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Issue 2, 2012

Executive Spotlight
A Perspective on How Standards are Enabling 'Better, Sooner, Cheaper' Designs

25 years ago, Synopsys was founded with the vision of providing EDA tools for engineers to enable them to accelerate their innovation and deliver differentiated products to market Better, Sooner, and Cheaper. The race to deliver better products to market sooner and cheaper has become increasingly competitive, and engineers are looking for every advantage. In our interview with Karen Bartleson, 2012 President-elect of the IEEE Standards Association and senior director of community marketing, Synopsys, we discuss how standards are helping engineers deliver better products to market sooner and cheaper.

Q: Can you give us some insight into how EDA standards help engineers deliver 'better' designs?
Sure. Standards are a great way to help ensure quality designs, and higher quality means “better” designs. For example, when translating designs into multiple formats, errors are prone to happen, but by utilizing a single standard, those errors can be eliminated. Also, as designs become more and more complex, they typically incorporate more semiconductor IP blocks. If the IP has been designed and verified to meet specific standards, engineers can feel confident about the quality of their designs and ultimately deliver a better design faster.

Q: You just mentioned the use of IP as a way for engineers to get their products to market 'faster', but what role do EDA standards have in helping engineers get their products to market 'sooner'?
Clearly, the use of IP is a key way to accelerate the design process, but EDA standards also play a critical role in helping engineers get their designs, and therefore their end products, to market sooner. Think about how design teams can significantly reduce learning curves by adopting pre-established methods and standards. The use of common formats and languages for describing a design means the engineering team doesn't need to waste precious time learning and coming up to speed on new formats. Following a standard methodology accelerates the design cycle too. Together, the use of IP, such as USB, the application of methodologies, like UVM, and the adherence to EDA standards, such as UPF, are powerful ways to get to market sooner.

Q: Okay, so how do standards enable engineers to develop their designs more cost effectively, or 'cheaper'?
Employing standards is a fundamental way to improve efficiency, and that translates into a 'cheaper' design process. For instance, standards eliminate the need to write translators or interfaces which significantly reduces a product's development costs. Because there are a plethora of standards available, engineers can select the EDA tools that best suit their design requirements and reap the benefits of delivering a 'cheaper' design.

Q: Given what we discussed, what would your takeaway message be to our readers?
Standards are often thought of as boring or as a process mandate with no real benefits. I hope the examples we've discussed today shed a new light on the powerful, competitive advantages that standards can provide engineers in terms of delivering 'better, sooner, cheaper' designs.

Figure 1

More Information:

Karen Bartleson
Karen Bartleson, 2012 President-elect of the IEEE Standards Association
Karen Bartleson is the senior director of Community Marketing at Synopsys and the 2012 President-elect of the IEEE Standards Association. She has been active in the EDA industry since 1980 when she joined Texas Instrument's (TI's) Design Automation Department after graduating from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Karen joined Synopsys in 1995 and since then has focused much of her attention on EDA standards.

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