CEO interview: Cadence is about enablement, collaboration

June 25, 2015 // By Peter Clarke
EDA companies are being asked to provide expertise from the circuit- to the system-level observes Lip-Bu Tan, CEO of EDA software vendor Cadence Design Systems Inc. Covering such a breadth of endeavour requires finding the right levels of engagement and collaboration, Tan said in an interview with EE Times Europe.

The demands placed on EDA companies can also be viewed as spanning from the atomic scale of transistors up to the global scale of the Internet of Things and satellite communications. It can't get much broader than that but Tan reckons that no EDA company is doing a better job of meeting them than Cadence.

The company offers expertise at three identifiable levels; core EDA tools for IC design, design tool sets such as Allegro and OrCAD for PCBs and on to sub-system design with IP blocks. The ideal is to have the three levels merge as a continuum to allow design ideas to move from the "napkin" system down to the detailed layout of billions of transistors and back up to the working system with software running on hardware – faultlessly.

Cadence's three strands of EDA enablement cover the IC, the board and boxes. Source: Cadence, IMEC Technology Forum.

In 2013 Tan said his company would be moving up to address system and software issues. This was said in an interview at that year's Cadence Live Europe user conference, held in Munich, Germany (see Munich Calling: Cadence is Ready for software). A couple of years later at the IMEC Technology Forum held in Brussels, Belgium, EE Times Europe challenged the Cadence CEO that further movement towards system-level support is not that evident.

Tan's response is that 40 percent of Cadence's revenue came from systems companies in 2014. In that year Cadence took in $1.581 billion in revenue and a made a net profit of $159 million. And in March 2013 Cadence started to become a significant force as an IP core provider with the acquisition of data-plane processor company Tensilica Inc.

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