SANTA CRUZ, Calif. EVE Inc., a provider of FPGA-based emulation and prototyping systems, has acquired Tharas Systems Inc., a supplier of simulation acceleration systems. The end result will be an integrated suite of hardware-assisted verification tools, according to EVE.
Terms of the acquisition were not announced, but the companies said that most of Tharas' employees will be retained and merged into EVE-USA, the U.S. subsidiary of EVE (Palaiseau, France). EVE-USA is based in San Jose, Calif.
The acquisition resulted from an "unexpected opportunity," said Lauro Rizzatti, general manager of EVE-USA. "Tharas went through some internal turmoil, was late with new products to market, and was struggling a little bit," he said. "In many ways, their technology is complimentary to ours, so they felt that joining forces would be good for both of us."
While funding problems led Tharas to suggest the acquisition, the company has had some success in the U.S. marketplace and had a number of benchmarks underway, Rizzatti said. Tharas, he said, offers "state of the art" acceleration with extremely fast compilation.
Tharas provides Hammer, a line of processor-based acceleration systems. Hammer claims fast compilation and simulator-like features such as four-state simulation and acceleration of behavioral code. In 2005 Tharas introduced what it claimed to be the industry's first RTL virtual emulation capability.
EVE's ZeBu product line claims to blend the best of emulation and rapid prototyping. It promises a low-cost solution that runs as fast as FPGA prototoypes, handles up to 50 million gates, and serves both hardware and software verification. EVE rolled out ZeBu-UF, a low-cost emulation family, in September 2005, and added an RTL front end to ZeBu in May 2006.
The weakness of FPGA-based emulators, Rizzatti noted, is slow compilation. Thus, Tharas' fast compilation technology could provide a significant benefit for EVE. Further, he said, debug visibility in FPGA based systems is limited to registers and memories, while Tharas technology allows visibility into every node.
For now, Rizzatti said, EVE will continue to sell both the Hammer and ZeBu product lines. But the ultimate goal is an integrated environment that merges the best capabilities of each.
"The idea is to have a common compiler and then an ability to switch between acceleration and emulation for debugging," Rizzatti said. "You can take advantage of emulation systems to quickly reach the bugs, and then switch to acceleration for debugging."
"After this acquisition, EVE becomes the broadest supplier of hardware-assisted tools, encompassing accelerators, emulators, and FPGA prototypes," said Luc Burgun, EVE CEO, in a statement. "EVE can now serve a larger community of leading system-on-chip designers, including hardware engineers and embedded software developers."
Rizzatti said that EVE has around 80 employees following the acquisition, including around 20 from Tharas. He said EVE is profitable and is nearing the $20 million mark in annual revenues. Tharas CEO Rahm Shastry will not be joining EVE, Rizzatti said.