Artifact Details


Cheng, Edmund oral history

Catalog Number



Moving image




Cheng, Edmund, Interviewee
Fairbairn, Doug, Interviewer
Fortier, James, Videographer


Computer History Museum

Place of Publication

Mountain View, California





Copyright Holder

Computer History Museum


Edmund Cheng was born and grew up in Hong Kong. His parents had come to Hong Kong from Shanghai in 1949 as war refugees to escape the civil war, which had gripped China after WWII. He became interested in electrical things through observation and experimentation. He founded an electronics club in high school and helped with equipment around the school.

After high school he managed to secure a scholarship to go to Ohio University. He studied not only electrical engineering, but math and physics and got introduced to computing using FORTRAN on an IBM 360.

He entered Caltech upon graduation in 1972. Connecting with Professor Carver Mead, Cheng got heavily involved in the VLSI design research program, which Dr. Mead headed.

Taking his education in chip design to Intel, Cheng made major contributions to the design of ALUs, and A to D converters, among other disciplines. After several years at Intel, he was attracted away by Professor Carver Mead to help found Silicon Compilers, Inc. There he worked on leading edge design tools. After mergers with Silicon Design Labs and Mentor Graphics, he left and became CEO of another startup, Anagram. An acquisition left him free to pursue other opportunities including working at Synopsys for several years. His current position as CEO of Gradient Design Automation began in 2006 when he was asked to take the reins of another startup in 2006.

[Note: Gradient’s technology was acquired by Keysight Technologies a few weeks after this interview.]


Oral history


Intel; Anagram; Mead, Carver; Gradient Design Automation; silicon compiler; Mentor Graphics; Schematic-driven layout (SDL); semiconductor history; Electronic design automation (EDA)

Collection Title

Oral history collection


Computer History Museum

Lot Number


Related Records

102746882 Cheng, Edmund oral history