The FPGA development kit (FDK) launched back in June is the result of a long term relationship with Mentor Graphics. Today we have the chance to have Brian G. Oliver, Agilent Technologies Account Director to talk about the development of this partnership. As a reminder the FDK is now available. It allows Agilent digitizers customers to deploy their own signal processing IP on board of the Agilent high-speed ADC boards.
High-speed ADC Made easy (HSADC): Before anything could you please briefly introduce yourself, what is your education and professional background, what are your hobbies?
Brian Oliver(BO): I am a Global Account Director for Mentor Graphics. I live in Colorado. I received my Chemistry and Business degrees from Saginaw Valley State University and my MBA from the University of Michigan. READ MORE I have worked in the EDA industry for 17 years, the last 10 with Mentor. I am an avid Mountain Biker, Skier, Ultimate Frisbee player and still run occasionally on the US Master Track and Field team.
HSADC: The announcement of the Agilent FPGA development kit powered by Mentor Graphics HD design tool back in June has been a milestone both for both companies and the fruit of a long term relationship. Could you summarize the main stages of this collaboration before the product launch?
OB: It was a long-term effort beginning back 4.5 years before the launch when Agilent digitizers operation manager Didier Lavanchy and I first explored the idea in Geneva. It has taken quite an effort on both companies parts to ensure the correct products in the FPGA development kit were embedded and that the customer experience would be easy and productive. Both engineering teams have worked very well together. Once the development was done we still needed another 15 months to set up the logistics behind the commercial launch. At the end we have a product that Agilent customers should really find highly valuable.INTERESTED TO START A PARTNERSHIP WITH AGILENT? Get in touch with us
HSADC: What was key to Mentor Graphics to move on and develop this new type of partnership with Agilent digitizers team?
BO: Mentor is always looking to reach more customers and provide a better engineering environment. Working with Agilent provided a relationship to do both with a trusted partner. Everyone is winning in this case. Agilent, Mentor Graphics and the end-users who can access the best-in-time Mentor Graphics tools while see their hardware performing as it should.
HDADC: So would Mentor Graphics duplicate this type of business relationship easily?
BO: Mentor could probably duplicate this with another Agilent division, but the long-term partnership effort this took is not something Mentor enters into without considerable thought and the choice of the “right” partner.
HSADC: We also like to hear about the future of technology with expert like you? How do you see the future of FGPA design? What are the key challenges for a company like yours?
BO: FPGAs are becoming so large, fast and complex that engineering teams now have to approach some designs like an ASIC. With the cost of ASIC design, we believe that FPGA’s will become even more important to cusomters, particular those in lower volume products. Mentor’s goals are to provide a FPGA design environment that allows design teams to behave more like ASIC teams. Meaning more extensive verification, reuse, automating certain tasks and collaboration across a global team.
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