A couple of weeks ago, I talked to Naveed Sherwani, the new CEO of SiFive. For more background on them, see my post SiFive: a RISC-V Fabless Semiconductor Company.
Naveed did his PhD in the mid-80s on EDA in general and routing in particular. Then he literally wrote the book on physical design, Algorithms for VLSI Physical Design Automation, the third edition of which came out in 1999.
After being a professor and producing 100-odd papers on physical design, in 1993 he joined Intel to work on automating their microprocessor design flow from high-level spec all the way through to high-volume manufacturing. He then joined Intel Microelectronics Services, a subsidiary of Intel focused on ASIC design. That morphed into Open SIlicon where he was involved with dozens of ASICs.
He has spent the last three years running a software company and has a good perspective on the difference between hardware and software.
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