Monthly Archives: July 2009

Pre-Proto Startup Networking event – July 24 Logo
Click on the logo to find all punetech articles about proto, the premier startup event in the country, is happening in Pune this Saturday, so the who’s who of the startup world will descend upon Pune. This is a chance for Pune’s entrepreneurs and wannapreneurs to meet interesting people. Unfortunately, had limited seats and they are all gone, so, on popular demand, proto. in has created a pre-proto networking event for all those who will not be at – to give them a chance to network with the visitors who are coming in to town for

The event will be on Friday, 24 July, from 5pm to 7pm at Hall No. 5, MCCIA Trade Tower, ICC Complex, S.B. Road. A fee of Rs. 100 will be collected at the door. If you want to attend, send an email to Maya at

What to expect at the event? There will be some sort of a panel discussion on “Transforming Business Environments.” I have no idea what that means, and the topic is so generic that I’m sure the discussion will also be generic. But don’t let the prescribed agenda fool you. The agenda and panel discussion is only there to get all the people in one room. The real benefit of going to such events is the networking that happens before and after (and some of it during) the event. You meet people who can help you find customers, people who can provide some useful service to your startup, people who just generally give you some insightful piece of advice that can change the course of your startup, people who over time become advisors for your startup (we met the most important advisor of our startup at one such event).

3 hours and Rs. 100 is a low price to pay for all these opportunities.

Changing Landscape of Data Centers

Today’s post is a guest post by Suhas Kelkar, the Head of Innovation & Incubation Lab at BMC Software India. Prior to BMC he was the Vice President of Product Management at Digite, an enterprise software company in the field of Project Portfolio Management. See his linked-in profile for details.

I had an opportunity to speak at the very first BMC India Technical Event held in Bangaluru on June 11th, 2009. At this event I talked about the changing landscape of data centers. This article is an excerpt of the talk intended to facilitate understanding of the presentation. The entire presentation is available here.

There are many factors causing the landscape of data centers to change. There are some disruptive technologies at play namely Virtualization and Cloud Computing. Virtualization has been around for a while but only recently it has risen to the level of making significant impact to data centers. Virtualization has come a long way since VMware first introduced VMware Workstation in 90s. The product was initially designed to ease software development and testing by partitioning a workstation into multiple virtual machines.

The virtual machine software market space has seen a substantial amount of evolution, The Xen® hypervisor, the powerful open source industry standard for virtualization. To vSphere, the first cloud operating system, transforming IT infrastructures into a private cloud-a collection of internal clouds federated on-demand to external clouds. Hardware vendors are also not too behind. Intel/AMD and other hardware vendors are pumping in lot of R&D dollars to make their chipsets and hardware optimized for hypervisor layer.

According to IDC more than 75% companies with more than 500 employees are deploying virtual servers. As per a survey by Goldman Sach’s 34 per cent of servers will be virtualized within the next 12 months among Fortune 1000 companies, double the current level of 15 per cent.

Cloud computing similarly existed as a concept for many years now. However various factors finally coming together that are now making it ripe for it to have the most impact. Bandwidth has been increasing significantly across the world that enables faster access to applications in the cloud. Thanks to success of SaaS companies, comfort level of having sensitive data out of their direct physical control is increasing.

There is increasing need for remote work force. Applications that used to reside on individual machines now need to be centralized.

Economy is pushing costs to go down. Last but not least, there is an increasing awareness about going green.

All these factors are causing the data center landscape to change. Now let’s look at some of the ways that the data centers are changing.

Data centers today are becoming much more agile. They are quick, light, easy to move and nimble. One of the reasons for this is that in today’s data center, virtual machines can be added quickly as compared to procuring and provisioning a physical server.

Self service provisioning allows end-users to quickly and securely reserve resources and automates the configuration and provisioning of those physical and virtual servers without administrator intervention. Creating a self-service application and pooling resources to share across teams not only optimizes utilization and reduces needless hardware spending but it also improves time to market and increases IT productivity by eliminating mundane and time consuming tasks.

