Future Horizons recently organized and held the 21st Annual Electronics Forum on Oct. 3-5 at Bratislava, Slovakia. Here are excerpts from some of the proceedings:
Mojy Chian, senior VP Design Enablement. GlobalFoundries presented on ‘Foundry 2.0: The Era of Collaborative Device Manufacturing.': Despite some predictions to the contrary, the foundry-based fabless model is not going away, and moreover it is driving manufacturers and device designers closer together. But like all living organisms, especially those in electronics, we have to continue to evolve. There are warning signs, both technical and economic, emerging in the foundry business that warrant our attention, and in fact require a re-thinking of how best to apply our resources and energy.
Recent talks of fabless companies investing in their own fabs, and of foundries developing ‘single company fabs’ underscore the sense of urgency. Clearly, we must change – Call it Foundry 2.0! This will be driven, ironically, by a move toward a more IDM-like model. Strategic collaboration that creates a ‘virtual IDM-like interface’ to chip design companies will help further close the gap between process teams at the manufacturing companies and design teams at the fabless companies.
With daunting technical challenges like 3D stacking, 450mm fabs, new transistor architectures, multipatterning, and the long-term viability of extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography, collaboration – early, often and deep – is really the only practical approach given the cost and complexities involved.
John Lofton Holt. founder, and chairman of the Board of directors. Achronix, presented on “Embedded FPGAs – Enabling The Next Generation Of Flexible SoCs.': The system-on-chip (SoC) ecosystem is at a fundamental crossroads. With total
chip development and manufacturing costs exceeding $100 million at 22nm, it is no longer cost effective for most SoC designers to build a discrete chip for every application. As a result, SoC designers are investing in programmable intellectual property (IP) for IO expansion, emerging standards compliance and application acceleration.
This programmable IP ranges from microcontrollers and processors to simple state machines that are register-programmable. Nearly every SoC built today has some kind of programmable IP. The programmable logic industry is addressing this SoC challenge in a different way. Coming from the “other end of the spectrum”, the major public FPGA manufacturers are implementing more and more hard IP on their dies to reduce the area penalty of the programmable logic for specific applications.
These techniques, while effective for some mid-range volume applications, will not scale to high volume SoCs. The major public FPGA companies are also very hesitant to license their programmable fabric to SoC designers, fearing competition in their core markets and erosion of margins.
Rudy Lauwereins, VP Smart Systems Technology Office, IMEC, presented on ‘Providing “Insite” In The Unknown Design Space': As technology scaling nears the “final frontier”, designers are confronted with an increasing number of restrictions.
Printing smaller and smaller features remains possible, but requires more and more regular layout patterns. Transistors can still be reduced in size, but may fall short of meeting electrical specifications. Smaller wires are becoming a performance bottleneck.
As technology scaling becomes less ideal, established design paradigms start to break. Creative and innovative solutions are required to sustain the momentum of Moore’s law: hitting the sweet-spot for cost and performance requires tight interaction between the technology development community and the design community. In an increasingly fabless world, imec’s Insite program builds the bridges between these communities.
Following the announcement of the EDA360 last week, I managed to get in touch with Jaswinder Ahuja, corporate vice president and managing director, Cadence Design Systems (I) Pvt Ltd. We discussed a variety of topics such as why the EDA industry is at the crossroads, EDA360 unplugged, the integrators vs. creators concept, the IP stack and the road ahead for EDA360.
First, why is the EDA industry at the crossroads?
“Semiconductor companies are being asked by system companies to provide the hardware platform as well as the software that will run on that particular platform. That is the trend that Cadence is seeing today, and that is what is discussed in the EDA360 manifesto,” he added.
EDA is at crossroads because EDA companies can no longer provide the tools only for IP integration and silicon realization like they have been doing all these years. EDA now has to encompass SOC realization (including bare metal software) and then move towards system realization, which includes mechanical/board design, he noted.
