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Lynguent, Altos, InPA and Faust in Copenhagen

The problem with being an editor in today’s market of disappearing publications and out-of-work colleagues is that you have far less time to cover all the good stories that are out there. I hope to address this problem – at least in a minor way – by briefly highlighting the companies and technology leaders that I talk with on a weekly basis.


You may recall that Lynguent was started in 2001 by Martin Vlach, a year after Analogy was acquired by Avanti. Martin helped start Analogy in the mid-1980’s. Like Analogy, the focus of Lynguent was in the vital but niche market of analog and mixed signal (AMS) simulators.

Today, Lynguent continues to accelerate the modeling and simulation of complex systems and circuits. So what’s new at Lynguent? A quick check of the company’s online press room reveals an increase in the number of new advisors. Jean Armstrong, PR agent for Lynguent, confirms that the company will have more personnel, technology and product announcements to make before the end of the year.

Altos Design Automation

You never know who you will meet on a flight from Portland to San Jose. On a recent trip to DAC, I found myself next to Kevin Chou, VP of R&D and Founder of Altos. Kevin and I talked about the evolving role of characterization in IP reuse. That conversation eventually led to a more detailed discussion this week with Jim McCanny, CEO and Co-Founder of Altos, an EDA company that provides characterization technology for IP reuse and more accurate modeling of timing, power and process variations.

I had erroneously assumed that Altos provided device characterization tools when, in fact, their technology is used for IC characterization, eg., standard cells, IOs and memories. What makes this technology interesting is that it helps to clarify the fuzzy design and manufacturing boundaries that become especially tricky to manage at 40nm process node and below. Jim explained that the traditional IC characterization via interpolative models add a significant amount of margins to the final model. These wider margins – added because of uncertainty – hurt the engineer’s ability to reach timing closure and manage power.


Even though ESL has lost some of its luster in the EDA world, the importance of virtual and hardware prototypes for chip design and verification has not lessened. A relatively new player to the market for FPGA-based prototyping is Integrated Prototype Automation (InPA) – pronounced “In-Pah”. The company was founded in October, 2007, by Thomas Huang and Michael Chang.

This week I spoke with Joe Gianelli, VP of Marketing and Business Development. Joe left Taray after its acquisition by Cadence earlier this year. No surprisingly, Taray provided tools to integrate multiple FPGAs into printed circuit board (PCB) system designs.

InPA’s goal is to replace blind probing with full visibility in the debugging of multiple FPGAs in either FPGA-specific designs or hardware-based ASIC prototyping. InPA’s patent pending active debug tool is the key in providing this accelerated and full visibility system. Joe noted that it works with Incisive, ModelSim, and VCS simulation environments, as well as with off-the-shelf and custom prototyping systems.

Coincidence, serendipity or merely quantum entanglements

- Faust in Copenhagen, the God Effect and conversations with Psyleron

On a more personal note, I wish to thank Andrea for sending me a copy of “Faust in Copenhagen – a Struggle for the Soul of Physics,” by Gino Segrè. The book deals with a faustian play that took place in the miracle year of 1932, the same year that witnessed the discovery of the neutron and antimatter, as well as the first artificially created nuclear transmutations. The play and these landmark events in quantum physics had one thing in common. Can you guess what that was? (No spoilers – you’ll have to read the book to find the answer.)

Apparently, my friend Andrea met the author on a recent sojourn to the desert. Knowing my continuing interest in quantum physics, she sent me a copy of the book. This is a rather curious coincidence (perhaps even serendipitous) mailing, since I had just finished reading Brian Clegg’s “The God Effect: Quantum Entanglement, Science’s Strangest Phenomenon.” I had read Clegg’s book as a result of an interview earlier this year with John Valentino, CEO of Psyleron, a start-up company that evolved from the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research (PEAR) program of the last two decades. Prior to this year, I had not really stayed up with developments in physics for a considerable time.

The subject of my conversation with John Valentino was quantum entanglements and their measurable effects at the macro level, i.e., between human beings. A fascinating talk that I have yet to publish, but will do so soon.

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