Public clouds have set new benchmarks. E.g. Amazon EC2 SLA for availability is 99.95% which raised the bar from traditional data center availability SLA significantly. Most recently another vendor, 3Tera came out with five nines, 99.999% availability. Just to compare Amazon and 3Tera, 99.999% availability translates into 5.3 minutes of downtime each year, the different in cost between five 9’s and four 9’s (99.99 percent, or 52.6 minutes of downtime per year) can be substantial.

Data centers are also becoming more scalable. With virtualization, a data center may have 100 physical servers that are servicing 1000 virtual servers for your IT. Once again due to Virtualization, data centers are no longer constrained due to physical space or power/cooling requirements.

The scalability requirements for data centers are also changing. Applications are becoming more computation and storage hungry. Example of computation sensitive nature of apps, enabling a sub-half-second response to an ordinary Google search query involves 700 to 1,000 servers! Google has more than 200,000 servers, and I’d guess it’s far beyond that and growing every day.

Or another example is Facebook, where more than 200 million photos are uploaded every week. Or Amazon, where post holiday season their data center utilization used to be <10%! Google Search, Facebook and Amazon are not one off examples of applications. More and more applications will be built with similar architectures and hence the data center that hosts/supports those applications would need to evolve.

Data center are becoming more fungible. What that means is that resources used within the data centers are becoming easily replaceable. Earlier when you procured a server, chances were high that it will be there for number of years. Now with virtual servers, they will get created, removed, reserved and parked in your data center!

Data centers are becoming more Utility Centric and service oriented. As an example look at Cisco‘s definition of Data Center 3.0 where it calls it infrastructure services. Data center users are increasingly going to demand pay as you go and pay for what you use type of pricing. Due to various factors, users are going to cut back on large upfront capital expenses and instead going to prefer smaller/recurring operating expenses.

Most organizations have either seasonal peaks or daily peaks (or both) with a less dramatic cost differential; but the cost differential is still quite dramatic and quite impactful to the bottom line. In addition, the ability to pay for what you use makes it easy to engage in “proofs of concept” and other R&D that requires dedicated hardware.

  • As the discrepancy between peak usage and standard usage grows, the cost difference between the cloud and other options becomes overwhelming.

Technology is changing; the business needs are changing, with changing times organization’s social responsibilities are changing. More and more companies are thinking about the impact they have on the environment. Data centers become major source of environment impact especially as they grow in size.

A major contributor to excessive power consumption in the data center is over provisioning. Organizations have created dedicated, silo-ed environments for individual application loads, resulting in extremely low utilization rates. The result is that data centers are spending a lot of money powering and cooling many machines that individually aren’t doing much useful work.

Cost is not the only problem. Energy consumption has become a severe constraint on growth. In London, for example, there is now a moratorium on building new data centers because the city does not have the electrical capacity to support them!

Powering one server contributes to on an average 6 Tons of carbon emissions (depending upon the location of the server and how power is generated in that region) It is not too farfetched to claim that every data center has some servers that are always kept running because no one knows what business services depend on them but in reality no one seems to be using them. Even with the servers that are being used, there is an opportunity to increase their utilization and consolidate them.

Now that we have seen some of the ways that the data centers are changing, I am going to shift gears and talk about evolution of data centers. I am going to use the analogy of evolution of web to changing landscape of data centers. Just like web evolved from Web 1.0 where everyone could access, to Web 2.0 where people started contributing to Web 3.0 where the mantra is everyone can innovate.
Image showing Web-3.0 and DC-3.0
Applying this analogy to Data Centers we can see how it has evolved from its early days of existence to where we are today,
Evolution of a DC
Using the analogy of Web world, we can see how data centers have evolved from their early days till now.

  • In the beginning, Data centers were nothing but generic machines stored together. From there it evolved to blade servers that removed some duplicate components and optimized. Now in DC3.0, they are becoming even more virtual and cloud based.
  • So from mostly physical servers we have moved to Physical and Virtual servers to now where we would even treat underlying resources as virtual.
  • Provision time has gone down significantly
  • User participation has changed
  • Management tools that used to be nice to have are playing a much important role and are becoming mandatory. Good example once again is UCS where Bladelogic Mgmt tool will be pre-installed!
  • The role of a data center admin itself has changed from mostly menial work into a much more sophisticated one!