EDA360 and its key features
Ahuja said that EDA360 represents System Realization, the development of a complete hardware/software platform ready for applications development; SoC Realization, the creation of a single SoC including hardware-dependent software; and Silicon Realization, which includes complex digital, analog, and mixed-signal designs.
The traditional approach to system development starts with the hardware, and appends the software and the applications later. With application-driven System Realization, designers start by envisioning the applications that will run on the system, define requirements, and then work their way down to hardware and software IP creation and integration. This flow requires some new and expanded capabilities.
Part of system realization is project management. EDA360 reaches beyond engineering teams to help customers meet project and business objectives.
Key features of EDA360 include:
The four chapters of the EDA360 manifesto take a look at:
The EDA360 vision paper says: “Today, systems and semiconductor companies are undergoing a disruptive transformation so profound that even the best-known companies will be impacted. The EDA industry now stands at a crossroads where it also must change in order to continue as a successful, independent business. Without that change, EDA will become a fragmented industry offering suboptimal, poorly targeted solutions that fail to solve customer problems. As a result, the huge leap forward provided by the electronics revolution will come to a standstill. The result? A squandered opportunity for technology innovation, and a diminished contribution by the electronics industry to re-build the global economy.”
You can download the vision paper from eda360.com, if you like!
The vision paper is essentially looking at where EDA should be heading over the next five years. The four chapters of the EDA360 are:
* EDA360 enables silicon realization.
Why is the EDA industry at crossroads?
The EDA industry to date has only served the needs of creators. It has almost completely ignored integrators, who need a different set of tools and capabilities. How can the EDA360 go about achieving this?
When one says that the EDA industry has so far only served the needs of the creators, It is only a reflection of the evolution of the industry. The fundamental manner in which electronic design is being done is now changing. While it is shifting, it also takes a while to understand the entire paradigm. The industry is also moving toward IP re-use, etc., — those are all the shifts.
The industry is now said to be looking at a new paradigm: integration ready IP. What the vision paper does: it takes the industry to where it is heading and tells this is what’s needed. This is what the integrators will need in the future.
The government of Karnataka will be announcing a semiconductor policy very soon, according to Katta Subramanya Naidu, the minister for Excise, Information, BWWB, IT and BT, government of Karnataka, while delivering the opening address at the ISA Excite organized by the India Semiconductor Association.
Over the last several years, India has been a destination favored by almost all leading global semiconductor companies for setting up their development centers for semiconductors and embedded designs.
The size of the Indian semicon design industry is currently $6 billion across VLSI and board design, and embedded software, with the potential to be around $9 billion by 2009. There are nearly 200 companies and it employs over 130,000 professionals, all over India, with the potential to employ over 180,000 by 2009. The Indian semicon design industry has a CAGR of nearly 22 percent versus the global average of 7-8 percent.
Nearly 90 percent of the VLSI design work is done out of Bangalore alone. Appropriately, the ISA is headquartered in Bangalore, the heart of India’s chip industry. The minister said: “The conducive work environment policies and high-quality talent are the important attractions for both MNCs and Indian companies to set up shop here. We value the contribution of our technology leaders and engineers to build the economy of the state and make it a global leader. Bangalore is next only to Silicon Valley, California, in terms of the work done here.”
New centers likely
In future, the government of Karnataka wants to look at Mysore, Mangalore and Hubli as important centers to be developed. “These are centers of education with high quality and quantity of engineering talent. Our government is working on improving the connectivity to these cities to help attract investment there, as well as the expansion of companies from Bangalore to other towns within Karnataka,” he added.
Welcome the ISA initiative to launch Excite, a program for the semiconductor and ecosystem companies, he noted that it was a good platform to understand the technology trends and to collaborate with the right partner.
