The design maestro behind Behemoth Synopsys software

synopsys chief executive officer art de jose, running an electronic design automation giant similar to being a squad leader. He gathers the right people, organizes them into a cohesive group, and then leads them in performing at their best.

De Geus, who helped found the company in 1986, has some experience with bands. The IEEE Fellow has been playing guitar in blues and jazz bands since he was an engineering student in the late 1970s.

Much like the improvisations of jazz musicians, the Engineers go with the flow of team meetings, he says: One person comes up with an idea, another suggests ways to improve it.

“There’s actually a lot in common between my musical hobby and my other big hobby, Synopsys,” says De Geus.

About art de geos

employer: Synopsys

Title: CEO

Member score: peer

Alma mater: École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland

Synopsys is now the largest supplier of software that engineers use to design chips, employing about 20,000 people. The company reported
$1.36 billion in revenue In the first quarter of this year.

De Geus is considered the founding father of Electronic Design Automation (EDA), which automates slide design using synthesis and other tools. It was pioneered by him and his team in the 1980s. Synthesis revolutionized digital design by taking the high-level job description of a circuit, automatically selecting the logical components (gates), and creating the connections (network list) to build the circuit. Practically, pretty much all of the large digital chips manufactured today, are made using software developed by De Geus and his team.

Composition changed the nature of how digital chips are designed, moving us out of the computer age
ided Design (CAD) for electronic design aautomation (EDA),” he says.

Over the past three and a half decades, logic synthesis has enabled a 10-million-fold increase in chip complexity, he says. for this reason,
Electrical Works The magazine named him one of its 10 Most Influential CEOs in 2002, as well as its 2004 CEO of the Year.

Creation of the first circuit synthesizer

De Geus was born in Vlaardingen, the Netherlands, and raised in Basel, Switzerland. He obtained a master’s degree in electrical engineering in 1978 from
École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanneknown as EPFL, in Lausanne.

In the early 1980s, while studying for his Ph.D. in electrical engineering from
Southern Methodist UniversityIn Dallas, DeGius joined General Electric at Research Triangle Park, NC there developed tools for logic design using multiplexers, according to 2009 Oral history conducted by Computer History Museum. He and a designer friend created gate arrays with a mixture of logic gates and multiplexers.

This led to the writing of the first program for superimposing circuits optimized for both velocity and area, known as SOCRATES. He automatically generated blocks of logic from job descriptions, according to oral history.

“The problem was [that] All designers coming out of the school used Karnaugh maps, [and] He knew NAND gates, NOR gates, and converters,” de Geus explained in the oral history. “They didn’t know about multiplexes. So designing with these things was actually difficult.” Karnaugh maps are a way to simplify Boolean algebraic expressions. With NAND and NOR general logic gates, any Boolean expression can be executed without using any other gate.

SOCRATES can write a function and after 20 minutes the program will generate a netlist called electronic components in the circuit and
Contract They called him. By automating the function, says de Geus, “the synthesizer typically creates faster circuits that also use fewer gates. This is a huge benefit because less is better. Less ends up being [a] Smaller area on a slide”.

With this technology, circuit designers have shifted their focus from gate-level design to designs based on hardware description languages.

Eventually, de Geus was promoted to Group Director of Advanced Computer Aided Engineering at GE. Then, in 1986, the company decided to leave the semiconductor industry. Faced with losing his job, he decided to launch his own company to continue improving his synthesizers.

He and two members of the GE team,
David Gregory And Bill KriegerFounded Optimal Solutions in Research Triangle Park. In 1987, the company name was changed to Synopsys and moved to Mountain View, California.

The importance of building a good team

De Geus says he acquired his managerial skills and entrepreneurial spirit as a young man. During summer vacations, he would team up with friends to build forts, soap cars, and other projects. He was usually the captain of the team, he says, the one with the most imagination.

“A businessman creates a vision of some crazy and cool ideas, hopefully,” he says with a laugh. He says that the vision sets the direction of the project, while the business side of the entrepreneur tries to convince others that the idea is realistic enough.

“It was kind of the idea of ​​why it could be important there,” he says. “But it is passion that motivates something in people.”