Slideshow for “Changing Landscape of Data Centers”

If you cannot see the slideshow above, click here.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta] Microsoft Azure Training Program for 2009 CS graduates

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Click on this icon to see all PuneTech articles related to tech education in Pune

As a part of the Techstart initiative (visit for rationale and more details), a program for training on Application Development on the Microsoft Azure Cloud Computing platform is being offered to computer science students graduating in 2009. This initiative is based on the lines of a very successful initiative at Stanford University.The idea is that there will be a 6 to 8 week Azure training and application building course consisting of classroom lectures interspersed with self-study programming assignments. The course will be co-ordinated by Monish Darda, Director and CTO of Websym technologies, with help from Persistent Systems, the Pune User Group (a Microsoft Technologies user group in Pune), and will be run by volunteers from across the industry,

To facilitate this, a “Train the Trainers” program is being planned, to build mentoring expertise for people who want to volunteer to help in this initiative. This is a free program, and volunteers would be needed to teach the course and/or guide the students. This needs people who have industry experience and are ready to spare some time for teaching/handholding/mentoring the students on the Azure platform. To participate, you should have the following prerequisites:

a. Basics of .NET framework platform

b. Basics of and Visual Studio IDE

c. Basic Understanding of WCF (windows communication framework)

Volunteers should be able to spare approximately a total of 16 hours during the eight week TechStart program, tentatively scheduled to begin on July 27.

The Train the Trainers program details follow:

Date: Saturday, July 18, 2009 – 9.30 a.m. to 6.00 p.m.

Venue: Persistent Systems Ltd.

‘Aryabhata Pingala’

9A, Erandavane, Near Nal Stop, Off Karve Road

Pune 411004

To register please mail with “TechStart: Microsoft Azure Training Program”

First PIRST: Pune Information Retreival and Semantic Technology meeting – July 18

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Click on the image to get all PuneTech articles related to the Pune Open Coffee Club

PIRST – the Pune Information Retreival and Semantic Technology – is a special interest group within POCC (the Pune Open Coffee Club), that is focused on search technologies, and the semantic web. PIRST has it’s first kickoff meeting this Saturday, July 18th from 9:30am-2pm, at SICSR, Model Colony. The event is free for all to attend, but you must register here.

This meetup is geared towards learning about IR & ST, networking of professionals interested / active in this area and brainstorming on various possibilities and ideas in this area. The following information is tentative:


  • Shashikant Kore, Co-founder,
  • Abhay Shete, Founder, FortyTwo
  • Rajan Chandi, Founder, OpenWeb Labs
  • Bhasker Kode, Founder,
  • Atul Tulshibagwale, Founder, Web2rank

If you are interested in speaking at this event, please contact Atul Tulshibagwale (atultulshi gmail)


Each individual talk is expected to be 45 minutes, with 15 minutes for Q&A.

  • 9:30am – 10:15am – Survey of startups in IR&ST – Atul Tulshibagwale
  • 10:15am – 11:00am – Survey of various semantic technologies – Rajan Chandi
  • 11:00am – 11:30am – Tea Break
  • 11:30am – 12:15pm – – Lucene primer – Shashikant Kore
  • 12:15pm – 1:30pm – Roadmap of required Math – Abhay Shete
  • 1:30pm – 2:00pm – Panel: Future of IR&ST – All Speakers
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TechStart Internship Mela: Connect with 200 CS graduates for your projects – 18th July

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Click on this icon to see all PuneTech articles related to tech education in Pune

Last week we wrote about the hundreds of CS engineering graduates who are temporarily idle, and the techstart initiative where we are hoping to connect up companies, startups or individuals who can use these engineers for their projects. To facilitate this, an ‘Internship Mela’ will be held on Saturday, 18th July, from 2pm to 6pm, at the Dewang Mehta Auditorium, Persistent, S.B. Road.

