TitleBeke, Herman oral history
|Beke, Herman, Interviewee|
|Fairbairn, Doug, Interviewer|
PublisherComputer History Museum
Place of PublicationMountain View, California
DescriptionHerman Beke was a pioneer in electronic design automation. He was born and grew up in Belgium where he attended the University of Leuven and in 1977 earned a PhD in electrical engineering. His thesis dealt with the automation of layout of cell based integrated circuits.
After graduation, he decided to setup a small company called “Lisco [Leuven Industrial Software Company] to support and expand this automated layout package. In order to expand his market, he came to the US and got Digital Equipment Corp (DEC) as his first customer. He eventually found Bill Van Cleemput, a professor at Stanford, to team up with and sell his product in the US. Van Cleemput had founded a company, Silvar, to sell a gate array design package. They eventually merged the companies to form Silvar-Lisco, which was a pioneer in the EDA market. It went public in 1984.
Unfortunately, the company made a strategic error to support an upcoming workstation from IBM called the PC RT. This effort took so many resources that the company lost its competitive edge to other startups. During this period, Herman came to the US to manage worldwide engineering for the company. He eventually returned to Belgium working with, or starting, several companies in electronic design automation through 2009 when he retired.