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Plunify’s InTime helps FPGA design engineers meet timing and area goals!


Kirvy Teo

Kirvy Teo

Engineers designing FPGA applications face many challenges. Using Plunify’s automation and analysis platform, engineers can run 100 times more builds, analyze a larger set of builds and quickly zoom in on better quality results. Using data analytics and the cloud, Plunify created new capabilities for FPGA design, with InTime being an example.

Kirvy Teo said: What happens when you need to close timing in FPGA design and still can’t get it to work? Here is a new way to solve that problem – machine learning and analytics. InTime is an expert software that helps FPGA design engineers meet timing and area goals by recommending “strategies”. Strategies are combination of settings found in the existing FPGA software. With more than 70 settings available in the FPGA software, no sane FPGA design engineer have the time or capacity to understand how these affect the design outcomes.

One of the common methods now is to try random bruteforce using seeds. This is a one-way street. If you get to your desired result, great! If not, you would have wasted a bunch of time running builds with you none the wiser. Another aspect of running seeds is that the variance of the results is usually not very big, meaning you can’t run seeds on a design with bad timing scores.

However, using InTime, all builds become part of the data that we used to recommend strategies that can give you better results, using machine learning and predictive analytics. This means you will definitely get a better answer at the end of the day, and we have seen 40 percent performance improvements on designs!

How has Plunify been doing this year so far? According to Teo, Plunify did a controlled release to selected customers in first quarter of 2014, who are mainly based in China. It is easier to guess who as we nicknamed them “BCC” – Big Chinese Corporations.

Unsurprisingly, they have different methodologies to solving timing problems and design guidelines, many of which were done to pre-empt timing problems at the later stage of the design. InTime was a great way to help them to achieve their performance targets without disrupting their tool flows.

Plunify is announcing the launch of InTime during DAC and will be looking to partner with sale organizations in US.

What’s the future path likely to be? Teo added: “Machine learning and predictive analytics are one of the hottest topics and we have yet seen it being used much in chip design. We see a lot of potential in this sector. Beyond what InTime is doing now, there are still many chip design problems that can be solved with similar techniques.

“First, there is a need to determine the type of problems that can be solved with these techniques. Second, we are re-looking at existing design problems and wondering, if I can throw 100 or 1000 machines to this problem, can I get a better result? Third, how to get that better result without even running it!

“As you know, we do offer a FPGA cloud platform on Amazon. One of the most surprising observations is that people do not know how to use all those cheap power in the cloud! FPGA design is still confined to a single machine for daily work, like email. Even if I give you 100 machines, you don’t know how to check your emails faster! We see the same thing, the only method they know is to run seeds. InTime is what they need to make use of all these resources intelligently.

Why would FPGA providers take up the solution?

The InTime software works as a desktop software which can be installed in internal data centers or desktops. It is on longer just a cloud play. It works with the current  in-house FPGA software that the customer already own. We are helping FPGA providers like Xilinx or Altera, by helping their customers with the designs. They will feel: How about “Getting better results without touching your RTL code!”

IT in smaller companies need help too!


According to Steve Bailey from CommVault, IT managers are said to be walking on a tightrope between resources and data growth! Conversely, the resources for CIOs are much lesser, compared to the data growth, which is explosive!! Find all of this hard to believe? Well, ask around!

IT storage professionals are actually considered to be somewhat of ‘tightrope walkers’, given the fact that they have to perform tremendous balancing acts while driving projects — all along with the budget allocated to them.

As per a survey conducted by CommVault, the IT organizations are prioritizing managing data growth (i.e., data reduction) first, followed by network and equipment, disaster recovery, applications/software, data backup and recovery and backup of virtual server environments. Managing data growth remains a major budgetary priority for the IT managers. Besides, all of the data has to be managed by organizations without the benefit of adding IT staff!

There’s hardly anything that anyone, let alone the IT staff, can do to curtail the data growth. And now, the advent of mobile devices, virtual servers and the increasing use of social media have added to the creation of even newer and massive data!

By the way, have you visited media houses, small IT shops or companies, small retail stores, and so on? IT protection is, most of the times, way of the mark. Why, there are even media houses that have poor IT infrastructure! In fact, some of the offices even had their web site spammed quite often in the past. I have little idea right now, but I do hope they have improved their IT defence. Some commentators have even expressed the need for next-generation firewalls as the need of the hour!

