Gary Smith, the dean of EDA analysts, has his sights set on two major trends he thinks will be prominent at this year's Design Automation Conference.
"The big thing at DAC this year is debug," said Smith, chief analyst at his own eponymously named firm, Gary Smith EDA. "We are debugging everything now."
Smith, who will be kicking off his 19th DAC with his annual state of EDA update on Sunday (June 3) at 7 p.m. at the Marriott Hotel in San Francisco, counts seven vendors offering some form of debug: EVE, Cadence, Mentor, SpringSoft, Axiom, Vennsa and IC Manage. "That is the hottest thing at DAC," Smith said.
Smith's other hot trend for this year's DAC is virtual prototyping. "We may now have a silicon virtual prototype, finally," Smith said.
For years, Smith has been calling for a silicon virtual prototype—an adjustable model of hardware being designed that could provide a way to test the hardware and software together to enable designers to make informed design choices before they committed to producing an ASIC. (In case you missed it, see the excellent blog on this subject from former EE Times EDA editor Mike Santarini that was featured last week).
Santarini, who is now the publisher of Xilinx Inc.'s Xcell Journal, wrote that Smith's vision—apparently far ahead of its time—now appears to be becoming a mainstream reality. Xilinx—with the help of Cadence—incorporated an AutoESL tool flow into its newly released Vivado Design Suite. Santarini also noted that Xilinx recently announced a silicon virtual prototype of its Zynq-7000 extensible processing platform from Cadence to help users make system level architecture decisions about their design.
But Smith said Xilinx is not alone in having apparently reached the virtual system prototype pinnacle. According to Smith, Atrenta Inc., with the introduction of its GenSys Assembly tool, has finally put together a front end for its silicon virtual prototyping offering. A new company, Entasys Design Systems Inc., also plans to show its Pillar-DP-SVP silicon virtual prototyping offering at DAC, Smith said.
In addition to Smith's annual DAC kick-off address, he will be appearing on several DAC panels, including his "Trends and What's Hot at DAC" panel and John Cooley's "Troublemakers" panel on Monday. For a complete list of Smith's expected whereabouts at DAC, check out his website.