Semiconductor industry performance a pleasant surprise: Dr. Wally Rhines

Posted on

The year 2018 is nearly upon us! And, who better than Dr. Walden C. Rhines, CEO and chairman of the Board of Directors of Mentor, a Siemens business, a leading industry personality, to provide us with an outlook for the global semiconductor industry!

Dr. Wally Rhines and I chatted about the global semiconductor and EDA industries, the Accellera Portable Stimulus Standard (PSS), and a host of other issues.

Semicon industry in 2018
First, how is Mentor predicting the global semiconductor industry to perform in 2018?

Dr. Rhines said: “The semiconductor industry performance for 2017 has been a pleasant surprise for most industry observers. The year is finally winding down, with the expectations for growth in the low 20s on the average – nearly 3-4 times as much as most observers had predicted only one year ago.

“Unit growth has consistently been 7-9 percent in recent years since the great recession. However, ASPs have been pretty consistently declining until 2017, when they were driven up mostly by memory prices for DRAMs and FLASH. Memory, once again, is behind the 2017 boom cycle. However, the rest of the IC business has also been relatively strong with growth in the higher single digits (7-8 percent), which is stronger than we have experienced in recent years.

“Memory prices are expected to soften as additional capacity comes on-line in 2018, especially as the year continues into the second half. However, the remainder of the non-memory semiconductor market should continue to have strong performance similar to 2017 (~7-8 percent) as the market fundamentals remain strong.

“Over the last several years, the semiconductor industry has experienced a wave of consolidations. I believe that we are between major waves of growth that are typical of the semiconductor industry. Historically, new semiconductor growth is ushered in by new applications that become possible when the cost per function, or some other new capability, makes the new application possible.

“In recent years, the cost per transistor for semiconductors has decreased more than 35 percent per year, just as it has, on average, for most of the last 60 years. It’s likely that continuation of this trend will, in fact, enable future waves of new semiconductor applications.

“Packaging, as well as package/chip simulation, continue to be important issues. Next generation simulation, verification, and analysis for multi-chip packaging configurations is now available. Now, designers of chips can intelligently analyze the packaging and pin-out configurations that will be most effective for cost and performance, based on a steady flow of data between the packaging engineer and the chip designer.”

EDA segment in 2018
And, how is the EDA segment looking in 2018?

According to Dr. Rhines, the EDA License and Maintenance is having a strong year in 2017. The annual growth is over 9 percent through the most recent four quarters with available data (Q3 2016 – Q2 2017).

He said: “The Semiconductor IP component of EDA achieved growth of nearly 17 percent overall, over the same period, as would be expected since Semiconductor IP is an important part of the supply chain for the broader semiconductor market.

“With expectations for the world economy and the overall semiconductor industry remaining strong, I expect semiconductor investment into design to also remain strong. EDA License and Maintenance is accounted for within the semiconductor company R&D expense budgets. Those budgets have a strong correlation to EDA License and Maintenance revenue. Therefore, I expect similarly strong growth in 2018.
Read the rest of this entry »


What’s with names and numbers?

Posted on

What’s with names and numbers? It all started when a friend casually asked me whether I was destined to win so many awards! Now, I don’t even know why I have won so many awards for my blogs. Actually, it was 17 at last count, 16 international and one national. We did a numerology report. A table is given here for those interested.
First, my full name. PRADEEP CHAKRABORTY.
PRADEEP = 7+9+1+4+5+5+7 = 38/2
CHAKRABORTY = 3+8+1+2+9+1+2+6+9+2+7 = 50
So, PRADEEP CHAKRABORTY, added together is 38+50 = 88+8 = 16. And, 1+6=7.

