2008: Multicore, Parallel Programming and Industry Outlook"
EDP 2008: Multicore, Parallel Programming and Industry
EDP 2008 is an IEEE technical event that is run by the
Design Automation Technical committee. The event is a
2 day workshop that invites papers from the semiconductor
and systems companies, EDA vendors and the financial and
analyst community that are part of the design automation
ecosystem. The themes of the workshops tend to be topical
and forward looking and focus on bringing to light technical
issues that the industry needs to work towards resolving
as a whole, including standards.
This year’s EDP conference focused on the continuing evolution
of multi-core systems and their associated design problems.
Semiconductor vendor perspectives offered in the Intel
and Sun keynotes reflected upon the difficulty of programming
multicore platforms, the lack of software that could exploit
the concurrency of the multicore design and the limiting
nature of memory latency that holds down system speed.
Speakers from ARM, MIPS, ARC, Tensilica, Sonics examined
various aspects of design and implementation. The issue
of how much software engineers would pay for a multicore
toolset was a topic of debate. The consensus seemed to
be that they would not pay very much. The problem then
becomes a business issue more than a technical one.
Underlying all this is the acceptance that multicore is
real, it is here and it will become more pervasive going
forward. The key issues facing the industry today, as
several speakers pointed out, is how their solution or
tool solves a problem or a set of problems associated
with multicore design, integration, verification, test
or other. At the end of the day, similar to any historical
platform evolution of the model, the set of vendors that
are able to provide standards based models for a multicore
platform are likely to be the winners in the game. Make
no mistake, the industry is going through a very important
inflexion point. Whether you choose to call it ESL or
multicore or many core or whatever, everyone must have
a strategy for how they are going to participate in this
new design ecosystem.
While the overall macro climate might be shaping the current
gloomy outlook on EDA, the VC outlook that EDA is an overinvested
sector is debatable. Equally debatable is the view that
it is all doom and gloom for EDA. With an expected outlook
of 4% growth for 2008 and higher growth beyond, it does
not appear that EDA is in the doldrums.