He said: “Karnataka today is at the crossroads. We have the direction and leadership of Hon’ble chief minister Yeddyruppa. He is extremely committed to the cause of making Karnataka as the most preferred destination for the semiconductor industry and electronics hardware manufacturing. My (BJP) government would be glad to extend any support for your business plans in the state.”
Semicon policy soon
The state government plans to announce a semiconductor policy in the very near future, actually. It has also earmarked land for a hardware technology park near the new airport (in Devanahalli).
The government is also thinking in the lines of finishing schools in PPP mode as the semiconductor industry is technology driven, and demands continuous training and re-skilling of the workforce.
Initiatives in Karnataka
The minister pointed out that his government has been taking several pro-active steps for further accelerating the growth of these sectors, as well as for their expansion in tier II and III cities. For these two sectors, the government proposes to identify and set apart exclusive IT/BT zones in Mysore, Mangalore, Hubli-Dharwad, Belgaum, Shimoga and Gulbarga.
Yeddyruppa, the state chief minister, has made an announcement of a number of initiatives to boost the growth and development of IT/BT. A bio-IT park on a 100-acre plot is proposed to be developed with private participation near Bangalore. IT parks, with private participation, would be set up in tier II and III cities. A massive IT city on the lines of the Electronics City near Bangalore is under consideration. Similarly, BT parks are proposed to be set up in Mangalore, Dharwad and Bidar. KEONICS, a government of Karnataka undertaking, will play a major role in development of the IT city, IT parks and computer literacy campaigns.
He added that the state government believes in formulating initiatives and policies in consultation with the industry. The existing Mahithi IT policy is also being revised with inputs from the Vision Group on IT headed by N.R. Narayana Murthy of Infosys.
“The state government would be happy to see IT and BT developments happening in tier II and III cities. We are taking steps to improve and upgrade the infrastructure in these cities. The CM is personally reviewing the construction and upgradation of airports in Mysore, Shimoga and Gulbarga, which will provide vital air connectivity, essential for the growth of industry and business,” he noted.
The NASSCOM-Kearney report has identified 43 potential locations in the country for IT development. The report also suggests measures to be taken to make these locations attractive for IT investments. Recommendations, such as improving the quality of education, imparting employable skills to the uneducated youth, improving infrastructure, particularly, air connectivity, etc., would be taken into consideration.
The minister said: “Our government would take all the necessary steps to ensure that there is no flight of investment to other states, and to make Karnataka the most attractive region for IT/BT investments. We want the semiconductor industry to grow and flourish in the state.”
Participative semicon policy likely
Elaborating on the proposed semiconductor policy for Karnataka, Ashok Kumar C. Manoli, principal secretary to the government, said: “When you look at India, it is software, and when you look at China, it is hardware. We should make a beginning and try and become the global capital for both hardware and software. We need to design such a policy that design activities continue and also facilitate manufacturing.”
He added: “We will come up with a very participative semiconductor policy. It will also look at addressing infrastructure requirements for manufacturing setups.” According to him, the hardware industry is the foundation for the entire revolution, which the government is looking at. He requested all companies present at the ISA Excite to participate at the forthcoming BangaloreIT.com event, and added that the state government was committed and fully geared up to deliver.
Announcing the ISA Excite initiative, Sanjeev Keskar, country sales manager, Freescale Semiconductor India Pvt Ltd, said: “We need to collaborate with the right partner. The ISA felt the need to arrange an ecosystem meet. Telecom and healthcare are the two drivers of importance.” The ISA has plans to take Excite to other cities too, possibly, New Delhi, focusing on industrial and consumer.
The one-day ISA Excite event had an exhibition running simultaneously, featuring about 40 companies. These included ARM, Farnell, Ittiam Systems, Broadcom, Cosmic Circuits, Windriver, Wipro, HCL, AMDL, LSI Logic, TI, NXP, Cisco, Synopsys, SemIndia, Freescale, Open Silicon, MindTree, AMD, Analog Devices, RFMD, Cir-Q-Tech, NewEra, STPI, etc.