Now, my favourite subject: SEMICONDUCTORS.
SEMICONDUCTORS = 1+5+4+9+3+6+5+4+3+3+2+6+9+1 = 61 – 6+1 = 7.
ELECTRONICS = 5+3+5+3+2+9+6+5+9+3+1 = 51 = 5+1 = 6.
ELECTRONIC = 5+3+5+3+2+9+6+5+9+3 = 50 = 5+0 = 5
COMPONENTS = 3+6+4+7+6+5+5+5+2+1 = 44 = 4+4 = 8. Total” 5+8 = 13/4.
TELECOMMUNICATIONS: 2+5+3+5+3+6+4+ 4+3+5+9+3+1+2+9+6+5+1 = 76 = 7+6 = 4.

Three things are very clear! One, semiconductors has ALWAYS been my favorite for a number of reasons. The first reason is very simple – my name and the subject — 7 and 7, match! Two, electronics comes very close, and it also, somehow, runs the world. Three, so does the electronic components, but as the number 4 suggests, it is a subject difficult to grasp. The same applies to telecoms, as well.

Don’t agree with me? Well, as a question: please ask your friend: what does your phone do? He/she will come up with a long list. If you rephrase the question as to: what node is the platform (for a device) based on, the answer will be ‘silence‘! 😉

Okay, this is getting a bit boring! 🙂 Let’s have some fun with sports, eh?

ATHLETICS: 1+2+8+3+5+2+9+3+1 = 34/7. Difficult, but very entertaining. To excel, you need to work very hard.

BADMINTON: 2+1+4+4+9+5+2+6+5 = 38/2. A game favoured by romantics. Elegant to watch. Smash it! 😉

BASKETBALL: 2+1+1+2+5+2+2+1+3+3 = 22/4 – Fast paced. You need to be fast paced too!

BOXING: 2+6+6+9+5+7 = 35/8. This is a game for tough men and women who can take a pounding.

CHESS: 3+8+5+1+1 = 18/9. Played by few. Understood by few.

CRICKET: 3+9+9+3+2+5+2 = 33/6. A game for the masses. Interesting, that there are a handful of test teams in the world. Mostly, former British colonies.

FOOTBALL: 6+6+6+2+2+1+3+3 = 29/2. Very popular, but rough game, for the masses.

JUDO: 1+3+4+6 = 14/5 = Again, for the masses. Few practitioners in India, though

GYMNASTICS: 7+7+4+5+1+1+2+9+3+1 = 40/4. This one’s tough, but makes for great watching.

SWIMMING: 1+5+9+4+4+9+5+7 = 44/8. A tough game. Prefers folks who are very fit!

TAE-KWAN-DO: 2+1+5+2+5+1+5+4+6 = 31/4. Same as above.

TABLE TENNIS: 2+1+2+3+5+2+5+5+5+9+1 = 40/4. Fast paced! Same as above.

TENNIS: 2+5+5+5+9+1 = 27/9. A sport for the masses, featuring gladiators.

VOLLEYBALL: 4+6+3+3+5+7+2+1+9+9 = 49/4. This one’s needs tremendous agility. Well, which game doesn’t?

WEIGHTLIFTING: 5+5+9+7+8+2+3+9+6+2+9+5+7 = 77/5. For supermen and women.

Let’s look at sports. SPORTS: 1+7+6+9+2+1 = 26/8.

Sports itself, is a difficult discipline. So, how can anyone excel in any one among these sports, or well, in life? Simple. By doing hard work! 🙂 It all comes to those individuals who work hard nearly all their life.

Friends, I encourage all of you to try out your full name and full date of birth, (eg. 01-02-2011) separately, and respectively, to see where you stand in life! 🙂

Be aware! Numbers DO NOT make any man or woman. Only HARD WORK does! 🙂 You need to be agile, have the necessary skills, and speed, to excel in any field!

AGILE: 1+7+9+3+5 = 25/7.
SKILLS: 1+2+9+3+3+1 = 19/1.
SPEED: 1+7+5+5+4 = 22/4.
HARD WORK: 8+1+9+4+5+6+9+2 = 43/7.

