[Baypiggies] Summary of Python in Electronic Design Automation (EDA)

Donna Snow donnamsnow at gmail.com
Thu Apr 27 23:04:59 CEST 2006

Interesting that you mention Magma Design Automation.. I worked for
them from June 2004 to November 2004 .. (temporary replacing their
webmaster who was on an extended vacation over the summer).

Their cms at the time was Cuesta Technologies - Web-n-Able - tcl
based. I believe they still use Cuesta for the main site.. Plone for

I helped them to convert their intranet (which was a static html site
updated through Dreamweaver) to a Plone environment. Not sure if they
are still using it because I'm not connected anymore.. but they had
quite a Zope setup (zeo cluster) and had written Salesforce API's in
Python... for their sales team.

BTW.. having used a tcl based content management system was quite
interesting but much less featureful than any other one I've used..
could have improved in the last couple of years..but after 3 years (at
that point) of using Plone .. it felt like a step backwards.

Just my input as I worked there as a consultant for awhile and saw
first hand what they use in house.. things coulda changed since then.

Donna M. Snow
C Squared Technologies
technology at the speed of innovation
http://www.csquaredtech.com <--- coming back soon!

On 4/27/06, Rick Kwan <kenobi at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hmmm.... interesting.
> On 4/26/06, Stephen McInerney <spmcinerney at hotmail.com> wrote:
> > Here is a summary for anyone who is interested in Python in Electronic
> > Design Automation (EDA):
> (...snip...)
> > EDA is unfortunately historically dominated by legacy proprietary languages
> > (Cadence SKILL (a LISP derivative), Synopsys dc-shell, etc.).
> > Tcl has emerged within the last 8 years to an extent as the de facto
> > scripting and automation
> > standard, as endorsed by many EDA vendors. (Believe it or not, that's a huge
> > advance on what went before).
> That's logical.  Tcl was invented by John Ousterhout, who was famous
> for VLSI design tools at Berkeley, upon which a lot of industry tools
> were based.  Fabulous extensibility compared to anything else around
> at the time.  (And then later came Python. :-)
> > Essentially, EDA scripting as written by EE's (as opposed to the EDA
> > software itself, which is written by CS guys) lags best practices in
> > software (revision control, testing, object-orienting, reuse) by about 25
> > years typically. This is a pet topic of mine and believe me I can show you
> > plenty metrics to prove that (see also ISQED conference).
> >
> > There is no single area of application for Python in EDA but there are
> > several open areas which are not dominated by any legacy. Python also goes
> > head-to-head with PERL since PERL is an EE's de facto scripting language of
> > choice, historically anyway. So writing an imperative style with heavy use
> > of regexes and eschewing OO is kind of an unfortunate straitjacket
> > requirement, in order that your colleagues can understand and maintain your
> > code.
> > These are the main current areas where Python is used in EDA:
> >
> > - Python for small tasks, netlist transformations, buffer insertion,
> > transistor compaction
> > - Python in testing, builds, automation, job control, webserver logging of
> > results
> > - interfacing to the emergent OpenAccess standard for a silicon design
> > database with an open API (in C++): (http://www.si2.org/?page=69)
> > - interfacing to or wrapperising C++ APIs or revision control
> > - small GUIs (usually Tkinter)
> > - mod_python, mod_perl, Ruby and PHP for internal websites (e.g. regression
> > results)
> > - Jan Decaluwe even proposed PyHDL: Python as a design language (HDL):
> > (http://www.eet.com/news/design/technology/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=177101584)
> > although that is very uncommon - Verilog(& SystemVerilog) dominate, followed
> > by VHDL.
> >
> > Here is a list of former or current BayPIGgies with an interest in Python in
> > EDA,
> > based on my personal interactions. Apologies if I get anyone wrong or
> > omitted:
> >
> > Stephen McInerney (Sun Microsystems, Magma, Transmeta)
> > Dennis Reinhardt (DAIR Computer Systems, former chair of HotChips conference
> > and IEEE chapter head)
> > Peter Simanyi (Cadence)
> > Jan Decaluwe (Mephisto Design Automation (MDA), PyHDL, eAsics)
> > Tim Burks
> > John Ivie
> > Andrew Lentvorski
> I did CAD support overseas for Acer Labs' ASIC Division when they
> first started in 1987.
> Also did a small amount of Perl hacking for cell layout for a shop
> that has now disappeared into legend.
> > And here is a list of EDA companies known to at least partially use Python:
> > Synopsys  www.synopsys.com (mainly for testing only)
> > Magma Design Automation www.magma-da.com (only for some testing and
> > automation)
> > Pyxis http://www.pyxistech.com/
> > Tabula Software
> > various other OpenAccess partners (mostly small startups)
> >
> > (A couple of folks had suggested it might be neat to add links pages from
> > baypiggies.net to
> > Pythonic companies broken out by sector. That is a good idea for the
> > future.)
> >
> > Hope this is useful for people who are interested,
> > Stephen
> Although I haven't done much in EDA in many years, I will attend a
> "Python in EDA" evening.  It seems like the right way for that
> industry to go.
> And speaking of industry segments, I'd be interested in hearing from
> people using Python in aerospace.  I use Python for other things (web
> hackery, database interface, etc.), but I talk regularly with lots of
> aerospace folks, and am plugged into one technical committee.  The
> major languages I see in use are:  C/C++, Java, Matlab, and a bunch of
> legacy Fortran.  It seems to be there is immense unexploited
> opportunity for Python there, but the people need some education.
> --Rick Kwan (kenobi at gmail.com)
>   Associate Fellow, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA)
>   chair (until end of May), AIAA San Francisco Section
>   member, AIAA Computer Systems Technical Committee
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