A Brief and Personal History of EDA, Part 4: Cadence, Synopsys, and Mentor Graphics – The EDA Era

Rising complexity drove the creation of ever-more-powerful tools for electronic design. When circuit board and IC layouts escaped the bounds of pencil, paper, and manual dexterity, CAD tools from Applicon, Calma, and Computervision appeared. When polygon representations no longer sufficed as the first gate arrays appeared, CAE tools from Daisy, Mentor, and Valid appeared. These CAE companies attempted to provide all-in-one design suites for ICs and circuit … Read More → "A Brief and Personal History of EDA, Part 4: Cadence, Synopsys, and Mentor Graphics – The EDA Era"

Understanding and Optimizing SoC Hardware Performance

Are you involved in developing SoCs? Are you banging your head against the wall, desperately trying to determine why you aren’t obtaining the performance promised by the providers of your processor, interconnect, and DDR memory controller IPs? Do I have good news for you? (Spoiler alert. The answer to the last question is a resounding “Yes!”)

In many ways … Read More → "Understanding and Optimizing SoC Hardware Performance"

AMD Rocks with New Versal Gen 2 AI Edge SoC FPGAs

The awesome new AMD devices to which I’ve just been introduced have sparked a trip down memory lane (I know you’re surprised, because I pride myself on my laser-like focus that prevents me from wandering off into the weeds). I remember the 1970s and early 1980s when we thought the simple programmable logic devices (PLDs) of the time were so cool. Those were heady days … Read More → "AMD Rocks with New Versal Gen 2 AI Edge SoC FPGAs"

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featured chalk talk

Gas Monitoring and Metering with Sensirion SFC6000/SFM6000 Solutions
Sponsored by Mouser Electronics and Sensirion
In this episode of Chalk Talk, Amelia Dalton and Negar Rafiee Dolatabadi from Sensirion explore the benefits of Sensirion’s SFM6000 Flow Meter and SFC Flow Controller. They examine how these solutions can be used in a variety of applications and how you can get started using these technologies for your next design.
Jan 17, 2024

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MaxLinear Integrates Analog & Digital Design in One Chip with Cadence 3D Solvers

Sponsored by Cadence Design Systems

MaxLinear has the unique capability of integrating analog and digital design on the same chip. Because of this, the team developed some interesting technology in the communication space. In the optical infrastructure domain, they created the first fully integrated 5nm CMOS PAM4 DSP. All their products solve critical communication and high-frequency analysis challenges.

Learn more about how MaxLinear is using Cadence’s Clarity 3D Solver and EMX Planar 3D Solver in their design process.

