Arteris Articles

Semiconductor Engineering: Bugs That Kill

Charlie Janac, CEO at Arteris IP, participated in this 'Behind Closed Doors' semiconductor executives dinner at DAC, hosted by Craig Shirley, president and CEO of Oski Technology.

Bugs That Kill



August 23rd, 2018 - By Brian Bailey

Semiconductor executives talk about the bugs they fear the most and the problems solving them.

This is an interesting read since Brian Bailey from Semiconductor Engineering, was invited to be a "fly on the wall" so to speak to hear this discussion and then write about it with no names mentioned of who said what with this request, "not to be quoted directly". How many of us would have loved to be there?

Here are a few of the unidentified quotes and I wonder how many readers are able to attribute which quote belongs to whom... The more I read I found the headline shifting into other issues.

“Our goal is to find the most difficult bugs in the fastest time that we can. Formal brings a lot of value, but it has not been recognized in that way.”

There is an industry bias that has to be overcome. “There remains a negative connotation about verification. Verification gets the second-rate people because the designers create—and that is positive. The concentration always has been on the negative with verification. How do you get the notion of creating the formal mathematical definition of what you are trying to create to become part of the design process? Could we make formal define the intent of what is to be created and the design team is trying to match that. That now puts the notion of verification in a positive light, and the whole industry will start creating better people.”

Later as the conversations continued, there was an in-depth discussion about staffing issues. “The kids that are coming into the industry right now, in the U.S. and Europe, are not the sharpest knives in the stack.”

The participants questioned why this is the case. A few key items emerged. Chip design is no longer sexy. What is sexy are software companies such as Facebook and Google, because they are in front of people all the time. Gaming is also attracting a lot of talent.

Another problem is pay. “Software engineers get paid more because at comparable skill levels the hiring market is more competitive.”

Pay issues exist within teams, as well. “In our industry, the most effective designer, the most productive designer, is 10X more productive than the average designers. The tech industry is the only industry where that is true. In other industries, it is 20% between the best and the average. So that makes this industry strange. You can’t pay them 10X as much, which is a tragedy.”

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Topics: semiconductor autonomous vehicles semiconductor engineering arteris ip interconnects UVM charlie janac