Over the years, as the field of electronic design automation developed, EDA conferences, publications and related activities grew up in several different IEEE societies. The Circuits and Systems Society (CASS) set up the Computer-Aided Network Design Committee (CANDE) and the Transactions on Computer-Aided Design (TCAD) journal. The Computer Society (CS) created a Design Automation Technical Committee (DATC) and a Design Automation Standards Committee (DASC).
While EDA was a part of multiple societies, it was not the focus of any one; and there was growing feeling that bringing the many distributed activities together would be beneficial to the EDA community. This idea was discussed at the 2002 and 2003 CANDE Workshops and in late 2003, Al Dunlop and Nanni De Micheli began developing a proposal to establish a CAD Council. Dick Smith joined the effort and helped establish a formal structure.
The idea was not without controversy, but had the support of the forward-thinking leadership in CASS, CS, CANDE, DATC and the IEEE. Together they articulated the benefits of consolidating their EDA activities in a council to bring together the EDA activities of the IEEE societies and to increase the benefits to the EDA community. There was much discussion during 2004, especially within CASS, and support began to build. Influential members of the EDA community, including: Bryan Ackland, Raul Camposano, Georges Gielen, Rajesh Gupta, Andreas Kuehlmann, Enrico Macii, Massoud Pedram, Jaijeet Roychowdhury, Ron Waxman, Ellen Yoffa and Yervant Zorian. Each actively promoted the concept.
Al and Nanni took the proposal to the CASS Board of Governors in May of 2004. After much discussion, the board voted unanimously to endorse the proposal and set up a committee to refine the concept –– a bold and critical first step. Al and Nanni led this formation committee and prepared to take the proposal to the IEEE. Dick Smith took the lead on creating the council’s Constitution and Bylaws. The name evolved to “Council on EDA (CEDA)”, which was acceptable to almost everyone.
Other Societies joined in supporting CEDA. Yervant Zorian championed the idea in the Computer Society, Bryan Ackland in the Solid State Circuits Society and Steve Hillenius in the Electron Device Society. Nanni got the Antennas and Propagation Society to join the effort too. Later, the Microwave Theory and Techniques Society also joined for a total of six sponsoring Societies.
While support was being built within the Societies, Al and Nanni also discussed the plan within the IEEE leadership, who would ultimately need to approve the new council. In May of 2004, they met with the Technical Activities Board (TAB) Strategic Planning Committee, the TAB Finance Committee, and the TAB Management Committee. It was then that the concept began to gain acceptance.
Dick Smith had the unique notion of adding “Technical Member Organizations (TMOs)” to the CEDA Board of Governors to represent the entities contributed by the Societies. No other IEEE organization had this concept.
Armed with strong Society support, Al and Nanni went to the IEEE Tab in early 2005 to get CEDA approved. Establishing a new Society or Council in the IEEE is a major undertaking. TAB’s Management Committee and Finance Committee must first approve and then it goes to the full TAB for approval. At the February 2005 TAB meeting and after many sub-meetings, Al, Nanni and Dick received TAB’s Phase 1 approval. Final approval would be at the June 2005 TAB meeting and IEEE Board of Directors meeting. Meanwhile, they continued to work in parallel with the officers of CAS and CS on the final terms for transferring assets and on creating an initial budget and set of milestones for CEDA. As a result, CEDA received 1/3 of the DAC sponsorship, 2/3 of ICCAD, 2% of DATE, 100% of TCAD and co-sponsorship of CANDE and DATC.
At the June 2005 IEEE TAB meeting, the formation of the new Council on EDA was approved and Al was named as acting president until the first elections, which later confirmed him as the CEDA president and Nanni as president-elect for 2006 and 2007. Also elected were other CEDA officers and a Board of Governors with representatives from the sponsoring Societies, major conferences and publications and technical committees.
It took some time for publicity to reach the EDA community about the new organization. Over time, CEDA appeared more frequently as a prominent sponsor of existing EDA conference and publications, added new conferences and workshops, established new awards and organized complementary events, such as distinguished lectures.