes the first steps into providing software. Tensilica includes application-specific software to implement certain functions in imaging, audio, cellular communications and so on. "Tensilica has a software-driven approach and in vertical applications they effectively pre-integrate the software in the core," said Tan. He added: "We have a system realization group. A year ago we recruited Jim Ready, former chief technology officer of MontaVista Software." Ready now serves as chief technology advisor to Cadence on software and embedded systems. "He is helping us work out what we can put on top of Tensilica cores," said Tan.
Tan makes the point that the EDA business must rest on sales of EDA tools, IP cores and design services to help customers get the job done, first-time right and on time. And the job is not just a chip. It is often a platform with many cores and much software programmability.
Lip-Bu Tan, CEO of Cadence, speaking at the Cadence Live Europe user conference in 2013.