Apparently, managing the IT side of things or the IT infrastructure is considered not so important by many of the small organizations. Don’t you think that it is necessary that they too protect their organizations? Forget about the absence of IT storage professionals in such organizations!

If one may add, vendors either seem to charge these companies exorbitantly, or, they are least bothered if such companies get into ‘IT trouble’. The fact is: such companies are small in nature, and do not have that much money to spend on IT. Or, at least, that’s not their main game! It takes a great deal of convincing on part of vendors, I am sure, to get such companies to protect their IT infrastructures.

So, how do the CIOs and the IT managers manage all of this exploding data (and devices, of course)? Certainly, this calls for a seamless process — from backup to recovery to archiving data. There is a need to develop and have a single platform to manage and protect data. This needs to be done across heterogenous applications, hypervisors. operating systems and infrastructure — from a single console.

Well, how do you help the smaller companies, especially those located in smaller and sometimes, remote areas and cities? The answer is simple: vendors really need to take upon themselves the trouble of going down to such places, meet companies, and at least, sound them out on the IT solutions on offer. That will be a start!

Cisco’s borderless networks architecture help enterprises overcome security challenges

November 15, 2011 1 comment

Thanks to Riyanka Khanna at Text100, New Delhi, I managed to get into conversation with Bipin Kumar Amin, principle consultant, Borderless Networks – Security, Cisco. I started by asking him about the security challenges currently faced by enterprises.

Bipin Kumar Amin, principle Consultant, Borderless Networks – Security, Cisco.

Bipin Kumar Amin, Cisco.

Security challenges faced by enterprises
He said: “Indian network security market is growing consistently as organizations increasingly realize the importance of securing their data against external and internal threats. The advent of 3G in India has opened up new roads for technologies and applications owing to the greater bandwidth available, as well as faster data transfer. As data becomes more pervasive, privacy and security becomes the important concerns for the enterprises. Consequently, there has been no let-down in IT security spending because CIOs realize that without ensuring the security of their vital data, it’s not possible to expand business.

“The traditional network and physical perimeter is no longer the only border where information must be defended. Collaboration, IT consumerization, mobility, and new computing technologies are increasing productivity while presenting new security requirements.

“BYOD is a new phenomenon, which every enterprise is witnessing and has to deal with the management and security the data on mobile devices, whether they are owned by an enterprise or user. There is greater pressure on IT to meet the demands of a dynamic workforce-both in terms of service delivery and security challenges. New solutions are needed to protect borderless networks and to help further improve business efficiencies in the mean time.”

As for the trends in security, he added: “There are three major trends sweeping through the enterprise: rapid rise of the consumerized endpoint, onset of virtualization and cloud computing, and c) growing use of high-definition video conferencing. Each one of these critical technologies is transforming business—and forcing a fundamental shift in how security is developed and deployed.”

Borderless network architecture
So, the obvious question: what is borderless network architecture?  How is Cisco’s borderless networks architecture enabling enterprises to overcome security challenges?

Amin said: “The challenges CIOs face today, from a business or technology perspective, is very different from what their predecessors have faced.  Technologies such as collaboration, cloud computing, and web applications promote productivity for an increasingly distributed workforce. These technologies need to be employed within an organization to provide employees with the flexibility that they have come to expect. However they pose new security challenges for CIOs. Cisco Secure Borderless Networks promote workforce-enabling technologies while protecting company data, resources, and staff.” Read more…

Categories: CIOs, Cisco, Enterprises, Security

Intel Cloud Builders program helps utilize proven reference solutions to ease deployments


Billy Cox, director, Cloud Strategy, Software and Services Group, Intel.

Billy Cox, director, Cloud Strategy, Software and Services Group, Intel.

Billy Cox, director, Cloud Strategy, Software and Services Group, Intel, said that IT and service providers need to define and prioritize IT requirements. Products and technologies go on to take advantage of new capabilities in Intel platforms. The Intel Cloud Builders program helps utilize proven reference solutions to ease your deployments.