Posted on Apr 10 at 7:53am by Max Maxfield
Hi Tom -- thanks for sharing -- I'm hoping to meet up with Ben when I visit the UK this summer to see my dear old mom :-)
Posted on Apr 9 at 5:56am by Steven Leibson
Thank you for the compliment, metasequoia. I hope you find the series useful. There are five more articles to go in this EDA history, with a few things that surprised me, and I was there!
Posted on Apr 8 at 9:21pm by metasequoia
Steve, You do an absolutely outstanding job researching and writing your articles! Thank you.
Posted on Apr 6 at 4:19pm by Tom Kaneko
I followed a similar train of thought as you after the invasion of Ukraine. I was moved enough to try to deal with this drone problem. I found Ben Cook and spoke in depth to discuss an idea that I couldn’t get out of my head - a way ...
Posted on Apr 4 at 1:12pm by Karl Stevens
This all sounds good ... if they are making paper weights or boat anchors. They are totally ignoring the fact that electronics must do more than consume power and dissipate heat. Space heaters are much less expensive. There once was a dream of Intel developing some kind of language/tool to ...
Posted on Apr 3 at 5:57pm by Steven Leibson
Indeed, a funny story. I'd have to ask you to cite references to Calma's being the "most popular IC layout platform" in the 1980s. If you're referring to custom IC layout, especially analog, especially at Datel where you worked (I used Datel parts as a design engineer), then sure. If ...
Posted on Apr 3 at 3:00pm by Mike Demler
So, I have a funny story of the time Welch brought the BoD to tour the labs. My team had setup a demo in the Calma room, but because the PR folks thought it would be undignified for them to bend over to see our screens, we propped each one ...
Posted on Apr 3 at 12:35pm by Steven Leibson
Mike, thanks for writing about your personal experiences. Jack Welch became GE's Chairman and CEO in 1981 and GE's semiconductor businesses seem to have wound down swiftly after that. I've no doubt that it took years to run out Calma's leadership, but I've seen no evidence that Calma was a driving ...
Posted on Apr 3 at 10:43am by Mike Demler
Steve, I'm enjoying your history of the EDA industry, but have a few comments to add regarding Calma. A bit of my personal EDA history: In 1981, I was at the GE Corporate R&D (CR&D) Labs in Schenectady, when Calma became one of the components of the ...
Posted on Mar 28 at 7:09am by Max Maxfield
Let's take a vote -- how many of us want to spend our days reading nothing but whitepapers? Would we learn a lot? Yes. Would we enjoy spending out days this way? No. For myself, I like to think that people enjoy my articles in their own right--I think I've ...
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In today's rapidly evolving digital landscape, staying at the cutting edge is crucial to success. For MaxLinear, bridging the gap between firmware and hardware development has been pivotal. All of the company's products solve critical communication and high-frequency analysis...
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Sponsored by Mouser Electronics and Samtec
In this episode of Chalk Talk, Amelia Dalton and Matthew Burns from Samtec investigate the challenges of routing high speed data over lossy PCBs. They also discuss the benefits that Samtec’s Flyover® cable assembly systems bring to data center and embedded designs and how Samtec is furthering innovation with their high speed interconnect solutions. 
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How Capacitive Absolute Encoders Enable Precise Motion Control
Encoders are a great way to provide motion feedback and capture vital rotary motion information. In this episode of Chalk Talk, Amelia Dalton and Jeff Smoot from CUI Devices investigate the benefits and drawbacks of different encoder solutions. They also explore the unique system advantages of absolute encoders and how you can get started using a CUI Devices absolute encoder in your next design.
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Exploring the Potential of 5G in Both Public and Private Networks – Advantech and Mouser
Sponsored by Mouser Electronics and Advantech
In this episode of Chalk Talk, Amelia Dalton and Andrew Chen from Advantech investigate how we can revolutionize connectivity with 5G in public and private networks. They explore the role that 5G plays in autonomous vehicles, smart traffic systems, and public safety infrastructure and the solutions that Advantech offers in this arena.
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Industrial Drives and Pumps -- onsemi and Mouser Electronics
Sponsored by Mouser Electronics and onsemi
In this episode of Chalk Talk, Amelia Dalton and Bob Card and Hunter Freberg from onsemi discuss the benefits that variable frequency drive, semiconductor optimization, and power switch innovation can bring to industrial motor drive applications. They also examine how our choice of isolation solutions and power packages can make a big difference for these kinds of applications and how onsemi’s robust portfolio of intelligent power modules, current sensing solutions and gate drivers are a game changer when it comes to industrial motor drive applications.
Mar 25, 2024
GaN FETs: D-Mode Vs E-mode
Sponsored by Mouser Electronics and Nexperia
The use of gallium nitride can offer higher power efficiency, increased power density and can reduce the overall size and weight of many industrial, automotive, and data center applications. In this episode of Chalk Talk, Amelia Dalton and Giuliano Cassataro from Nexperia investigate the benefits of Gan FETs, the difference between D-Mode and E-mode GaN FET technology and how you can utilize GaN FETs in your next design.
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Extend Coin Cell Battery Life with Nexperia’s Battery Life Booster
Sponsored by Mouser Electronics and Nexperia
In this episode of Chalk Talk, Amelia Dalton and Tom Wolf from Nexperia examine how Nexperia’s Battery Life Booster ICs can not only extend coin cell battery life, but also increase the available power of these batteries and reduce battery overall waste. They also investigate the role that adaptive power optimization plays in these ICs and how you can get started using a Nexperia Battery Life Booster IC in your next design.  
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