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Sherry Hess is vice president of marketing at AWR, bringing with her more than 15 years of EDA experience in domestic and international sales, marketing, support, and managerial expertise. For the majority of her career Sherry served in various positions at Ansoft Corporation including director of European operations and later as vice president of marketing. Before joining Ansoft, Sherry spent two years with Intel Corporation, where she worked in the ASIC Group and developed relationships with companies such as Bell Northern Research and Northern Telecom. Sherry holds a BSEE and an MBA from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. www.awrcorp.com.
To comment or ask Sherry a question, use the comment link at the bottom of the entry.
Last time on this blog, Ted Miracco and I compared and contrasted the recent DAC and IMS shows, and shared some thoughts on why we think DAC seems to be waning while MTT just keeps on going strong. This week I want to continue on with the DAC thought thread and talk a bit more about a fairly major topic at DAC that dominated my experience this year—the Interoperable PDK Libraries Initiative (IPL). This initiative, of which AWR is a founding member, was the subject of both a lunch and a pavilion panel discussion entitled, “Will Interoperable PDKs Fly in a Stodgy Analog World?” AWR helped sponsor the lunch (our third year doing so), but because of that and other commitments, I wasn’t able to attend the panel. The prevailing opinion is that the IPL panel discussion Panel Comments was the highlight of the show.
The IPL was founded in 2007 with the idea of EDA firms and foundries coming together to look at problems and how to advance the industry through the creation and promotion of open standards for PDKs. Since its inception, the IPL Alliance has released a proof-of-concept interoperable PCell library, IPLnow.org, demonstrated interoperability among tools from multiple vendors (past 2 DACs) , and expanded its charter to address broader interoperability issues with foundry PDKs and design flows IPL News.This seems like quite good success already.
For those of you not familiar with the TLA IPL, it is an alliance that was originally spurred by the hot topic of Cadence’s proprietary-language process design kits that could not be used with other vendors’ tools. In fact, I remember TSMC speaking a few years ago about how they had dozens of PDK engineers in Taiwan cranking out thousands of PDKs each year and that this could not scale over time to embrace new vendors, new tools and new processes from TSMC. Thus the IPL seemed to be a viable alternative. TSMC&IPL Comments
The original idea of the consortium was that in the design world, more is good. Open up more tools, choice empowers innovation. Are people buying into this? Or does it just lead to confusion and a swapping of power from one industry leader to another? What do designers really want—to stick with the old or try the new?
I’ve been on both sides of this issue. I used to work for Ansoft, who kept their tools/flows closed. Now at AWR, I see the opposite. A company founded on the premise of a flexible software platform that allows for easy integration of alternate tools and technologies and consequently choice. At AWR we believe choice is good and competition healthy.
I’m sure there are some great economists who have analogies and anecdotes to share on monopoly, oligopolies, duopolies and capitalism in general that likely map well to the above situation.
Please chime in! Take my survey on IPL and iPDKs so I can get a finger on the pulse of M&RF as it pertains to interoperability.
A prize will be awarded to one (or two) lucky survey takers that complete all of the questions.
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