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Agile Analog: Analog IP the way you want it.



Until now, buyers of analog IP have had to settle for the least bad option from a limited portfolio of standard IP products.

Agile Analog is the company behind a new approach: to give the designers of ASICs and SoCs the analog IP that they really want. And to enable this new approach, they developed the very unique COMPOSA™ methodology for the generation of customer-specified IP fresh for every new chip design from any foundry on any node.

With a mission to transform the landscape of the Analog IP market space, Agile Analog has expanded the portfolio for standard IP products. Pete Hutton, the Executive Chairman of the company, implies his expertise to aid and advice to ensure that ideas flourish.

We at Insights Success caught up with Pete Hutton in our endeavor to find “The 10 Most Disruptive Companies in Semiconductor Industry.” We talked with Pete to understand how Agile Analog is changing the landscape of Analog IP.

Below are the highlights of the interview.

Give us a brief overview of your company, its mission, and the key aspects of its strong foothold in the Semiconductor industry.

Agile Analog brings freedom of choice to IC designers in their use of analog circuits (analog IP). For too long, designers have been restricted in terms of timescales, process choice, or functionality of the analog circuits they want to use. In many cases, the analog tail wags the SoC dog.

Agile Analog provides exactly the analog IP that customers want by changing the existing manual design paradigm into a fully automated end-to-end flow.

Describe your top-notch offerings that address the need of your customers.

We have internal automation technology which captures analog IP designs and then enables those designs to be quickly and reliability generated on new silicon processes so that it precisely matches the customer’s requirements.

What makes your company a preferred choice among your clientele over other competitors?

We’re the only supplier who gives customers the analog IP that they want on the process they want. Our approach is completely silicon process independent and can generate the same design on 180nm or FinFET, and will tailor the design for the process.

No other vendor can do this without undertaking a long, expensive, and potentially bug-ridden manual process.

How is your company implying the latest innovative technologies to streamline your work process?

We have created our own design flow by interfacing to and driving leading-edge EDA tools from Cadence, Mentor, and Synopsys. All our design and data is cloud-hosted, and our engineers can access their designs and tools anywhere in the world.

Communications internally and with customers use all the latest technologies.

Describe the values that drive your organization.

Partner and Quality-focused to make sure that we always do the best for the people we’re supplying, and we go above and beyond to make them successful with their designs.

An open, transparent, and collaborative Engineering organization with people at all levels of the company empowered to make the right decisions.

In your opinion, what could be the future of the Semiconductor market post the COVID-19 pandemic? And how are you strategizing your company’s operations for that future?

Covid has made two massive changes to the technology world. The first is that we’ve seen 15 years of technological change accelerated over the last 18 months. The second is that remote working and video calls have become commonplace.

We’ve already seen the technical change ripple through into semiconductor demand, and that will continue, as will the dynamic that pushes most technology companies to design their own silicon. Since all ICs use analog IP, then that’s just a tailwind acceleration of what we’re already doing.

Remote working means that people need security more than ever since they have distributed working environments, and we’re all now mixing home and office working, and so our focus on that area is beneficial.

In what ways have you or your company contributed to the community?

We support startups through partnerships with people like Silicon Catalyst and direct training and guidance for companies doing their first silicon. We’re engaging with industry activities around security to drive standardization and secure our customer’s products.

What are your future aspirations? Where do you see your company in the next five years?

In the next five years, we will have our technology, both analog IP and perhaps also methodology, out in most of the new ICs being designed.

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Bank of England raises base interest rate to 1.75%



The Bank of England has raised the base interest rate by half a percentage point to 1.75 per cent, the biggest rise since 1995, in an attempt to combat runaway inflation.

The nine-strong monetary policy committee voted eight to one in favour of a 50 basis point rise, defying some market expectations for an increase by 25 basis points.

It is the Bank’s sixth consecutive tightening in monetary policy and follows in the footsteps of the US Federal Reserve and European Central Bank, which have begun aggressively raising rates by larger increments.

Interest rates are now the highest since 2009 as the Bank attempts to bring down inflation, which is running at a 40-year high of 9.4 per cent and is on course to exceed 11 per cent later this year.

These would be the worst inflation rates in the G7, caused in large part by rising global energy prices driving household bills higher this year. The UK economy is also heading for a slowdown this year as consumer incomes are squeezed more tightly than since the 1950s.

Andrew Bailey, the Bank’s governor, has hinted that it will also announce how it intends to begin unwinding the £850 billion of government debt pumped into the economy since the financial crisis, offloading bonds worth between £50 billion and £100 billion from as early as next month.

The Bank will also deliver its quarterly outlook, with Bailey expected to forecast that inflation will rise beyond 11 per cent and remain in double digits into next year. The Bank’s target is 2 per cent.

Commenting on today’s Bank of England interest rate rise, David Bharier, Head of Research at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said: “This rise is the clearest signal yet of the Bank of England’s intention to get inflation under control. Spiralling prices are cited by businesses as by far and away the top concern right now.