Technology to optimize the CloudNode requires orchestration and automation. This involves: compliance and security, high performance IO, and density and efficiency.

So, what’s the need for having reference architectures now? Where do you draw the lines for a reference architecture? Enterprises have mostly relied on build to order architectures. With the advent of cloud, there is more of configure to order architectures.

Cloud hardware architectures generally focus on homogenous compute, flat networks and distributed storage. The cloud software IaaS stack looks at horizontal management roles. The focus is on service delivery.

The Open Data Center usage models include secure federation – provider assurance and compliance monitoring, automation – VM operability and ID control, common management and policy – regulatory framework, as well as transparency – service catalog, standard unit of measurement, and carbon footprint, where the cloud services become “CO2 aware”. Cox also referred to data center usage models in 2011, where Intel is delivering products/technologies to address usage models.

Intel Cloud Builders program reference architectures is a starting point from which to build and optimize cloud infrastructure. Solutions are available today to make it easier to build and optimize cloud infrastructure. Intel offers proven, open, interoperable solutions optimized for IA capabilities. It is also establishing the foundation for more secure clouds.

Data center efficiency priorities involve achieving efficiency and reliability by maximizing available capacity and modular build out for growth. Intel has a holistic approach – systems, rack, design and monitoring.

For instance, the Unified Network consolidates traffic on an 10G Ethernet fabric. It simplifies the network by migrating to 10GbE and lowers TCO by consolidating data and storage networks. Flexible network is the foundation of cloud architecture.

Intel Cloud Builders is easing cloud deployments via proven, interoperable solutions for IT.

Is social media really helping semicon/VLSI firms?

November 10, 2010 16 comments

Right then. In my earlier post, I had highlighted 15 queries on how semicon/VLSI firms associate with social media. Already, I have a comment from Hillol Sarkar, CEO, AgO Inc., in California. Thanks a lot, sir. Friends, please keep all those comments coming! There’s no right or wrong answer, folks!

Now, as promised, here’s an honest attempt to answer some of the queries. Also, I am thankful to Karen Bartleson, senior director, Community Marketing, Synopsys, for commenting on some of my questions. Thank you for permitting me to use some of those comments.

By the way, Karen is speaking today evening at an EDA Consortium (EDAC) panel discussion at Doubletree Hotel, San Jose, California aptly titled: Does Social Media Reach the Engineers You Want or Waste Your Time? So, if you are somewhere nearby, do listen to what Karen and other panelists have to say. It should be fun! ;)

Let me also indulge in some shameless promotion for a moment! Hey Karen, please don’t forget to mention me and these posts, in case you see this! ;)

Now, to address those queries! Please bear with me everyone, as this is quite a long post!

How are firms using social media?
First, how are semicon/VLSI firms using the social media to build communities? Are such firms adopting social media strategies? What’s the success rate?

Well, some PR folks do chat up with me regarding social media activities. Sometimes, we discuss strategy. There is also some effort on part of certain companies. So, there has to be some strategy. However, am not quite certain of the success rate.

According to Karen Bartleson, Synopsys (an EDA company) is building communities via blogs. (it has thousands of readers globally) forums such as VMM Central (people can ask and answer questions about verification), LinkedIn (the SNUG group – owned by a user – has more than a thousand members), and the Facebook page (which has hundreds of fans and is growing fast – the emphasis is on people and events, not product announcements), and Twitter. Quite interesting.

Next, is the social media really helping reach out to design engineers?

As per an industry friend, social media offers additional channels to engage with engineers beyond the traditional ones. I’m not quite certain whether firms are using Twitter or Facebook to hire, but LinkedIn presents a strong case. I believe, the success ratio there is good.
Read more…

Context-aware traffic mediation software could help telcos manage data tsunami: Openwave


Given the rising (and no end in sight) surge  in demand for mobile content and data services, mobile network service providers are facing the challenge of effectively managing exponential growth in data traffic. Service providers must also find ways to maximize bandwidth without sacrificing end user experience.

Anand Chandrasekaran, director of Product Management, Openwave.

Anand Chandrasekaran, director of Product Management, Openwave.

