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Cadence is celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2013, and there's a long history of innovation to celebrate. We'll be highlighting some of that history over the next 12 months in blogs, videos, and other media. In this post, I'll point to some of the key contributions that Cadence brought into the world of electronics design, both through strategic acquisitions and internal development work.
As Brian Fuller recently wrote in his blog post, 25 Years of Innovation: Then, Now, and the Road Ahead, the world of electronics was very different in 1988 when Cadence was launched. PCs were around in 1988, but with a fraction of the power (and much more weight and cost) compared to today's PCs. Smartphones, tablets, and a consumer-centric Internet existed only in the imagination of a few visionaries.
The world of EDA was also very different in 1988. In fact, the term "EDA" had recently been coined to indicate the merger of computer-aided engineering (CAE), or front-end design, with CAD, or physical design. The big three CAE vendors in the 1980s were Mentor Graphics, Daisy Systems, and Valid Logic, and they all sold workstations along with their schematic capture and simulation software. They then added software for IC and PCB physical design, replacing 1970s CAD providers such as Calma, Applicon, and Computervision.
An Auspicious Beginning
Cadence was launched June 1, 1988, from the merger of two up-and-coming, software-only EDA companies -- ECAD Systems and SDA Systems. If we're going to talk about Cadence innovations, we should start with the innovations these two companies brought into the marketplace. ECAD pioneered the IC physical verification technology that became known as Dracula, one of the most successful and widely used EDA products of the 1980s and 1990s. SDA Systems worked with the University of California at Berkeley to create a "design framework" that enabled an integrated suite of tools for IC design.
So, call Dracula and the SDA framework innovations #1 and #2, and here's a list of 23 other innovation "milestones" from Cadence history. I wrote about many of these developments for EE Times. This is by no means a complete list, but I think it covers many of the highlights, and it shows a consistent trend of bringing new technology and new ideas to the marketplace.
Looking over this list, I have to wonder what the next 25 years will provide - both in terms of EDA innovation and electronics in general. We could hardly have imagined, looking forward from 1988, the world that we live in today. What 2038 will bring is probably beyond our imagination as well. But one thing that's clear is that continuing innovation in EDA will help create that new world - and Cadence will continue to be a major contributor.
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