Willian Shakespeare’s Juliet asked, “What’s in a name?” Well, maybe more than you’d expect when it comes to chip design industry initiatives.
In the late 1988 when the EDA Consortium (EDAC) was formed, EDA tools and methodologies were the must-have tools for chip design. The organization became the reliable forum for addressing cross-industry issues, such as interoperability and export law compliance, and did a great deal to promote and brand the EDA industry. EDAC became a co-sponsor of the Design Automation Conference in those early days, and launched the Market Statistics Service (MSS) and the Phil Kaufman Award, now co-presented yearly with the IEEE Council on Electronic Design Automation.
Much has changed within the semiconductor design ecosystem since those early days, even while EDAC has continued on its mission and EDA persists in making products for designing chips. Many other technologies and solutions are required to drive the design ecosystem. No one heard of semiconductor IP until about 1991 and embedded software was “someone else’s responsibility.” An emerging market in advanced packaging, such as 3D IC and wafer-level integration, wasn’t even a consideration in the late ‘80s. Taken together along with EDA, there’s no single organization representing the collective interests of this “design ecosystem.”
One thing that hasn’t changed and no one disputes that the chip/system design ecosystem is critical to the continued growth and success of the $360 billion Semiconductor industry.
For all of these reasons and more, it was time for the EDA Consortium to put on a new name and take on a new look. It needed to expand its mission and increase its activities to fully embrace the breadth of the design ecosystem.
Drum roll, please. After 28 years, the EDA Consortium recently became the Electronic System Design (ESD) Alliance. A launch party was attended by more than 125 members of the design ecosystem community. They celebrated and feasted on hors d’oeuvres, wine, and craft beer with the ESD Alliance Board of Directors and staff.
The ESD Alliance’s expanded mission as an international association of companies is to work with providers of goods and services throughout the semiconductor design ecosystem and act as a forum to address technical, marketing, economic, and legislative issues affecting them. The alliance is the central voice to communicate and promote the value of the semiconductor design industry as a vital component of the global electronics industry. Think of it as the SEMI, the forum for the manufacturing ecosystem, for the chip-design ecosystem.
EDAC’s behind-the-scenes committees have been active and effective and that won’t change. Committee work will continue to track export regulations, law and compliance, make recommendations on license management and anti-piracy considerations, and oversee OS and interoperability issues. The MSS reports will be issued quarterly, the Emerging Companies Committee will host events, as always, and the prestigious Phil Kaufman Award will be presented. The Trade Shows Committee will remain the EDS Alliance members’ voice for various industry events. They will be joined by new committees that are being formed for semiconductor IP, embedded software, and system scaling through advanced packaging.
Robert (Bob) Smith is Executive Director of the Electronic System Design (ESD) Alliance, formerly the EDA Consortium. He is responsible for the management and operations of the ESD Alliance, an international association of companies providing goods and services throughout the semiconductor design ecosystem. Bob received his BSEE from U.C. Davis and his MSEE from Stanford University.