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Thales and Mentor Graphics Halve Time-to-Productivity for New Design Engineers

NEWBURY, United Kingdom, May 28, 2008 - Mentor Graphics Corporation (NASDAQ: MENT) and Thales UK’s engineering and process management (EPM) business have developed an integrated tool and methodology training course which halves the time-to-productivity for new engineers. Thales estimates that up to a hundred engineers could be trained this way over the coming year.

Previously, Thales’ Field-Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) design engineers received three separate training courses. Mentor Graphics worked with Thales to create a training course that would integrate Hardware Description Language (HDL) theory, tool application and familiarization with Thales’ in-house methodology. Whereas it typically took six months for a new recruit to undertake the three courses it should now take a maximum of three months and by combining the courses the number of training hours is reduced by 40%.

Thales UK’s optronics business in Glasgow has successfully piloted the course, and it will now be extended to the Staines and Bury St Edmunds sites, then two further sites from the land and joint systems business, Crawley and Wells. It will be made available to the rest of Thales UK’s sites and discussions are underway to provide the course across other European sites via Thales’ France-based EPM team.

Instead of off-the-shelf tool training a combined team from Mentor Graphics Education Services and Thales’ EPM business jointly deliver the bespoke course for Thales engineers. The EPM business maintains a range of ‘Workbenches’, workflows accessed through a Thales-developed Graphical User Interface (GUI). In the case of the FPGA Workbench this contains tools from Mentor Graphics, including the HDL Designer™ tool, the ModelSim® tool, and the Precision® Synthesis tool. The GUI guides engineers to follow Thales design rules, configuration and library management conventions and other aspects of best practice and standardisation such as DO254.

Thales has a major graduate recruitment programme underway and the course will be an important part of the induction process, but it is also intended as a refresher for existing Thales engineers adopting FPGA Workbench. The new course will accelerate the rollout of FPGA Workbench across Thales sites, since the Workbench methodology will be imparted at the same time as tool training, generating the following benefits:

  • New engineers will be productive sooner
  • Better engineering resource management by enabling existing engineers to swap between projects more easily
  • Encourage wider use of newer techniques, e.g. assertions, self-checking testbenches
  • Cut verification time by reducing bugs through standardizing best practice
  • Enhanced overall management as Workbench generates live project metrics
  • Reduction in training costs

Andrew Parmley, head of electronics at Thales UK’s optronics business, says: “Integrating company-specific methodology instruction with tool training is a no-brainer decision. It gets engineers productive quickly, cuts training administration and allows us to standardize best practice so that engineers can move easily between projects to put design resources where they are needed.”

Adrian Buckley, General Manager of Mentor Graphics Western Europe, comments: “Our investment in this partnership approach to bespoke training makes sense because our aim is to deliver solid business outcomes for our user base. This is a transferable approach to training which we are also able to offer to other customers.”

About Thales and Thales UK
Thales is a leading international electronics and systems group, addressing defense, aerospace and security markets worldwide. Thales’ leading-edge technology is supported by 22,000 R&D engineers who offer a capability unmatched in Europe to develop and deploy field-proven mission-critical information systems. To this end, the group’s civil and military businesses develop in parallel and share a common base of technologies to serve a single objective: the security of people, property and nations. The group builds its growth on its unique multi-domestic strategy based on trusted partnerships with national customers and market players, while leveraging its global expertise to support local technology and industrial development. Thales employs 68,000 people in 50 countries with 2007 revenues in excess of £8.3 bn. Thales UK employs 9,000 staff based at more than 50 locations. In 2007 Thales UK's revenues were over £1.2 bn.

About Mentor Graphics
Mentor Graphics Corporation (NASDAQ: MENT) is a world leader in electronic hardware and software design solutions, providing products, consulting services and award-winning support for the world’s most successful electronics and semiconductor companies. Established in 1981, the company reported revenues over the last 12 months of over $850 million and employs approximately 4,200 people worldwide. Corporate headquarters are located at 8005 S.W. Boeckman Road, Wilsonville, Oregon 97070-7777. World Wide Web site:

Mentor Graphics, ModelSim and Precision are registered trademarks and HDL Designer is a trademark of Mentor Graphics Corporation. All other company or product names are the registered trademarks or trademarks of their respective owners.

For more information please contact:
Peter Davy
Mentor Graphics
+44 (0)1635 811647

Thales UK
Kathryn Bell
Mob: +44 7813 903274

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