SANTA CLARA, Calif. Better models and analysis tools don't always translate into quick production ramp ups, an EDA industry executive told the DesignCon 2005 meeting Monday (Jan. 31).
Ted Vucurevich, senior vice president in the office of the CTO at Cadence Design Systems, delivered the conference's keynote, standing in for Michael Fister, who was reportedly attending a meeting with government officials concerning Cadence's acquisition of Verisity Ltd..
Vucurevich outlined the environment in electronics systems design: global project teams, short design windows and do-or-die first efforts. "In 2001, design teams moving to 130 nm encountered problems with interconnect," Vucurevich said, "Often we were dealing with models that were too simple for the problem."
The EDA industry rushed in with better models and better analysis tools and allowed designs to be completed, Vucurevich said. Then harbinger of the future emerged: problems with production ramp. He claimed that one of the factors in the market success of the Microsoft X-Box was Sony's inability to get enough ICs for the Playstation to meet demand.
Those early experiences will be predictive of the EDA industry's future, Vucurevich claimed, citing the consumerization of the electronics industry. He stressed new battles over control of digital content flowing into the home and over the convergence of personal functions into a single handset.
Consumerization will mean profound changes, he claimed, and not just in terms of price pressure and shorter market windows. Vucurevich argued that electronic systems are becoming not just consumer items, but fashion items. This, he claimed, will reduce the seasonality for which the U.S. consumer market has become notorious.
To illustrate how deep this change will go, Vucurevich noted the success of the iPod. While agreeing that it was a "cool" design, the Cadence executive argued that the real breakthrough the idea that differentiated the iPod from a dozen other media players was Apple's recognition that it was not just a listening device. "The iPod is a gateway to a complete transformation in the global music distribution industry," Vucurevich said. "That was the really profound differentiation."
Another of these profound changes is in the definition of success. "For everyone in the industry, including EDA vendors, the only real definition of success now is volume sales of systems to the end customer. Everyone has to work together to achieve that."
In this new world, Vucurevich said, the greatest challenge would be managing power as the industry strives to continue along the Moore's Law curve. But the greatest opportunity would be to stop migration altogether, and instead use creativity to find entirely new ways of employing new technology nodes.
This, he said, will require new kinds of tools that will allow a design team to explore a solution before committing to an implementation, and to validate a hardware-software solution before implementing it. With such tools, he claimed, a raft of digital appliances might emerge in a single package using 45-nm technology.
More important, as yet unexplored new systems could emerge to change the lives of people in the developing world and make the world a better place.