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.
"If you are in more complex products, then you can win and maintain the socket. Itís not something a competitor can deliver in six months."
Perhaps a bit obvious but also true. Easy to say but harder to do.
Nice to see a dedicated analog engineer lead the company. It remains to be seen where Maxim grows in the MEMS business with SensorDynamics acquisition. Maxim can certainly leverage its presence in the automobile market.
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for todayís commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.