This was true during his fort-building days, he says, and remains true to this day.

“Collecting has changed the nature of how digital designs are created.”

“If you have a good team, everyone is involved in something,” he says. “Before you know it, someone on the team has a better idea of ​​what we can do or how to do it. Entrepreneurs who start a company often go through a thousand ideas to get to a common mission. I’ve had the good fortune to be on mission for 37 years with Synopsys “.

At the company, De Geus sees himself as “the one who makes the team cook. It’s being a coordinator, a squad leader, maybe someone who brings out the passion in people who are the best in both technology and business. As a team, we can do things that are impossible to do alone and that It clearly proved impossible in the first place.”

He says a few years ago the company created the “yes, if…” slogan to combat the slowly growing “no, because…” mentality.

“Yes, if…” opens the doors, while “No, because…” you say, “Let me prove that it’s not possible,” he says. “Yes, if…
It leads us outside the box to “It must be possible. There must be a way.”

De Geus says his industry is going through very difficult times – technically, globally and on a business level – and “if…
The confession part is so. I found it remarkable that once a group of people confessed [something] Difficult, they get very creative. We were able to get the whole company to accept the “Yes, if…”

“It is now in the company’s cultural DNA.”

One of the issues facing Synopsys, de Geus says, is the end of Moore’s Law. “But you don’t have to worry,” he says. “We’re facing an incredible new era of opportunity, as we’ve gone from ‘Classic Moore’ scale complexity to ‘SysMoore’, which unlocks systemic complexity with the same exponential ambition as Moore’s Law!”

He says the industry is shifting its focus from single chips to multi-chip modules, placing chips more closely together atop a larger “silicon overlap” chip. In some cases, such as memory, the chips are stacked on top of each other.

“How do you make the connection between those slices as fast as possible? How do you make those pieces work technically? Then how do you make them economically viable so that they’re producible and reliable and testable and verifiable? Challenging, but very powerful.” “Our big challenge is getting it to work together.”

Great time to be an engineer

Pursuing engineering was a calling for De Geus. Engineering was the intersection of two things I love: executing a vision and building things. Despite the recent wave of layoffs in the tech industry, he says he believes engineering is a great career.

“Just because a few companies are overhiring or reorienting itself doesn’t mean the engineering field is on a downward trend,” he says. “I would argue the opposite, certainly in electronics and software, because seeing ‘everything is smart’ takes some very sophisticated capabilities, and it’s world-changing!”

During the era of Moore’s Law, de Geus says, one’s technical knowledge had to be profound.

“I really became a specialist in simulation or design of a particular type of process,” he says. “In our field, we need people who are the best in the class. I would love to call them
Six deep engineering Ph.D. It’s not just a deep education. It is educational and empirically deep. Now, with the methodological complexity, we need to combine all these disciplines; In other words, we now need engineers at the six-doctoral level as well.”

To gain this kind of experience, he recommends that university students understand the many sub-disciplines and then “choose the one that suits you best.”

“For those who have a clear sense of their mission, fall in love and find your passion,” he says. But those who don’t know any field of engineering should continue to “interact with people you think are cool, because they’ll teach you things like perseverance, enthusiasm, passion, what excellence is and make you feel the wonder of collaboration.” Those people, he says, can teach you to “enjoy work rather than work.” Just having a job. If work is also your greatest hobby, then you are a completely different person.”

Climate change as an engineering problem

De Geus says engineers should take more responsibility for the technology they create.

I have always liked to say that he or she “must have enough brains to help.” “With the increasing challenges the world is facing, I would now add that they must also have the courage to act,” he says. “What I mean is that we need to look beyond our domain and reach it, because the complexity of the world needs to be managed bravely so as not to become the cause of its destruction.”

He notes that many of today’s complexities are the result of great engineering, but “the side effects—and I’m talking about carbon dioxide, for example—have yet to be accounted for, and the engineering debt is now due.”

De Geus points to the climate crisis: “It’s the biggest challenge out there. It’s an engineering and a social challenge. We need to find a way to not have to pay the debt in full. So, we need to engineer rapid technology transitions while mitigating the negatives of the equation. Great engineering will be crucial to getting there.” there “.

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