Linda makes some great observations about the practical realities of Silicon Realization—I think we all agree on the problem although I think there are some misconceptions about the OpenAccess program and progress to date. Cadence believes strongly that a common database is important to the industry and has remained steadfastly committed for the past eight years. Since 2002, Cadence has contributed and maintained more than 90 engineer-years of code at our own expense. We actively participate in the community and provide input to architectural and priority decisions. The community owns OA content. Cadence has no IP rights other than those granted to us by the community. The community leadership is comprised of other major EDA players as well as heavyweight product companies. Cadence works in this community for the good of the industry which in turn benefits Cadence.
The community is releasing 22.41, due by the end of 2010, which supports multi-threading. The community has recently released new scripting language bindings for Tcl, Python, and Ruby which are available for beta now. The binding code is designed to be easy for the community to download and support. There are many companies both on the EDA side and the design side that depend on OA every day. These companies are all very well aware of the continued improvements in database capability. The community sees this through the evidence of continued and accelerating adoption.
OA was never envisioned to optimally support every algorithm known to EDA. OA’s primary goal is interoperability. There are some applications that will work well with an in-memory model and some that don’t. The point is to have a common place to store and access design data so it can be shared across applications and design teams. OA delivers a common repository to store data and access it either through C++ APIs or various scripting languages built on top of OA…a huge improvement compared to what the industry has had in the past.
The OpenAccess Coalition Scripting Languages Working Group has Perl, Python, Ruby and Tcl ready for action:
Synopsys did the Tcl binding. I might do C#. Which scripting language did Mentor want?
I have made two code contributions to OpenAccess. It's possible but difficult because only Cadence is allowed to change the core database code. To get even a production tested bug fix into OpenAccess, it took well over a year plus pressure from a powerful OpenAccess Coalition member.
Magma seems to have done okay with a central database strategy.
While most agree that OA has failed in universal acceptance it still has the potential to be leveraged as an Open database standard. In part it depends on Cadence relinquishing some of it's IP rights and others taking up OA and adding to it to make it really unified. Or left to itself the industry will gravitate towards two or three camps of database technologies and face insurmountable problems in the long run.
For a start the top EDA companies should come together and come out with some kind of a compromise and hand it over to Accellera or another such independent entity to take it forward.
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