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Cadence Design Systems, Inc (NASDAQ: CDNS) is an electronic design automation (EDA) software and engineering services company, founded in 1988 by the merger of SDA Systems and ECAD, Inc. For years it had been the largest company in the EDA industry. The name is pronounced with the stress on the first syllable.


The new Cadence research and development building opened on February 9, 2009


[top]Overview

Cadence, headquartered in San Jose, California, is one of the world's leading suppliers of electronic design technologies and engineering services in the electronic design automation (EDA) industry. The primary corporate product is software used to design chips and printed circuit boards.

Cadence employs approximately 5,000 people and reported 2008 revenues of approximately $1.04 billion. In November 2007 Cadence was named one of the 50 Best Places to Work in Silicon Valley by San Jose Magazine.

In January 2009 the company announced the appointment of Lip-Bu Tan as President and CEO. Tan was most recently CEO of Walden International, a VC firm. He has served on the Cadence Board of Directors since 2004, where he served on the Technology Committee for four years.

[top]Product Families

Cadence's product offerings are targeted at various types of design and verification tasks which include:
  • Virtuoso Platform - Tools for designing full-custom integrated circuits; includes schematic entry, behavioral modeling (Verilog-AMS), circuit simulation, full custom layout, physical verification, extraction and back-annotation. Used mainly for analog, mixed-signal, RF, and standard-cell designs, but also memory and FPGA designs.
  • Encounter Platform - Tools for creation of digital integrated circuits. This includes floorplanning, synthesis, test, and place and route. Typically a digital design starts from Verilog netlists.
  • Incisive Platform - Tools for simulation and functional verification of RTL including Verilog, VHDL and SystemC based models. Includes formal verification, formal equivalence checking, hardware acceleration, and emulation.
  • Verification IP (VIP) Cadence provides the broadest set of commercial VIP available with over 30 protocols in its VIP Portfolio. They include AMBA, PCI Express, USB, SATA, OCP, SAS, SATA, MIPI and many others. Cadence VIP also provides the unique Compliance Management System (CMS) to automate protocol compliance verification.
  • Allegro Platform - Tools for co-design of integrated circuits, packages, and PCBs.
  • OrCAD/PSpice - Tools for smaller design teams and individual PCB designers.

In addition to EDA software, Cadence provides contracted methodology and design services as well as silicon design IP, and has a program to make it easier for other EDA software to interoperate with the company's tools.

[top]Lawsuits with Avant! and Mentor/Aptix

As a large public company, Cadence has been involved in a number of legal disputes. Two in particular are notable:
Cadence was involved in a long running (6 years) legal disputewith Avanti Corporation, in which Cadence claimed Avant! stole Cadence code, and Avant! denied it. According to Business Week "The Avant! case is probably the most dramatic tale of white-collar crime in the history of Silicon Valley". The Avanti executives eventually pled no contest and Cadence received several hundred million dollars in restitution. Avanti was then purchased by Synopsys, which paid $265 million more to settle the remaining claims. The case resulted in a number of legal precedents.

The Cadence group Quickturn was also involved in an unusual series of legal events with Mentor Graphics/Aptix. Mentor purchased rights to an Aptix patent, then sued Cadence. In this case, the CEO of Aptix, Amr Mohsen, forged a notebook in order to make the patent case stronger. When suspicions were raised, he staged a break-in of his own car to get rid of the evidence, resulting in charges of obstruction of justice. Trying to avoid this, he attempted to flee the country, only to be caught with an illegal passport and a pile of cash. While in jail for this offense, he was recorded offering money to intimidate witnesses and kill the judge. In order to fight these charges, he tried to show psychological problems, but left a trail of evidence of his research into this defense, and how it might be done. He was charged with attempting to delay a federal trial by feigning incompetency, but was convicted anyway. According to the lawyers concerned, the original notebooks were not needed for the trial. The patent filing date, which was not in dispute, would have sufficed.

[top]Acquisitions and mergers

Cadence has been involved with many mergers and acquisitions. Some of the larger examples of companies merged in or acquired are: Valid Logic Systems, High Level Design (HLD), UniCAD, Cooper and Chyan (CCT), Quickturn, CadMOS, Simplex, Silicon Perspective, Plato, Get2Chip and Verplex Systems. The latest major activity is:
  • June 17, 2010: Cadence completes acquisition of Denali Software
  • August 15, 2008: Cadence withdrew a $1.6 billion offer to purchase rival Mentor Graphics
  • March 11, 2008: acquired ChipEstimate, a developer of IC planning and IP reuse management tools.
  • August 15, 2007: acquired Clearshape, a developer of Design for Manufacturability (DFM) technology.
  • July 12, 2007: acquired Invarium, a photolithography specialist.
  • April 7, 2005: acquired Verisity, Ltd., a provider of verification process automation solutions ($315 million, all cash).
  • April 6, 2004: acquired Neolinear Technology, a privately held company specializing in rapid analog design technology
  • September 2003: acquired Verplex Systems, a provider of Formal Verification products, Conformal Solutions and Blacktie Property Checker.
  • May 1997: acquired Cooper & Chyan Technology, a provider of PCB and IC automatic place and router software solutions.
A complete list of all EDA mergers is here.

[top]Notable persons

  • Joseph Costello, CEO, 19881997.
  • Alberto Sangiovanni-Vincentelli, co-founder.
  • Jiri Soukup, co-founder.

[top]Sources


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