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About the EDA Industry: EDA stands for Electronic Design Automation. To understand the rapidly growing, seven billion dollar EDA industry, it helps to define what we mean for the words behind those three letters, "EDA":
Electronic – anything electronic—from computer chips, cellular phones, pacemakers, controls for automobiles and satellites to the servers, routers and switches that run the Internet. Everything made by the nearly $1 trillion electronics industry results from designers using EDA tools and services. As electronics become even more complex and pervasive, the EDA industry is more vital to the continued success of the global economy.
Design – the part of the production cycle where creativity, new ideas, ingenuity and inspiration come to the fore. This is also where designers try to model the behavior of their designs and analyze the complex interactions of millions of constituent parts in their designs to ensure completeness, correctness and manufacturability of the final product. Why? Because it is impossibly difficult, expensive and time consuming to "build it first and fix it later."
Because the designers in our industry are mostly electrical engineers ("hardware engineers") and computer scientists ("software engineers"), some segments of the EDA industry are also called, "Computer Aided Engineering" (CAE). EDA is also referred to as "Electronic Computer-Aided Design" (ECAD), acknowledging the crucial role EDA plays in the design phase.
Automation – imagine the difference between designing a small house versus designing a mile-high skyscraper. For the skyscraper you need to design sophisticated structural, electrical, plumbing, security and environmental systems, communications and computer networks, elevators, etc. all working together. This is analogous to the dramatic increase in complexity that designers must tackle in electronics today.
It is this complexity - enabled by the relentless onslaught of Moore's Law* - that drives the need for automation. Engineers need to validate their concepts, model and analyze their designs, identify and eliminate problems before making production commitments. EDA helps them get it done right.
* Moore's Law - A trend observed by Intel cofounder Gordon Moore in 1965 in which the number of transistors in integrated circuits doubles every 18 months. For more than 30 years this has been the driving force behind the electronics revolution.