Schematic capture and HDL design tools will be "virtually dead" within four years, according to the head of Mentor Graphics, one of the world's top four design automation companies.
Wally Rhines, Mentor's chairman and CEO, claims that these fundamental electronics design technologies will be superseded by system design tools by 2005.
He made his prediction at DesignCon in Santa Clara, where he cited Mentor research that has already shown a decline in HDL design during the past 12 months.
Yet after years of relatively slow growth, Rhines claims the PCB has returned as one of design automation's strongest sectors. He says the growth in PCB layout tools has risen from Ð20% in 1996 to more than 60% last year, compared with 15% growth for traditional EDA design tools.
"The market has taken off to levels unprecedented in the history of PCB design in the last four quarters," he said.
Part of this has come from the increase in the use of FPGA devices, he says.