PORTLAND, Ore. -- Startups have always been the driving force in Silicon Valley, and Lucio Lanza has inspired innumerable electronic design automation (EDA) and intellectual property (IP) startups for decades. One secret he has seeded the industry with since the 1980s is, namely, how to succeed.
It's about sharing. "The only way you will win big," he tells EE Times, "is if you have a strategic advantage. So you should help other people, because a strategic advantage is one thing you can talk about to your competitors that they can do nothing about."
Lucio Lanza will be honored with the Phil Kaufman Award at next week's International Conference on Computer-Aided Design (ICCAD 2014, San Jose, Calif., Nov. 2-6). Each year the Electronic Design Automation Consortium (EDAC) and the IEEE Council on EDA (CEDA) recognize an EDA leader with the Phil Kaufman Award for Distinguished Contributions to Electronic Design Automation.
He will be recognized not only for his vision and mentoring of EDA industry leaders, but also for his financial assistance to innovative EDA startups. He holds a doctorate in electronic engineering from Polytechnic University of Milan (Italy, 1967) and is currently the managing director of Lanza techVentures (Palo Alto, Calif.). He also serves on the board of directors of several private companies.
Lucio Lanza will receive the Phil Kaufman award for excellence in EDA.
(Image: Sandra Henneman)
Lanza spent his first 20 years in the industry working in the trenches at Olivetti, Intel, and Daisy Systems, switching to venture capitalism in 1990 and starting his own Lanza techVentures in 2001. However, his generosity at advising EDA and IP startups continues to this day, whether he has a stake in the startup or not.
He tells us:
There is so much competition today, that the only way to move forward is to have is to have connections with others. If you are trying to do everything yourself and proprietary, you cannot keep pace with demand today. What you have to be is be very close -- very connected [in the industry] -- and to me that is why people who succeed get there. It's not just those who have the foundation -- the education. Also [being connected] has to be seen as a positive feedback system where the way you talk about it, the way you communicate it, the way you exchange information, the way you accept failure is as just one step toward success because, let's face it, most startups fail.
Design for inspection and security
Lanza has also been a visiting professor at Carnegie Mellon University (2002-2006), where he taught students how to persevere through failures as a necessary step toward success. He is also a regular speaker at the Design Automation Conference (DAC) and the ICCAD. One point he is always harping on is the evolution from design-for-test to today's newer goal of design-for-inspection. "We need to design so that we can inspect that the device is electrically right. To me the inspection mechanism is the very best way to determine how well a transistor will work."
Going hand-in-hand with design-for-inspection is design-for-security, which is already a national priority for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). "I would predict that we are going to need design-for-security, where all the stuff we need for security is designed in from the start. That's the only way to really design security. If you try to design security into a layer of software, you are not going to win. Designing security into the chip is what is going to happen, for sure. And this design-for-inspectability is just a part of that game."
Build it and they will come?
Even though chip and system makers are not demanding design-for-inspection and design-for-security today, that does not mean these are the wrong things to work on. What innovators have to do first is show something is possible, then the demand shows up on its own.
"If you start showing that you can do it, then demand shows up. Demand does not show up in a vacuum. Demand shows up when people know it is possible. That's when the positive feedback shows up, when you demonstrate a new area of design capability -- of design automation. People will look at this new possibility and say to themselves, wow, if I had that I could do this."
However, EDA is not the solution to everything. New materials are also needed to move ahead, according to Lanza. Of course, from the EDA point of view, visionaries need to watch for the signs about which new materials will have an impact on performance, reliability, and power in the future, then design new tools to use them. That will then lead to wide adoption of the new material.
Registration for the 2014 Phil Kaufman Award Dinner honoring Lucio Lanza is available on the EDAC website.
— R. Colin Johnson, Advanced Technology Editor, EE Times