Some 15 years after the Web became a household word, the Internet as a medium for collaborative design work is yet to be tested.
In a keynote at the recently concluded International Conference on Computer-Aided Design (ICCAD)--a forum devoted to technical innovation in design automation--IBM fellow Hamid Pirahesh spoke on "The Impact of Cloud Computing on Extreme Scale Analytics Platforms." Pirahesh raised the discussion of cloud computing to a practical engineering level, describing a time when chip designers will not be tied to conventional licensing arrangements for EDA tools but will instead access the desired design software over the Web as needed from a central repository.
Pirahesh contends that information technology is going through a fundamental change, primarily as a result of the rise of software as a service (SaaS).
Today, however, the EDA community is still evaluating the hosted application model for chip design.
Only a year ago, Cadence, a pioneer in making this business model work, made plans to offer hosted tools over the Web as an experiment. A recent Cadence blog entry reports the results of that trial: Data security and bandwidth were unacceptable.
What will it take to make cloud computing a viable environment for IC design?
We present three articles that explore the question.
In the first, a market researcher outlines the issues and challenges. The other articles are case studies on how to better manage design flows; both provide interim solutions for designers until the data security and bandwidth issues for using SaaS in design can be resolved.