I was out in San Jose last week for CDNLive! Silicon Valley 2012 -- our US user's group conference. I feel like we've been on a good run with this conference during the past few years. I'm seeing users return to present papers year after year. And each year we seem to have new users who are inspired to share what they've been working on at a future conference.
Here are three themes I noticed at this year's conference:
The conference is all about collaboration -- a theme well represented in the keynote speeches. Rick Cassidy from TSMC said that "deep partnership with folks like Cadence sits at the heart of what we need to do." Furthermore, in remarks directed at atttendees, he said that "we (TSMC) will not compete with you." Tom Lantzsch from ARM said "collaboration and partnership is probably the most critical element for our success." And Cadence CEO Lip-Bu Tan (right) said "We need all the key partners to collaborate with us, from the foundry partners to the IP partners all the way to the software developers." (See listings of blog posts on these keynote speeches at the end of this post).
This idea of collaboration isn't new in the IC design community. But I appreciate how the guys at the top reinforced this message. It set the tone for the user papers which followed the keynotes. And for informal conversations throughout the two day conference.
Personally, this resonated with me because I believe that every interaction with a customer is a chance to improve our solutions, and that if we work together we can achieve great things.
Mobile computing was a common thread through each of the keynotes. Mobile devices present unique challenges to the digital designer: Would you like high performance or low power? Yes is the answer.
Deliverying high performance low power design requires breakthrough concurrent design capabilities.Tom Lantzsch from ARM described how a design team implementing one of their cores pushed performance while reducing power. The final gains that enabled their objectives to be achieved came by leveraging Cadence's Clock-Concurrent Optimization (CCOpt). By concurrently optimizing clock and data signals, CCOpt is able to maximize performance while minizing power consumption. More on CCOpt in this interview with Paul Cunningham -- and more to come in future blog posts. I co-presented a paper with Netronome at this year's conference on the topic.
Lantzsch revealed that ARM is looking beyond mobile computing and is pursuing new opportunities in the server, home entertainment, and automotive marketplaces. A few years ago, he cataloged the number of devices in his home with IP addresses and found 23. He re-assessed the count recently and found that the number of devices actually went down a bit in recent years even though a number of new devices were added. The reason for this: Convergence in the number of functions each device performs.
As we look around and see multiple MP3 players, smartphones, and tablets in our homes -- whereas we used to have one or two shared desktop computers -- it's striking how personal this technology has become. The devices have certainly increased the number of functions they perform (MP3 player, GPS, e-reader, and more) but a family has more copies of each device than ever before. The changes we've seen in personal communications devices are just the beginning. As these changes take place in home entertainment and automotive it will be a fascinating space to watch.
We see convergence in the digital implementation space as well. Multiple steps are collapsed into single steps within the Encounter Digital Implementation System each release. Concurrent clock and data. Concurrent base and signal integrity delay. Just as we need to mutli-task as engineers, so do the tools we use to get our jobs done.
My favorite part of CDNLive! is creating connections. There are connections between users working with similar functionality in our tools. And there are connections with the developers and product engineers responsible for architecting and improving the tools in areas our customers interact with.
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Photo by Joe Hupcey III
Blog posts on CDNLive! keynote speeches:
CDNLive! - Lip-Bu Tan Keynote Cites Semiconductor Growth Drivers
TSMC CDNLive! Keynote - "We Can Beat Moore's Law"
CDNLive! Keynote - New Horizons for ARM based SoCs