The basic idea behind the ‘Internship Mela’ is as follows:

  • All those who would like to find engineers for their projects are invited to attend
  • All engineers who are interested in getting internships will attend
  • From 2pm to 4pm: Each potential company/startup/mentor/guide gets to present to the engineers for 3 minutes. Give a quick introduction of yourself, your company, what projects you plan to do with the interns, what kind of skills you are looking for, and whether you will be paying a stipend or not, and your contact info.
  • From 4pm to 6pm: Open networking. The potential interns will walk up to the mentors that they are interested and discuss details and set up a follow up meeting.

The idea is that this is a marketplace designed to allow mentors to find students quickly.

To register as a company or individual offering internships, please follow these steps

  • Join the techstart mailing list (click on “Join this group” link on the right side of the page)
  • After joining, go to the TechStart Internship Mela Registration Page and add yourself to the list there. (Click on the “Edit this page” button, then add your info just above the last line in the list.)
  • Come to Dewang Mehta Auditorium, Persistent, S.B. Road at 1:45pm on 18th July. Prepare a 3-minute talk that can help the potential interns decide whether they are interested in your project. Be as specific as possible. (Note: there will be no slides/projector)

Students interested in this program – just show up at the venue (see details above). No registration required. Bring multiple copies of your resume.

About TechStart

Anand Deshpande of Persistent started this initiative to help out the computer science engineering students who graduated in 2009, but had their job offers deferred or rescinded. The idea is to give the engineers some industry experience, and at the same time allow the industry to get some useful work done. See for details. TechStart consists of many volunteers from across the industry, and a whole bunch of other Pune organizations (like CSI Pune, Pune Open Coffee Club) are also helping out.

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Mentor India internship in system programming – Entrance exam on 20th July

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Click on this icon to see all PuneTech articles related to tech education in Pune

Pune-based KQInfoTech is an organization started by Anurag Agarwal and Anand Mitra, both of whom chucked high-paying jobs in the industry because they felt that there was a desperate need to work on the quality of students that is being churned out by our colleges. For the 2 years or so, they have been trying various experiements in education, at the engineering college level. All their experiments are based on one basic premise: students’ ability to pay should not be a deterrent – in other words, the offerings should be free for the students; KQInfoTech focuses on finding alternative ways to pay for the costs of running the course.

This week, KQInfotech launches the second edition of “Mentor India: An Internship Program in System Programming”,  for the people looking for making a career in the system programming.

It is a program in “Gurukul” tradition of education. There are two unique features of this program.

  • Cost: Your education does not depend on your capacity to pay. Not only your education is free, you also get stipend during this program.
  • Work experience: You are also getting real industry work experience during your education. During this course, you will get one year worth industry experience.

Does working in Linux Kernel, writing device drivers for Unix and Windows, writing system level programs that interacts closely with operating system interests you? But you don’t have right skill sets for this.

KQInfotech is lead by people who have spend decades working in the area of file system, kernel programming, Linux kernel etc. They are ready to educate you in “Art of System Programming”. Are you ready for all the hard and interesting work required?

It is a unique post graduate program for one year, which would provide you education as well as work experience. This program will cover Unix internals, Linux kernel programming, Multi-threading, Windows internals, Writing device drivers etc.

Please visit for more details.

Candidates for this course will be selected based on an entrance exam and interview.
Entrance will be based on C, Data Structure, O/S concepts and aptitude test.

Entrance Exam details:
Date: 20th July
Time: 10:00 AM
Duration: 90 Minutes
Venue: A-201, Mitrangan, Near Kapil Malhar, Baner Road, Baner, Pune 411045

If you’re interested please fill the Online Registration Form for Entrance Exam.

Check out previous PuneTech articles on KQInfoTech. You might also be interested in the techstart program.

