Cadence Design Systems Takes Tensilica to CES Show Floor


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While roaming the aisles of CES, I happened across a suite hosted by Cadence Design Systems. It wasn’t a booth—just a quiet presence behind walls with demonstration hardware inside. The Cadence staff was friendly and welcoming, and it didn’t take long before I was talking with Vic Markarian—senior group director for worldwide IP licensing and sales—about why Cadence was at CES.

Nolan Johnson: Vic Markarian, we’re talking about why Cadence is here at CES. Other CAD tool companies don’t see this show as being of value, and yet you’re here.

Vic Markarian: Our presence at CES is to represent Cadence’s Tensilica product line, which Cadence acquired back in 2013. Tensilica develops a processor IP technology, which is very unique in the industry. Unlike other processor technology, which involves fixed-configuration cores, we developed a technology that allows our customers to configure the processor and extend the instruction set with their own custom instructions and interfaces.

With our technology, one can create application-specific processors, including everything from a small state machine to a programmable engine, high-end DSP, or even an application-specific programmable function inside their SOC. The reason we are here at CES is that many of our customers who utilize our technology are showcasing their latest, most advanced products at the show, including items displayed here from Huawei to LG phones and many other devices on the floor.

In 2017, our customers shipped over five billion cores, and I think that number will be closer to 10 billion cores in 2018. And the volumes continue to ramp up as the adoption of our technology accelerates with leading companies that you see exhibiting here at CES. If you walk around the show, you’ll see tons of Tensilica-based products that have been shipped, introduced, and/or targeted for introduction.

Johnson: And you have some new developments and configurations where you’re starting to get into some verticals.

Markarian: We’ve always done verticals, but we’re expanding now. We started with audio as a vertical, and that has been very successful; it has so dominated the audio space that we have become the de facto standard for audio DSP IP. We also have our HiFi product line doing audio. Then, we came out with our ConnX DSPs, which provide a full range of communication DSP solutions from a dual MAC to a 64 MAC implementation. A few years ago, we introduced our Vision DSPs, which provide IP solutions for imaging and vision applications, and has seen huge adoption in the market.

Further, we have a vertical product line called Fusion. The Fusion family is a scalable range of general-purpose DSPs designed with flexible options to give designers the ability to optimize the DSP specifically for a customer’s application needs. From having ultra-low power to a small footprint, being compute-intensive, and having high-performance processing, the Tensilica Fusion DSPs are perfect for many of the advanced applications we see today such as IoT, automotive, mobile, wearables, consumer electronics, and so much more.

Recently, we expanded into the AI space with the announcement of our DNA100 technology, which has generated a tremendous amount of interest and excitement in the market. The great thing about all of the processor technologies we offer (including the vertical solutions) is that these processors can be further configured and extended with custom instructions and interfaces. It really becomes a powerful architectural option and a differentiator for our customers.

To read the full article, which appeared in the April 2019 issue of SMT007 Magazine, click here.

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