Finally, in case I’ve made any mistakes, while adding up the numbers, kindly forgive me. I am NOT an astrologer. 🙂

Movie on my life? Naahh!! ;)

Posted on Updated on

That’s me! 🙂

This is extremely funny! An acquaintance recently called to check whether I would be interested in having a movie made on my life! Before he could finish, I replied, NO!

Some thoughts! First, why make a movie on me, a nobody? Two, I haven’t even achieved anything great like any sportsperson! Three, who will even watch the movie? Four, who will act my role??

The acquaintance said that I had won nine global awards for my blog, and that is a very great achievement! Hmmm, I have won eight global awards and one Indian award, that too from the film industry, of all people! 😉

In fact, I have won 21 awards so far, four at Global Sources, Hong Kong, and 17 for my blogs, including nine for Pradeep’s Point! However, I personally don’t think these would lead to any movie!

Come to think about it! So far, NO ONE in India has recognized my work, which is fine, given the lack of semiconductor- and electronics-related work and writings from India.

The one award that I did receive in India, was from the Indian film industry. I even recall asking my family: is everything all right with the Indian film industry? Why are they giving me this award??

Given the general lack of awareness, and well, the lack of overall support for me, at least, I can only think of three people who have supported me right through — Jo Kuo from Taiwan, and Usha Prasad and Aanchal Ghatak from India, besides my immediate family.

I don’t even want to mention the lack of ANY support from my relatives. Not their fault, as semiconductors is tough for anyone to understand, right?

I would like to thank the entire Asian Sources Media, now, Global Sources, Hong Kong, and all the folks there for helping me understand the intricacies of telecom, electronics, and semiconductors, and of course, the Global Sources’ tutelage. My thanks to the global electronics and semiconductor industries as well, without whom this would not have happened.

There is an interesting remark on my Facebook from a friend. It says: “Semicon needs to be in the mainstream. Such a miniscule component, but, at the heart of technology. Without semiconductors, we wouldn’t have this easy life.”

Very correct! Hope everyone appreciates this hard fact!

So, what will I do with any movie on my life? 🙂 Enjoy, everyone! This is ridiculous! 😉


Veloce structured around verticals

Posted on

Anoop Saha, Mentor, did a presentation on Veloce vertical solutions at the Emulation Conference in Bangalore.

MentorVeloce solutions are used across networking, storage, multimedia, mobile, CPU, automotive and military aeronautics. Veloce is structured around verticals to be segment focused, identify and address segment specific challenges, and identify gaps early on.

Veloce solutions are connecting the DUT to the external stimulus. iSolve speed adaptors connect real-life systems with the emulator. The Virtualab peripherals — VirtuaLab is the software representation of a speed adaptor. The Veloce transactor library – Veloce compatible verification IP. Transactors (VTL) to integrate with users UVM testbench and lower the abstraction layer.

In networking, for instance, the network switch is driving complexity. There is shift to SDN driving chip size and high port counts. Next, 5G is also driving new technology
and standards. Veloce for networking is offering solutions on top of core emulation platform. The verification flow is expanding to include Lab system validation. As of now, SDN is said to be creating a methodology shift. Mentor is said to be the only vendor with a complete offering.

Verification can no longer ignore firmware. Emulation enables earlier firmware development. Software debug is done with Codelink. The Veloce power app is used for broad base analysis. Veloce also offers complete solution for multimedia.

There has also been an industry shift from spec to benchmark. Many new apps target benchmarks for mobile devices. Examples are the AnTuTu benchmark, Geekbench for CPU and GPU benchmark, GFXBench, a GPU graphics centric benchmark, Android smartphone and tablet benchmark, etc.

