Cadence execs reflect on Richard Newton
Following the passing of U.C. Berkeley professor Dr. A. Richard Newton, Electronic News sought out comments from friends and former colleagues.
According to a Cadence Design Systems Inc. spokesperson, so many people at Cadence knew and admired Richard that it was difficult to just pick one spokesperson. Therefore, a number of senior executives at the EDA market leader wished to express their thoughts. Ted Vucurevich, senior VP and CTO for advanced R&D said, "Richard and I had many a like-minded discussion about the need for a strong database for design. I guess that was the first inkling I had of him as an "Integrative Visionary." Over all of the years since our first meeting in the late 80's he was almost always the first to recognize significant fundamental changes that would take place first in our industry and in later years in engineering as a whole."
"In the 80's when many folks were focused on "algorithms" Richard contributed to "integration" of Design automation technology. In the 90's I remember him seeing timing driven implications as a holistic issue not point patches and predicted a complete re-tooling of the digital flow (he was right) and later went on to be appointed the first director of the Gigascale Silicon Research Center, which pioneered the integration of all electronic system disciplines together into a cohesive framework," Vucurevich continued.
"As the new millennium began, he was way ahead of the pack in recognizing the implications of stunning technological breakthroughs in other domains (biology in particular) coupled with a real and growing need to utilize our understanding to improve the quality of life for far more people. He was instrumental in the creation of the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society and the Center for Synthetic Biology. Both of these programs represent the very best of what Richard was as a human being. Intelligent, articulate, charismatic, passionate and full of a desire to help better the world he lived in. We will miss him," he added.
Next, Dr. Alberto Sangiovanni-Vincentelli, who sits on Cadence's Board of Directors, and who is a professor and the Edgar L. and Harold H. Buttner Chair of Electrical Engineering at the University of California at Berkeley recalls, "I met Richard the first time when we both arrived in Berkeley. Since that first encounter we have worked together on EDA and we have shared much of our personal life. He had an uncanny gift: one wondered whether his passion for oriental philosophy endowed him with the ability to see the future with greater clarity than the rest of us!"
"He had an unmatched capability of marrying technical insights with industrial needs. He was an entrepreneur at heart in research, administration and industrial endeavor. He articulated the EDA roadmap thirty years ago and almost all he said actually happened albeit with variable delays," he continued.
"The business plan for Cadence when we founded the company in 1983 could be still used for a start-up today! He was a charismatic person. His students and colleagues were so intrigued by his visionary talks and initiatives that would spend endless hours trying to connect the dots and help Richard to make his vision come true. His reach was beyond EDA. The semiconductor and software industry at large benefited from his insights. He has given the speech for the Kaufmann Award since its inception except from when he received the award himself. His speeches were always deep in depicting the individual contribution but also personal as he would investigate the personality of the winners spending hours and hours in researching the background of each. On a personal note, Richard and I spent many hours talking about our dreams, our families, our difficulties, our achievements. He always had the right word, never finger pointing but helping from his immense heart," Sangiovanni-Vincentelli noted.
"Richard was instrumental in guiding Microsoft and Bill Gates in his philanthropic activities. His latest passion, synthetic biology, is the logical evolution of his thoughts: combining algorithms, software tools and understanding of the application to yield revolutionary results in a field were lives could be saved and poor nations helped," he went on.
"I cannot think of anybody else who had a deeper impact at all levels than Richard on the electronic industry," Sangiovanni-Vincentelli added.
Aki Fujimura, senior VP and CTO for Cadence's technology incubation, said, "Richard Newton was a great man. He was a great leader, not just as the Dean, but of technology at large. He had a way to see the future. And his was a vision that took reality into account, the reality about the dynamics of people, of organizations, of governments, and of economic systems. He was a great supporter, not just as a teacher, or as a founder and board member of many important companies, but of entire industries. He believed in ideas. He believed in science. He believed in the human ingenuity and the will to succeed. And most of all, he believed in people. Not just certain people. He had faith in all people. Yeah, he loved us all. More than anything else about him, that's what I feel the most when I think about Richard. He loved us all. I miss him already... We love you, too, Richard. Your enthusiasm for life and for quests and conquests will live on through us. Rest in peace."
Jan Willis, senior VP of industry alliances for Cadence observed, "Richard was a great supporter and mentor to many in the industry, including taking extra time to support women in technology. I got to experience it first hand while I was at Simplex, a company that Richard helped to found. And his support didn't stop even when you might only see him once a year...he always had time for people, even if it was for just a few minutes. Let us remember him not only today but well into the future."
In conclusion, Mike Fister, president and CEO of Cadence added, "It is with much sadness that we learned this week of Richard Newton's passing. Richard was an EDA legend, and was one of the co-founders of SDA, which later merged with ECAD to become Cadence. Our industry owes a huge debt of gratitude to him for his vision, and his wise stewardship; he will be sadly missed."