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Queen affirms interest in EDA

Cut that tapeout, your majesty

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It's been a long time coming, but chip design behemoth DeCadence has finally come clean on staffing levels at its Livingston, Scotland design centre.

Towards the end of last year, Cadence invited the cream of Europe's electronics press [Who they? - Ed] to an opening ceremony which was precipitously cancelled just 24 hours before the event. The reason given was that the chip designer and Scottish Enterprise hadn't quite finalised staffing levels at the Livingston centre.

The clever money at the time predicted that staffing would max at 1,000 heads, despite earlier bullish predictions (from senior management who mysteriously left Cadence shortly afterwards) of more than double that.

Now we can exclusively reveal that 1,000 is indeed the final figure apropos of bums on seats and that HRH Queen Elizabeth II will be popping along to Livingston later today to officially bless the building.

The $30M Livingston Design Centre (LDC) is claimed to be the world's largest independent electronics design centre, located in the Alba Campus, the hub of a major Scottish initiative created in 1997 aimed at 'establishing a centre of excellence in electronics design'.

The primary purpose of the Cadence building at the Alba site is system-on-a-chip (SOC) design for very famous companies in the IT and telecoms industries who depend on Cadence's expertise, pay the company shedloads of cash, but rarely admit to them having done all the clever design work on their behalf.

"The fact that Her Majesty The Queen has dedicated our Livingston Design Centre is testimony to the Scottish vision of creating the largest SOC centre in the world," said Bob Wiederhold, senior vice president at Cadence. "Our goal is to have 1,000 employees at the LDC by the end of 2004.

"The company currently has 250 people at the Livingston facility and is recruiting qualified engineers in the United Kingdom and the rest of Europe, Canada, India and the United States."

The current Livingston building - boasting a private gym and designer cappuccino bar - can accommodate 500 people, but as staff numbers increase, Cadence plans to build a twin building just across the rather attractive water feature which runs through the site.

The LDC is now to be headed up by Colin Adams who takes over from the charismatic Marc Cannon who is returning to the United States after two and a half years running the show.

Says Adams: "A key reason for locating in Scotland is the pool of excellent electronic and engineering graduates available in Silicon Glen. Recruitment of experienced staff for the LDC is our top priority at the moment."

A worldwide shortage of experienced chip designers was the key reason given for the cancellation of last year's launch event. ®

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