EET: What’s the latest on your integration strategy?
Doluca: We put a lot of energy into this for five years, and there have been a lot of growing pains. In the mid-2000’s they made up a low teens percentage of our sales. Today they exceed 40 percent of sales,
We are evolving our design methodologies. Different groups advance at different rates. Organizations with roots in the digital side have done this change more rapidly.
Our smart meter products, for example, were designed by microcontroller guys who added analog so their flow is right. More conventional groups are taking longer. It’s a major initiative this year to make sure we are all on the same page.
It’s not that easy. You need a complete change in mindset to be more market oriented, and the tools are not as advanced as they are in digital.
EET: What about the tools?
Doluca: In digital, the tools are fantastic. You can write what you need at a high level. Most digital engineers probably don’t know what a transistor is because they don’t have to.
Digital is very deterministic; analog is not. That means design verification relies heavily on how good your modeling is and how good your simulation uses those models.
Verification is a major challenge as designs get more complex. For example, an op amp has five specs to check. It is far more challenging for a big chip with ADCs and MCUs and DACs to drive actuators and many amplifiers.
EET: What’s your call to action to the EDA community?
Doluca: In one word, verification. Make the tools faster, and make them interface with manufacturing and test development for a better flow.
In most cases the tools are there, they are not good enough yet, but they are getting better. The issues are not just in the tools, but also the mindset of how engineers use them, so it also requires changes from management.
A sign on Doluca's desk.