Microwave Journal
www.microwavejournal.com/articles/33716-executive-interview-glen-clark-cadence-design-systems-corporate-vp-of-rampd-for-custom-ics-and-pcbs
Glen Clark

Executive Interview: Glen Clark, Cadence VP of R&D for Custom ICs and PCBs

March 29, 2020

What motivated Cadence to acquire AWR?

Historically, we’ve been incredibly strong in RF design on silicon (Si) but had more limited offerings for RF design in III-V technologies or microwave/mmWave design. In the past, it worked to provide our users with a loose integration between AWR and the Cadence platform; however, user needs have changed.

As we worked with the AWR team to tightly integrate AXIEM into Virtuoso, we saw that a similar integration of other AWR simulation technologies into the Cadence tool suite provided a great opportunity for us and for our customers. Thus, the acquisition made complete sense, and we’re happy to be working as one team now.

What specific technology gaps do you envision AWR software will fill?

AWR design tools are for engineers working on microwave and mmWave products, whether at chip, board or system level. While Cadence’s heritage is in Si chip design, AWR had more experience with specialized analyses and models associated with RF/microwave design, in general, and GaAs and GaN III-V semiconductors, in particular.

Both microwave and RF designers have used AWR software to reduce time to market for complex applications in the communications and aerospace areas and to complete semiconductor and consumer electronics projects.

How are you integrating AWR products and people into Cadence? Will AWR remain a focused product area?

We are fully committed to the AWR product suite, and it will remain a focused product area for us. In fact, when we were doing our due diligence on the acquisition evaluation, we heard a consistent message that not only does AWR have great design tools, but they also do a superior job of supporting customers. We want to ensure that customers continue to get this excellent level of service.

Additionally, we plan to leverage the AWR technology throughout Cadence product lines, and we see a number of opportunities where we can support our customers optimally with a tight integration between AWR and existing Cadence products.

How will the two worldwide sales and support teams operate going forward?

With respect to the sales and support teams, while I can’t comment on the specifics of how the teams will operate, I can say a couple of things:

We know that RF/microwave designers require very specialized support, and AWR brings us a wealth of sales and support talent that enhances the expertise of our field team and its ability to support customers.

We’re well underway with the integration of our products and people and, as an R&D organization, we’re lucky to have the best sales and support team in the industry.

How do you envision the AWR software platform meshing with Cadence tools? What makes sense to integrate and what will stand alone? Is there a long-term plan for deeper integration?

When we look at the challenges our customers are facing, we certainly see a need for a tighter integration across our product portfolio. Accordingly, while we continue to actively develop the AWR product suite, we’ve also identified a number of opportunities where tighter integration makes sense. There are ongoing development efforts for both near- and longer-term solutions, and we’ll be sharing more details when we finalize our plans.

What is Cadence’s “Intelligent System Design” strategy, and how does AWR fit in or expand that strategy?

The Cadence Intelligent System Design strategy enables our customers to achieve greater efficiencies and design excellence through the use of our broad portfolio of solutions. We recognize that most end users rarely buy just a chip, rather something in which the chip is a critical component. We know we need to extend our focus beyond chip design to address how that chip is ultimately used. And further, with the explosion of data, there are many more opportunities for our customers to make their products more intelligent.

Cadence and AWR have great synergies. Designers need to address many challenging RF/microwave integration problems across a wide range of applications, and that’s in the DNA of the AWR products and team.

When the AWR acquisition was announced, you also announced a collaboration with National Instruments (NI) to create a design-to-test flow, integrating your EDA platforms with NI's modular equipment and LabVIEW environment. Describe the vision for this and what it will look like to NI or Cadence customers. How does the AWR technology factor into this collaboration?

The goal of the strategic alliance between NI and Cadence is to provide customers with a seamless flow, from pre-silicon design to post-silicon testing, the purpose of which is to hasten both the development and testing of next-generation ICs and modules needed in the burgeoning mobile, automotive and wireless product areas. Therefore, NI and Cadence are collaborating to create a connected flow in the design process — from pre-silicon design verification to re-use of mixed-signal test benches and stimulus and from post-silicon validation to production testing.

For more information on the collaboration, visit us at upcoming events like NIWeek and IMS.

Since the AWR announcement, Cadence also acquired Integrand. How does that addition fit in your strategy?

The Integrand acquisition is another step forward on our commitment to expanding our solutions for customers developing ICs for RF communications.

The Integrand EMX technology offers industry-leading method-of-moments (MoM) solver technology for analysis and extraction, which enables designers to accurately and efficiently simulate large Si RFICs and characterize on-chip passive components, as well as analyze interconnect parasitics in 3D IC systems.

Integrand’s strength in Si is a nice complement to AWR’s expertise in GaAs and GaN and further builds on our Intelligent System Design strategy.

Tell us about your background and what led you to your current role.

I’ve been working in technical software for the past 35 years, the last 16 of which have been with Cadence. Most of that time was in our custom integrated circuit division, which has culminated with the honor of leading the Virtuoso R&D team for the last six years.

We recently merged the Virtuoso and Allegro R&D teams and now, with the addition of the AWR team, I’m looking forward to all we can accomplish with this world-class team.

What inspires the work you do?

When I think about the mentors I’ve had in my life, they’ve all demonstrated a strong commitment to their “job,” whether that was at home or at work. They executed with great integrity and treated everyone with the utmost respect, displaying an intense desire to help others achieve their goals. I try to exemplify these traits as well and, at work, that means doing whatever my team and I can to ensure our customers tape out successfully and on time, every time.

We are passionate about customer success, and it drives every decision we make. This has been true for the Virtuoso and Allegro teams for a long time, and it’s very true of the AWR team, as well. I think this shared culture has been critically important in making our integration seamless.