In conjunction with the Mobile Marketing Association Forum (MMA Forum) APAC event held this April 13-15, I had the opportunity to interact with Anand Chandrasekaran, director of Product Management, Openwave Systems Inc., which also did a global launch of it product — the Analytics Express at the event.

Managing data traffic challenges
Despite claims of vendors to have solved growing data traffic challenges, those still remain. How can Openwave really help manage this?

According to Anand Chandrasekaran, a fundamental shift has occurred in the industry. He said: “The demand for mobile data that we planned for years ago is finally here – only it’s bigger than everyone predicted. The proliferation of new devices like the iPhone and HTC Incredible, along with vastly improved user experiences and unlimited data plans (to date), has caused a tremendous and unprecedented surge in mobile data demand – AT&T disclosed this year that 3 percent of its users consume 40 percent of its bandwidth resources. This increase in traffic and the competitive pressure to keep data plans flat are squeezing service providers’ margins.”

Now let us look at how service providers can tackle the bandwith issue. As per Chandrasekharan, until now, one approach has been to add network capacity through additional equipment CAPEX. Unfortunately, this strategy is expensive and provides only a short-term solution.

Not all service providers have the financial strength to simply throw money at the problem, nor does that guarantee a sustainable solution. Service providers need to take a more holistic approach in developing solutions that will maximize available bandwidth while being able to monetize this surge of mobile data traffic.

An effective way for mobile service providers to handle the approaching data tsunami is to deploy context-aware traffic mediation software that sits in the data path, empowering them with a full view of their network, their subscribers’ profiles and the mobile devices in use. Context-aware traffic mediation enables service providers to monitor, manage and monetize traffic by creating and delivering smart policy-driven services.

According to him, Openwave’s Traffic Mediation solution runs on an open, IP-access platform that acts as a single control point for traffic management and provides services such as content adaptation, web and media optimization, network security, smart policy control and dynamic charging and campaigning. Read more…

EDA360 to help integrators close profitability gap!


Cadence Design Systems laid out its EDA360 vision last week — what it says is ‘a new vision for the semiconductor industry’.

Cadence's EDA360!

Cadence's EDA360!

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!

What is EDA360?
Now, what exactly is the EDA360?  The EDA 360 is a five-year vision for acknowledging the trends in the EDA industry that we are observing in the marketplace and looks at how EDA can add value in the future.

The vision paper is essentially looking at where EDA should be heading over the next five years. The four chapters of the EDA360 are:

* EDA industry focus shifts to integration and profitability;
* Application-driven system realization;
* Software-aware SoC realization;  and
* EDA360 enables silicon realization.

Why is the EDA industry at crossroads?
If you look at the evolution in the electronic design world, application-level system design has been happening. Software is becoming a very important part in the scheme of things. The hardware companies are being asked to provide the hardware platform as well as the software that will run on that particular platform. So, this is an ongoing evolution.

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.

Read more…

BSA to help Karnataka PSUs manage software efficiently via SAM


L-R: Keshav S. Dhakad, Chair, India Committee 2010, BSA, Dr. D.S. Ravindran, CEO, Centre of e-Governance, Government of Karnataka, and Lizum Mishra, director, India, BSA.

L-R: Keshav S. Dhakad, Chair, India Committee 2010, BSA, Dr. D.S. Ravindran, CEO, Centre of e-Governance, Government of Karnataka, and Lizum Mishra, director, India, BSA.

Ever wondered why you are unable to update your anti-virus software? Chances are that you are running a pirated version of the Windows OS! That itself opens your system and network up to cyber threats and other attacks! Yes, I know! Prices of software, at least the relevant ones, aren’t that low! However, you don’t have much choice, do you?

Now, if you were using original software in your computer, you won’t really face this problem! It means, you are mananging your asset — in this case, the software. To run your heavy, feature rich programs, you need robust software that is sometimes (or, nearly, all the times) expensive!

Okay! Imagine an enterprise using counterfeit or pirated software. Will it face problems? Surely, very serious ones, in the short and long terms. Now what if a public sector undertaking was using pirated software? Perhaps, that would directly impact the services, and in most cases, e-governamce services that it offers.

Keeping all of these in mind, the Business Software Alliance (BSA) has launched a SAM (software asset management) program for public sector undertakings (PSUs) based in the Indian state of Karnataka. This is the first SAM initiative for PSUs in partnership with Centre of e-Governance, Government of Karnataka.

