Behrooz Zahiri, Magma Design Automation
2/27/2012 9:36 AM EST
Ever since computer-aided electronic design automation tools started to appear on the scene, companies have released newer versions with enhanced capabilities and proclaimed them to be “bigger,” “better,” “faster,” “more accurate,” and so forth. More recently, it has become common to describe a tool as being “the next generation”, often abbreviated to “TNG” in honor of the classic television series Star Trek: The Next Generation. (Created 21 years after the original Star Trek show, Star Trek TNG was set in the 24th century from the year 2364 through 2370 – about 100 years after the original series timeframe.)
But when you fight your way through all of the rhetoric, you come to realize that – in reality – thus far there have been only two main epochs in Electronic Design Automation (EDA). (In this context, the term epoch is understood to refer to a period of time that is characterized by radical changes and memorable developments.) Of particular interest is the fact that we are now at the dawn of the third epoch of EDA.
This paper starts by briefly recollecting what life for electronic hardware design engineers was like before EDA appeared on the scene. Next, key aspects of Epoch #1 and Epoch #2 are considered. Finally, the new capabilities that will define Epoch #3, such as employing sign-off-level tools throughout the entire design and implementation flow, are introduced. As we will see, Magma Design Automation led the second epoch and is now blazing the trail into the third.
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