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Wally Rhines

Wally Rhines doesn’t follow the crowd. He’s made a career of betting on the dark horse and tackling the unpopular assignment. As the semiconductor industry’s version of Warren Buffet, Rhines has consistently picked the out-of-favor or under-performing business with big turnaround potential. When Wally took his position as CEO of Mentor Graphics in 1993, he was assuming the helm of a ship that many believed was sinking fast. Mentor had launched its epic “Falcon Framework” with great fanfare, only to be besieged by unhappy customers in a market that was moving fast away from frameworks and toward … Read More → "Wally Rhines"

Metal Mangling Mayhem

Two hulking masses of mechanized metal sit separated by 40 feet in a bulletproof Lexan cage lined by twelve-inch iron girders. The green light flashes and the starting buzzer sounds. Industrial electric motors on both fighting robots spin outer armored shells to rotational speeds near 1,000 RPM. The two ‘bots rush toward each other, colliding in a spectacular spray of molten metal. Broken bolts ricochet off the protective barrier.

The crowd at the 2004 Robot Fighting League ( … Read More → "Metal Mangling Mayhem"

First Annual FPGA Journal Awards

Over the course of the first year, we’ve had a tremendous amount of feedback and input from you, our readers. We’ve also done several formal surveys and studies that have spanned the entire year, with follow-up e-mails to many of you to clarify just what you meant by assertions like “…works very reliably except when it fails.” Here, then, we are proud to present back to you some of the things you told us – your favorite suppliers and products in a variety of categories – in the form of awards.</ … Read More → "First Annual FPGA Journal Awards"

Happy Birthday To Us!

Light the candles …er… candle, sing the song, pummel the piñata, and uncork the champagne. It’s been one year since FPGA Journal’s first edition, and it’s time to look back and celebrate our inaugural year. Our lights first came on October 1, 2003 when FPGA Journal Update Volume I Number 1 went out to about 1,000 early subscribers. During the year that followed, our newsletter subscription base has grown to over 8,500 and our web audience to over 34,000 readers in 87 countries.

We’ve worked hard over the past year … Read More → "Happy Birthday To Us!"

Cheap Gate Update

I once commented to a colleague that every EDA presentation ever given follows a basic script:

Presenter: Moore’s Law!
Audience: Oh no! What shall we do?
Presenter: Don’t worry. We have a new EDA tool that’ll save you.
Audience: What a relief.

If that is true, then every semiconductor presentation might have an analogous script:

Presenter: Moore’s Law!
Audience: Oh boy! What do we get?
Presenter: Bigger, faster, cheaper.
Audience: Yaaay!

This week, we’ … Read More → "Cheap Gate Update"

Accelerating ASIC Verification with FPGA Verification Components

With the ever-increasing size and density of ASIC, conventional simulation-based verification has become a bottleneck in the project development cycle. In conventional verification, the simulation time steadily increases as the design matures in terms of bug count.

The verification community has resorted to different methodologies to overcome this. They are trying to reduce the development time by introducing Verification Components and Hardware Verification Languages (HVL). These help in terms of reusability but do not attend to the issue of simulation time. On one side, where the HVL provides better features such as higher … Read More → "Accelerating ASIC Verification with FPGA Verification Components"

Sticky Business

It never makes the marketing materials. You don’t see an ad saying “New Super RISC Core is Stickier than Ever!” There is generally no mention of the word “sticky” in datasheets, white papers, or application notes. Suppliers of Intellectual Property (IP) cores (the overly-broad label that’s commonly applied to pre-engineered components that you can drop into your design, saving time, errors, and design effort) tout the speed, configurability, reliability, density, and power efficiency of their offerings, but never the “stickiness.” Unless you listen carefully to conversations in hallways, meeting … Read More → "Sticky Business"

Virtex 4 Gets Real

The news has been slowly leaked like the plot to an upcoming summer blockbuster movie. First, there is “the teaser.” In movies, this is a 30 second preview that gives only the most basic hint of the film. In our case, this was Xilinx’s ASMBL architecture announcement that came out in December 2003. Xilinx outlined the next-generation floorplan, explaining that it would be rich in hard IP, grouped into what the company called “columns”. They also revealed that the new family would enable a number of product variants focused on different application domains. … Read More → "Virtex 4 Gets Real"

What’s Your Persona?

Unbelievable! FPGA Journal is running a feature article on a Xilinx organization change? What’s next, an exposé on Altera’s new carpets at corporate headquarters? Maybe an in-depth analysis of Lattice’s motivation for switching from Seattle’s Best to Stumptown coffee in their cafeteria? What happened to the concept of discriminating technical journalism?

While org-chart changes are certainly not our typical subject matter, we’re not just talking about a few ambitious executives forging a path up the corporate career ladder. We won’t repeat the details from … Read More → "What’s Your Persona?"

Jason Cong

Professor Jason Cong’s office on the campus of UCLA is full, but not cluttered; important, but not pretentious; functional, but not over-designed. A wall of bookshelves that overlooks the desk and conference table is filled with proceedings from probably every technical conference ever to approach the subject of programmable logic design. One gets the impression that Professor Cong has not only read them all, but also participated in the production of a good percentage of them.

There is nothing in particular here to tip the casual visitor that this is the dojo where much of … Read More → "Jason Cong"

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