| SAN FRANCISCO Mark Templeton, president of ARM Inc., told a group of EDA executives and chip designers Thursday (April 7) that interoperability and collaborative design are evolutionary byproducts of semiconductor industry disaggregation that can ultimately be of great benefit to the industry as a whole. |
In a keynote address delivered to attendees of the 15th Synopsys EDA Interoperability Developers' Forum in Santa Clara, Calif., Templeton spelled out his vision for a collaborative design network of design teams, legacy design content, EDA vendors, design service providers, intellectual property (IP) providers, consultants, software vendors and manufacturers working together to create products seamlessly and efficiently.
In describing this network, Templeton invoked Metcalfe's Law, created by 3Com founder Robert Metcalfe, which states that the value of a network is directly proportional to the number of members in that network. Templeton, who is also chairman of Si2, said that the more companies contributing to this collaborative design network, the greater its overall impact on the industry can be.
"The value of the design network grows every time one of us steps into it and connects," Templeton said.
Templeton drew a distinction between the design network largely in place today and his ultimate vision for a collaborative design network. While many IC companies today rely on dozens of vendors to bring a product into existence, this network is structured such that the IC company acts as a coordinator, dealing individually with each separate company. He said he believes that a more effective structure can be created when the elements of a collaborative design network start interacting and communicating more with each other, minimizing the need for the IC company to act as mediator between the various vendor companies.
Templeton described the history of disaggregation in the semiconductor industry, from the 1970s when integrated design manufacturers (IDMs) created their own design software, built their own fab equipment and controlled every phase of product creation from initial design through manufacturing, to today's age of horizontal specialization and IP-driven design, where design, EDA, IP, fab equipment and manufacturing are provided by separate entities. Although it can be challenging from a business and logistics standpoint, he said, disaggregation brings many benefits to the industry because companies that are focused in one area can typically execute much better than companies involved in several aspects.
"We are really creating a disaggregated design chain," he said. "In some sense, we all wish for the good old days when we did it all in house, but those days are not going to come back."
Templeton, who was a co-founder and served as president and CEO of Artisan until it was acquired by ARM in Augst 2004, also cautioned designers to "pay attention to manufacturing advances, because manufacturing advances can change markets."