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IIT-B-AA Presents: Introduction to the Venture Center incubator – 10 July

What: IIT-Bombay Alumni Association Pune presents an introduction to the Venture Center (see recent PuneTech coverage of Venture Center)
When: Friday 10th July, 6:30pm to 8:00pm
Where: Venture Center, NCL Innovation Park, Pashan Road. To reach Venture Center, go past NCL towards Pashan, pass the cricket ground adjacent to NCL and then you’ll find NCL Innovation Park / Venture Center on the right hand side. Map
Registration and fees: This event is free for all to attend. No registration required.


Venture Center is an incubator housed in NCL Pune, created with the purpose:

“To nucleate and nurture technology and knowledge-based enterprises for India by leveraging the scientific and engineering competencies of the institutions in the region”

Kaushik Gala, Business Development Manager at Venture Center is looking for all innovators in the areas of biology, chemical, and material sciences. The IIT-Bombay Alumni Association of Pune has organized a talk by Kaushik at Venter Center to speak about their activites

For more information about Venture Center see recent PuneTech coverage of Venture Center.

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200 CS graduates want to help you with your pet project

Hundreds of B.E. (Computer Science) students who graduated in 2009 are now idle for a few months because their job offers have been deferred by their future employers. What is a potentially nasty psychological and social problem can easily be converted into a win-win situation for everybody concerned if people in the industry come forward and provide projects for these graduates to work on in the intervening period. If you are an experienced industry person, by providing a few hours of guidance, you can get some useful work done, and and the same time help the graduates improve their skills, and become more employable.

Anand Deshpande, CEO of Persistent, who is the driving force behind this effort, points out that there are over 200 students in this situation right now, and the industry could help itself while at the same time helping the students by coming up with, say, 3-month projects that small teams of students could complete. He points to web-2.0, e-Governance, and the cloud as potential technologies that might be rather well suited for this purpose. As an example of something like this working well, and producing useful, real-world output, he points to the Stanford class where 80 students created 50+ facebook applications, with over 20 million installs, and 5 of them had 1 million+ installs. There is no reason something like that cannot work with our crop of students.

It must be pointed out that many of these students are the star students who got recruited straight from campus, but now find themselves in this situation because their job offers got defered of revoked.

So what should you do?

We have created a mailing list called that will be used to co-ordinate this effort.

  • If you can guide small student teams, and if you can commit to giving at least a couple of hours per week for the next three months, then join the mailing list, and post a small mail introducing yourself.
  • In a few days, we will specify how and where to post information about your project and/or how to find the appropriate students for your project. This information will be posted on the mailing list.
  • If you don’t have any specific project in mind, but would generally like to help out with this effort, please join the mailing list and give a brief background of yourself. We can use all the help you can provide
  • If you can think of any other ideas that can help out in this situation, please suggest those on the mailing list. All proposals are welcome.
  • This program is only going to work if we are able to collect at least 30 to 50 mentors who can guide the students. We will start work seriously on this only after a reasonable number of people have shown an interest on the mailing list. If there’s not enough interest shown on the list in the next few days, this program will die. So if you’re interested, please send a mail on If you know somebody else who might be interested, please forward this mail to them.


This is really a win-win situation

  • You get good CS graduates from good colleges working for you
  • If things work out and the team does a good job, you get a great, tested employee
  • The student learns valuable industry skills, gets guidance, and becomes more employable
  • There is no necessity to pay the students for this work. (However, you could give a stipend if you are possibly interested holding on to the student for a long-term job.)

Logistics and other details

Here are some details that I glossed over in the write-up above:

  • This program is targeted towards Computer Science graduates of the class of 2009.
  • Anand Despande has already contacted the colleges and they have all indicated a willingness to help out with this effort. Persistent is also willing to help with some resources. Other companies are expected to follow suit. So rooms, facilities, and other logistics help will be available if required.
  • If you can conduct 3-month Stanford-style course for one batch of students building a bunch of facebook apps, or Microsoft Azure apps, or Google android apps, or anything else, please come forward. As long as you’re willing to drive, appropriate resources can be made available to you.
  • If you have any other ideas, please suggest them on the mailing list.


This is a great opportunity to do something socially useful and get something in return. So join. And make others join. Right now, all you need to do is indicate your availability and willingness. More details will become available soon.