SAP Leonardo allows rapid, scalable transformation

Posted on

SAP announced the creation of a digital ecosystem with the SAP Leonardo portfolio, exclusively for India. SAP Leonardo is a digital innovation system for rapid, scalable transformation. It includes analytics, blockchain, machine learning, IoT, Big Data, data intelligence and SAP cloud platform using design thinking services. Bill McDermott, CEO, SAP, says, “SAP Leonardo will unlock the full potential of the intelligent enterprise.”

img_20161202_031418Deb Deep Sengupta, President and MD, SAP India Subcontinent, said, there are four traits that set the top 100 global companies from the rest, and have a digital mindset. These traits are:

* The companies are focused on true transformation.
* The companies invest in bimodal architecture.
* The companies transform customers facing function first.
* The companies are talent driven.

The mantra for achieving digitization is by intelligently connecting people, things and businesses to drive the outcome. Sengupta cited examples of Jio, Tata Group and Trenitalia, Italy. He added: “IoT sensors report issues in real-time for Trenitalia. The maintenance costs are down 8-10 percent using this process. SAP is also driving the IoT revolution. We plan to invest Euro 2 billion in IoT till 2020.”

Sengupta outlined the the architecture for doing digital today, from S/4 HANA to SAP Leonardo, on to SAP IoT Connect 365, and on to the Intelligent Edge.

SAP Leonardo delivers new capabilities
Neeraj Athalye, Head – S/4HANA I GST Adoption I Leonardo, SAP Indian Subcontinent, said: “Leonardo is a digital innovation system. The innovation needs to result in tangible benefits. A company also needs to integrate.”

SAP Leonardo delivers new capabilities in machine learning, IoT, Big Data, and analytics. It is open, extendable and ready to be woven into every facet of your business. SAP Leonardo also allows for rapid implementation and seamless scaling the existing SAP platform and application portfolio.

There are all the ingredients to make an innovative business process. Customers solve all common problems. All of the components have been added to the accelerator. An accelerator can be used to redirect maintenance needs, optimizing inventory levels, and ensure consistent temperatures with pre-set tolerances.

SAP IoT Connect 365
SAP IoT Connect 365 is a managed, cloud-based service that simplifies IoT connectivity for enterprises, government and people. The solution makes it easy for enterprises to connect their IoT devices and gateways over cellular networks, through a web GUI or a web service API. A part of the Leonardo technical services, this solution was first launched at SAPPHIRE, and represents tremendous opportunity for mobile operators.

Through SAP IoT Connect 365, SAP provides full connectivity management ranging from provisioning and activating SIM cards to defining usage thresholds for devices or groups of devices to streamline their data consumption. By using a neutral SIM card, enterprises will be able to forego lock-ins to a single mobile operator and benefit from the use of the radio network of operators that will be capable of giving the best price/performance for their needs.

What sets this solution apart is the simple business model, ease of integration, better management of connection costs and a mobile data service that leverages technologies to their best possible use. The solution has a number of customers in trial and one of the first ones to use it is a global automotive customer that is utilizing the SAP IoT Connect 365 to connect their test fleets.

SAP IoT Connect 365, delivers choice and flexibility to enterprises, laying the foundation for a well-connected, cost-efficient, and secure environment.

Athalye added: “We make the enterprises connect their devices over the cellular network. Data must be encrypted and secure. We follow all of the global norms of data security. Data does not understand boundaries and should be governed. SAP has stringent norms for data center approvals.

“Our core is also GST compliant. Customers are filing their GST returns as per the Indian norms. On-premise ERP, digital compliance and GSTN are integrated. In fact, every SAP customer is GST compliant.”

StanChart redefining banking with connected thinking

Posted on Updated on

Standard Chartered Bank is developing the power of the interconnected strategy. StanChart is also redefining banking with connected thinking. Digital is combining with technology to trigger different touch points. Standard Chartered Bank also opened its new Global Business Services (GBC) center in Bangalore, early this month.