“However, given the extremely precarious state of the economy, this decision is not without risk for businesses and consumers that are exposed to banking or overdraft facilities.

“There are many causes of the current inflation crisis – global supply chain problems, trade barriers, soaring energy costs, increased taxes, and labour market shortages. Interest rate rises alone will do little to address these.

“Worryingly, our research indicates strongly that most small businesses are not investing for growth, and that longer-term confidence is beginning to wane.

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Opinion: OSC appointment fuss is a tempest in a teapot



Jeffrey MacIntosh: The government has the legislated right to have a say in the agency’s course

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Ed Waitzer’s recent op-ed (“The issue at the OSC is integrity, not debate,” July 14, 2022) expresses surprise and disappointment in my recent op-ed (“Conflict at the OSC: Why the regulator needs to make room for dissent,” July 7, 2022). In that op-ed, I argued that lawyer Heather Zordel’s appointment as non-executive chair of the OSC in March of this year should be met with open arms, as it introduces new points of view into what seems to be a rather intellectually closed shop. I don’t suppose it will come as a shock to Ed Waitzer or anyone else that I am surprised and disappointed at his rebuttal.

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To begin with, it contains a number of inaccuracies. It states that Ms. Zordel was denied reappointment to her earlier position (2019-2021) as part-time commissioner. In fact, given her busy legal practice, she took herself out of the running. This puts a rather different complexion on the matter.

And I never stated or implied that Ms. Zordel was not reappointed as part-time commissioner because of two dissenting opinions that she wrote as commissioner. My point was that for Ms. Zordel’s critics the dissents were a factor in opposing her appointment as chair of the board.

The nub of my argument was that the OSC could benefit from greater variety of viewpoints among its brass as to what investor protection and other aspects of the OSC’s mission entail. By contrast, Mr. Waitzer argues: “the importance of debate and dissent is not the point here.” I beg to differ. As I indicated, some prominent accounts of Ms. Zordel’s appointment have put a pejorative cast on her disagreements with her fellow commissioners. That puts the issue of debate and dissent front and centre.

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I certainly agree with Mr. Waitzer that the independence of administrative agencies is a cornerstone of our democracy. But does that mean that every administrative agency should be entirely divorced from any government oversight whatsoever — a little fiefdom unto itself and in no sense answerable to its political masters? Not a whit. It is the government that creates the agency, defines its mandate, gives it the powers that it needs to carry out that mandate and defines its organizational structure. And it is entirely within the purview of the government to enlist its legislative power to re-define that mandate, powers, and organizational structure if it chooses.

We don’t have to look into the distant past to find an example. On the advice of a non-partisan blue ribbon panel — the Capital Markets Modernization Taskforce (“CMMT”) — the Conservative government has recently substantially reorganized the OSC via the Securities Commission Act, 2021 (declared in force in April). That legislation splits the adjudicative function (the “Capital Markets Tribunal”) from the regulatory function. Moreover, where before the reorganization the OSC Chair and CEO were the same person, the two offices are now split. As expressed by the CMMT, “The Board of Directors, led by the Chair, (will) focus on the strategic oversight and corporate governance of the regulator,” while “The CEO (will) be responsible for the overall management of the organization and execution of the OSC’s mandate.” The directors, including the chair, are all government appointees.

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This new structure, recommended by a non-partisan committee, gives the government of the day the power to influence, at the highest level, the strategic direction of the OSC. But why should it not? If the government is dissatisfied with the strategic vision or regulatory philosophy of the regulator or the manner in which it is being implemented, it would be profoundly anti-democratic — and at odds with the rule of law — to forbid the government from seeking to alter the agency’s course.

Indeed, the Ontario Securities Act states “The Commission is an agent of the Crown in right of Ontario.” The key word here is “agent.” It is not “hegemony,” “fiefdom” or “satrapy.” At the end of the day, the OSC is a government creation performing regulatory functions ceded to it by the government.

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Do Ms. Zordel’s conservative connections compromise the independence of the institution of which she is now head? Absolutely not. In the making of such appointments, the twin issues of competence and integrity will take up a lot of shelf space. But why should the government not also consider, if it chooses, whether potential nominees share the government’s regulatory philosophy

The true worry about political interference is that the government might attempt to dictate or influence the result of particular cases. But the new legislation builds in the important protection of ceding no operational powers to the board of directors. Thus, aside from the government’s power to approve or decline proposed rule changes (a longstanding feature of securities regulation), its sole discretionary avenue of influence lies in its power to appoint directors and hence influence high-level strategic direction.

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What is left of the argument that there has been inappropriate political interference over the OSC? Only the assertion that Ms. Zordel and three other part-time commissioners were appointed without the government having consulted the OSC, as has customarily been done. Yes, it would have been better if the government had consulted the OSC. In all likelihood, however, the outcome would have been the same. The OSC might not like not having been consulted but at best this is a foible not a fiasco.

In the end, this tempest easily fits within a standard-issue teapot.

Financial Post

Jeffrey MacIntosh is a professor of law at the Faculty of Law, University of Toronto, and a director of the Canadian Securities Exchange.



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