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PuneChips Editor’s Blog – Second Edition

First, an update on PuneChips – we now have 5465 members in the Linked In group and over 40 in the Google Groups mailing list. Some folks doing applications work have also joined us. Given that there are 300 or so semiconductor designers in the Pune area, and hundreds more developing applications, we have ways to go.

On Monday, June 29th, we had our second event; a speech by Shrinath Keskar, former M.D. of Ikanos Communications in India. A good cross section of people attended the event and the discussion was quite lively. We had several new faces in the room, a definitive indicator of progress.

We also have our first guest blog written by Chaitanya Rajguru of KPIT Cummins Infosystems, and this is really what we are looking for. I want more people to participate in group discussions and idea generation. Rather than having only just a handful of people writing content, involvement from all is needed if we want to keep growing and have a voice in the development of Pune as a Chip/Embedded design hub.

Shrinath spoke about the challenges of designing chips for the telecom sector. The topic was quite relevant since we have several companies in the area that service Telecom applications. Shrinath not only focused on design challenges which generally revolve around the cost/power/features triangle, but also on challenges offered by the market; telecom standards, time to market and deployment. This was good information for engineers as it explained the logic behind many management decisions.

Telecom standards, both wireline and wireless, drive how telecom companies go about their business. Standards not only have technical, but regulatory challenges associated with them. In addition, there are competing standards that try to solve the same problem (Fig 1) and technical slugfests go on for many years before a winner emerges.

Figure 1: Plethora of Wireless Standards, Source: Nokia
Figure 1: Plethora of Wireless Standards, Source: Nokia

Many a times, the winning standard has such a short window of opportunity that it may be pointless to keep designing to it. Sometimes, governments propose standards in order to get access to advanced technology; China proposed WAPI a few years ago for wireless security. The catch was that anyone trying to sell Telecom equipment in China would have to disclose their technology to a Chinese partner if (emphasis is mine) WAPI had been adopted.

In order to support current and possibly future standards, chips have to be intelligently designed with possibly some redundant I/O, memory and cells which can be used to fix design faults or adapt to changing standards. Figure 2 below shows what a chip designer spends doing day in and out and to Shrinath’s point, there are lots of opportunities available for innovators to improve the design process – innovation does not need to end at the transistor level.

Figure 2: Where a Designer Spends All His Time, Source: Xilinx, 2004

Telecom equipment typically stays in the market for years as telecom standards take a while to roll out due to regulatory or geographical hurdles. However, a chip vendor hardly ever has that kind of time to supply the product. A telecom line card will be generally designed in 9-12 months and the chip must be designed, tested and deployed in the production line card within that timeframe. Time to Market is very important for Telecom OEMs; hence chip vendors must be able to convert design wins into production chips that work.

Deployment is a very important phase in the life of a telecom chip. You can test the product in labs that mimic customer test environments, but you can never test for real situations such as interference from out of spec frequency bands. It is very important to have good support staff on hand to fight these battles alongside customers. Your chip must work in each and every deployment; even a 90% success rate will not cut it.

As Moore’s law comes to the end of life, there is a lot of discussion happening around a new sustainable model for chip startups. The current model, which requires upwards of $50M in VC money to be profitable, cannot live for long. Very likely, the next invention in the semi/EDA market is going to be economic, something that allows new companies to form and prosper.

Abhijit Athavale
PuneChips Editor

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How green will be my valley?

(This is a guest blog by Chaitanya Rajguru, Associate Technical Fellow at KPIT Cummins, and a member of the PuneChips group.)

The integrated circuit from an Intel 8742, a 8...
Image via Wikipedia

The “greening” of all things commercial and industrial is all around us. Every industry from transportation to technology to power to finance is in a rush to be perceived as “green”. So should the EDA industry stay behind? I think not. And here are my thoughts on some possible scenarios on what may happen.

So where does one begin? One good starting point may be with a popular indicator used to gauge the “goodness” of EDA tool’s output: “Quality of Results”, or QoR. QoR is used as a higher-level indicator of process quality, much like a Customer Satisfaction Index that up-levels feedback on specific aspects such as timely delivery and responsiveness. IC design EDA tools have used to showcase what they can do. So is it possible to expand its scope to include “greenness” as well? Or is it just an attempt to paint a turkey blue and pass it off as a peacock?