Kwan Chee Sun, Head, Standard Chartered Global Services, India, said that the fourth industrial revolution — the digital age — blurs the lines between digital, biological, etc. The bulk of the increase will happen in the technology space. He referred to Smile To Pay, a service offered by KFC and AliPay started in China.

Dr. Michael Gorriz, Group CIO, said that Standard Chartered had been discussing the future of banking for ages. How will StanChart look like 10 years down the road?

He said: “Five years ago, smartphones became pervasive and changed the face of banking. Banking is about basic services — store, lend and borrow money. We are now experiencing a world of digitised money. Technology has broken down the barriers. In future, digital will be dominant in bank-customer relations. Data and analytics will help banks to serve customers better in the future. We are now investing US$ 3 billion in improving our global footprint.

“We partner with fintech companies and incorporate them into our atmosphere. We have also built up an accelerator lab. Currently, we have a challenge with legacy systems. In the future, we would like an adaptive landscape. Investment in APIs is critical.”

Trends in banking
Designed for SMEs, Standard Chartered’s Straight2Bank (S2B) is a fully-integrated Internet banking platform that allows you to perform all your transaction and information.

Talking about technology trends in banking, he said: “The Straight2Bank app has an interface for commercial and corporate customers. Digital payments are engrained into the interface. There will be data-driven business models. Big Data can help us gaining insights into the real needs of customers. Next, fraud detection is important for us. Also, blockchain is helpful in bringing transparency into banking.”

Gorriz noted that StanChart currently operates in 68 countries. The learnings among the different markets are exchanged quickly. StanChart supports over 9 million customers today in retail banking.

James Dolphin, CIO, Retail, Private Banking and Wealth Management, said that banks create and convey trust, adding: “Cavalier people generally write the best software. We are now competing for software engineering talent.” He added that banks had been mistrustful to open source for a very long time. That scenario was changing.

Dolphin noted that the current scenario of software development resembled the waterfall vs. agile development of software. Digital product owners tell the team what needs to be done. The team of engineers have two weeks to change their minds, if needed. “We are now looking at areas where the engineers and software developers can run speed, or, be on a run-on condition. Our engineers should have the ability to create something very quickly.”

In a presentation made via video, Tom Siebel, CEO, C3 IoT, said that IoT is about the sensoring of value chains. Smart, connected products are today transforming companies. The C3 IoT platform allows the company to collect and analyze data.

Focus on data
Shameek Kundu, chief data officer, Standard Chartered Bank, during a chat, said: “Data will be very important. We are working on expanding the credit transaction data. We are also working toward building a safer infrastructure for the bank. In Singapore, we have combined geospatial infrastructure with real-time offers. This exercise is building on the data asset.”

Regarding the smaller traders, he said: “We can bring small manufacturers into our stream. Having access to good data will help us in expanding credit. Technology can play a big role in all of this. Our strengths are the advantage of investing in technology and improving on our footprint.”

As for blockchain, he noted: “Blockchain is a way to build trust. We have invested in Ripple, and worked with AIG. Our priority remains to upgrading on services and technology to serve customers.” Standard Chartered Bank made a strategic investment in Ripple, a leading distributed ledger company, last September. The investment will accelerate the Bank’s digitisation agenda in distributed ledger technology as it explores new ways of adding value to its clients and the industry.

He continued: “We actually went open source in banking. As the customers’ needs evolve, there will be a need to invest in technology. We recognize that we have to work at the customers’ requirements and then, meeting them. Technology companies are also building specific solutions to support for our services.”

Engineering analytics gaining momentum in India: MathWorks

Posted on Updated on

MathWorks, founded 1984, is a global software company with headquarters in Natick, Massachusetts, USA. Engineers and scientists worldwide rely on products – MATLAB, the language of technical computing, is a programming environment for algorithm development, data analysis, visualization, and numeric computation.
Simulink is a graphical environment for simulation and Model-Based Design of multidomain dynamic and embedded systems.

MathWorks produces nearly 100 additional products for specialized tasks such as data analysis, image processing, control design, wireless and radar.

