The EE Times / EDN ACE Awards dinner last night was a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with old friends and meet the engineers and business people behind this year's coolest electronics products. I feel honored that Arteris and our CEO, Charlie Janac, were chosen as finalists for the Innovator of the Year ACE Award and were recognized as being part of such an esteemed and accomplished group of people and organizations.
Arteris didn't win the Innovator of the Year award but I don't feel bad because the winner, Michael McCorquodale from IDT, won the award for solving a big industry problem in a cool way: Replacing mechanical quartz oscillators with all-silicon oscillators manufactured with standard CMOS technology. (You can read more details in Patrick Mannion's EDN article.)
One thing I would like to see with the ACE Awards is to have a separate category within the "Ultimate Products" segment for semiconductor IP. In many ways, the SoCs that are eligible for "Ultimate Products" awards are creative assemblies of commercial semiconductor IP. And much of the innovation in SoCs now occurs at the IP level.
Examples of IP innovation include Qualcomm's Snapdragon/"Krait" cores (which have higher SIMD performance than ARM's standard cores), ARM's big.LITTLE IP and architecture (which allows SoCs to run power-hungry high performance Cortex-A15/"Eagle" CPU cores for high performance loads, then switch to power-sipping Cortex-A7/"Kingfishers" for standard loads), and Imagination Technologies' PowerVR Series 6 "Rogue" GPU IP.
I could even mention Arteris' own FlexNoC network on chip interconnect IP, which has been adopted by the industry's best performing and most power efficient mobile device application processor vendors like Samsung, Qualcomm and TI.
My point is simply that the control point for innovation that enables great chips and hardware/software systems has moved further back in the value chain to the semiconductor IP level. To understand and recognize the greatness of today's products, it behooves us to recognize the engineers whose IP innovations are the source of these products' greatness.