Dr. D.S. Ravindran, CEO, Centre of e-Governance, Government of Karnataka, said: “In the last year, the IT spend by the government was close to Rs. 300 crore. All PSUs are now also coming up with their own IT needs and it is important to adopt this standard of SAM with good IT governance practices in order to enable the state of Karnataka to be more productive and cost-efficient.”

The Centre of e-Governance, Government of Karnataka has two key mandates — putting in place an entire core network infrastructure across the state for e-governance services, and, to expand the capacity and program of running the e-governance initiatives.

Dr. Ravindran added: “We have connected 30,000 offices across the state thru the wide area WAN. We have done over Rs. 22,000 crores worth of procurement over our e-governance platform.” Read more…

ST’s dual-interface EEPROM helps remotely program and update electronic devices


STMicroelectronics recently introduced a dual-interface EEPROM. Featuring an innovative EEPROM memory architecture, which  opens new perspectives to customers, this EEPROM enables cost reduction and flexibility at all product life steps.

The dual-interface EEPROM has an EEPROM memory accessible via two different interfaces, namely:
* A standard I²C interface for integration into almost any electronic device or equipment; and
* A standard ISO15693 RF interface, which does not consume any on-board energy.

Users can remotely program and update the parameters of electronic devices or equipment, anytime during the product lifetime, anywhere in the supply chain. Other benefits include convenient remote and «zero on-board power» RF access to electronic devices enabling communication with hermetically sealed devices (medical, metering. etc.); high-reliability memory, featuring 40 years of data retention and 1 million erase-write cycles; unique and flexible password protection scheme for data protection, and industry-standard interfaces for easy integration.

These devices will now enable makers to update product parameters, regionalize or even activate software without connecting a programmer, or opening a retail packaging. This unique way to access memory could now see businesses add new functions and capabilities to their products, besides sreducing manufacturing costs, simplify inventory management, and respond more quickly to changing market demands.

ST's M24LR64 is an EEPROM memory with a standard I2C serial interface. Source: STMicroelectronics

ST's M24LR64 is an EEPROM memory with a standard I2C serial interface. Source: STMicroelectronics

The M24LR64 is an EEPROM memory with a standard I2C serial interface, providing communication with most MCUs or ASICs. It has a standard ISO15693 RF interface for RFID readers.

The ISO15693 standard is passive RFID, which gathers energy and the data from the RF system. No power is required to operate the M24LR64 in RF mode, which enables on-board energy savings and provides easy and convenient remote access to electronic product parameters.

Damien Leconte, Marketing Director, Memories & Secure Microcontrollers; Greater China & South Asia Region for STMicrocontrollers, said: “We have a full family of products, which can be used in consumer, industrial, telecom, automotive, etc. The added value products are system products, etc.

“We also have the RFID version — with an RF interface. This is typically what you see in transportation applications. These have two interfaces — serial and RF. This is the origin of the dual interface products.”

“The dual-interace EEPROM uses an innovative EEPROM memory architecture, which opens new perspectives to our customers. It enables cost reduction and flexibility at all product life steps. The cost red will be in managing inventory, efficient prodn line, maintenance costs, etc. The targeted applications include industrial and medical, automotive, peripherals, communication and consumer, RFID, etc. We beileve that customers will also go on to find newer use cases.” Read more…

Can I Help?

September 7, 2009 Comments off

1. Articles and features — text, audio and video
2. Developing external blogs
3. News feeds
4. White papers/case studies
5. Research reports
6. Developing B2B web sites — including strategies
7. Live coverage of events
8. Speaking and moderating opportunities at trade shows and events
9. Consulting in setting up firms in India
10. PR work

Can I help you? I also offer the following services:

1. Articles and features — text, audio and video.
2. Developing external blogs.
3. News feeds.
4. White papers/case studies.
5. Research reports.
6. Developing B2B web sites — including strategies.
7. Live coverage of events.
8. PR work.
9. Speaking and moderating opportunities at trade shows and events.
10. Consulting in setting up firms in India.

You can get in touch with me via pradeepchakra@gmail.com

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