K RaoKishore Rao, MD of MathWorks India, said that engineering analytics is gaining momentum in India. The data analytics space is actually very strong. There is an increased use of embedded analytics. Customers want to have analytics happening on the cloud as well as on the device.

“A recent trend is to have data analytics integrated with simulation; to take the insight from data and build better and smarter products using simulation. MathWorks is uniquely positioned as we have an integrated solution with data analytics and model-based design. With this you are really driving more efficiency into your products and business. This is happening across the industry, eg, automotive, industrial automation. Some companies are also talking of having a digital twin.

“Today, engineers are creating smarter and more efficient products. Also, they are focusing on predictive maintenance to improve the reliability of the products. Therefore, you are able to drive the maintenance cycles well in advance. With the growing number of sensors on products, predictive maintenance is a key focus for companies to leverage the data from the sensors. Some also call this sensor analytics.

MathWorks has a strong focus towards academia, and works with engineering institutes across India. Rao added: “Today, over 1,200+ engineering colleges in India use our products. These include IITs, NIITs, and several state engineering colleges.”

MathWorks offers a ‘Campus Wide license’ to institutes which opens up access to the tools to all faculty and students in classrooms, labs, across engineering, science, business, and other disciplines to use MATLAB and Simulink for data analytics, model-based design of embedded and cyber-physical systems, and many other technology areas. This will enable improved analysis and problem-solving skills through hands-on, project-based learning; improved understanding of underlying concepts and theory; and leading-edge academic research using the same tools widely used in industry.

“We have an integrated approach to academia. One aspect is providing access to tools. This is significantly enhanced through the campus wide license. The other important aspect is to help in the usage of tools by professors and students. A team of technical evangelists works with professors to help them incorporate tools into the courses, and also drives student interest through project work and student competitions.

“One challenge we hear is that software tools that are bought by colleges do not get used sometimes. As the ‘campus wide license’ is an annual term license, it keeps people honest on both sides (institute and software supplier) as the license needs to be renewed annually and will not be renewed if the usage is not good.

“We have been promoting the campus wide license for the last three years, and it has really picked up over the last 12 months. Today we have over 50 institutes with the campus wide license and this would grow to 90 by the end of 2017. We have a Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG) of having 500+ institutes on campus license model by 2020.

Tools for embedded vision
MathWorks also provides software tools for embedded vision. Rao said: “Vision is a huge area of interest. We are providing tools such as Computer Vision, which use deep learning techniques to gather insight from image and video data.

“Image and video applications are being leveraged by all industries today – automotive, aerospace, medical, consumer electronics, industrial equipment verticals. This is critical in safety critical applications such as ADAS or automated driving. We can share an example from Scania where they used MathWorks tools for a safety critical application such as Advanced Emergency Braking System which involved sensor fusion of both radar and camera sensor data.”

How can machine builders prepare for IIoT? Rao said: “We are doing things in Industry 4.0! Data analytics and sensor analytics are focus areas for us. We are working with several industrial equipment customers on predictive maintenance.

“We also work with start-ups, and are seeing a huge interest. We have a start-up program, where our products are offered at a big discount. A lot of the start-ups that we are working with are in medical devices, aerospace and automotive “We provide a combination of our products and services for the start-ups. The value from MATLAB and Simulink is immense.

The go-to-market strategy is three-pronged:
* Commercial customers – we work with the commercial customers in areas of sensor analytics and Model based design to help them develop better products

* Academic Institutions – working with engineers. Making sure they are trained on industry standard tools like MATLAB

* Start-up-ups – where we offer them special price, services and mentorship.

This March, MathWorks announced the release 2017a of the MATLAB and Simulink Product Families. Rao said: “We have a new release 2017b, that will be out in October. The release adds new important deep learning capabilities that simplify how engineers, researchers, and other domain experts design, train, and deploy models.”