QoR is one of the long-lived and often-used keywords in Silicon Valley – surely on par with “information superhighway” in sheer citation count. Yet the latter phrase isn’t heard much anymore. It just reminds us of the 90’s internet boom, and doesn’t convey anything that is new today. After all, this superhighway is now as much part of our lives as electric power distribution is, and it has been a while since either created much excitement. And so is “QoR” similarly frozen in time as well, not staying up-to-date with today’s design challenges?

Let us take a quick look at how QoR has evolved over time. In the early days of IC design, the biggest challenge was to pack as many transistors onto a single die as possible. The self-fulfilling prophecy of Moore’s Law had setup expectations that somehow had to be met! And while the accompanying frequency spiral required lots of efforts to maintain, it was achievable. Thus the QoR directly reflected “transistor count” and “frequency” as the most important indicators of EDA tool capability. Other variations appeared, such as the packing density of logic and analog circuitry.

“Power” then appeared on the QoR scene, as limits of battery power and even socket power were approached by systems. Now EDA vendors could speak the language of the system architects with their “power-performance-area” optimization triangle. Higher-level performance metrics such as MIPS and FLOPS entered. Then came combinations such as “MIPS per megahertz per watt.” Thus the QoR definition expanded from the “micro” qualities to encompass the “macro”: from frequency and packing density to power and performance.

Looking at current trends in the economy, “Going Green” has taken on big importance everywhere. It is the socio-politically correct thing to do, regardless of your product or service. Companies with physical products joined the bandwagon early: building architects, automobile manufacturers, consumer electronics OEMs, and IC manufacturers. One software company that has made a start is Google, with its goal to “minimize its carbon footprint.” Other companies have been slower to adapt – maybe due to having “soft products,” or maybe because they find it hard to make the right connection into this trend. But the semiconductor industry and the EDA industry are inevitably subject to the same greening trend, and can not convincingly “opt out.”

But “Being Green” is as high-level a quality metric for an EDA product as any – so much so, that whether it even applies to EDA tools is sure to be hotly debated. Yet suppose, for a moment, that it were to be made a part of QoR, how do you think it can be done?

Initial thoughts that come to my mind suggest getting a “Green Process” certification for the EDA tool development cycle, analogous to the ISO9001 or CMMI certifications. In the future, such certifications could surely be applicable to any business or organization (maybe even an individual!), and the EDA industry would be no exception. Another possibility is to publish a “carbon footprint” or “carbon neutrality indicator.”

But the above “green indicators” apply only to the development of the EDA tools, and give no satisfactory indication of whether their use will lead to “green products”. My best suggestion so far to gauge that quality is to measure the tool performance (the fewer compute cycles it burns, the better) and its reuse (the more, the better). Reuse can be in terms of reusing the building blocks (within a project), the output (across projects) and even the hardware utilization (e.g. exploiting multicore architectures). I believe these quality measures will anyway be applied to the evaluation of EDA tools, because they also affect development cost and schedule. So one might as well explicitly go after these indicators and kill two birds in one stone!

On the downside of a green QoR, we could be chasing a red herring. Isn’t it be better to focus on the core job of the EDA tool, which is to make the design task easier? To what extent do we go in order to conform to this latest fad? And how about degrees of greenness, and who measures those? If two tool vendors claim to be green, how do I verify their claims and compare them against each-other?

So, what do you think about the “Greening of QoR?” Is it meaningful? If not, why not? And if yes, how can we go about it? It’s always fun to make predictions, so please do share yours …

About the Author – Chaitanya Rajguru

Chaitanya is an Associate Technical Fellow at KPIT Cummins Infosystems Ltd. He has extensive experience in end-to-end development of semiconductor products, from definition to production, with specialization in PC chipset, graphics and Flash memory IC products. He has played various roles such as product development lead, technical expert, people manager and organizational development facilitator.

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