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Anne Cirkel
Anne Cirkel
Anne Cirkel is the General Chair for the 52nd DAC and a Senior Director for Technology Marketing at Mentor Graphics. Prior to joining Mentor Anne held marketing management positions at Analogy, Viewlogic, and Berner & Mattner. Anne holds a Master's degree in Business Administration with an … More »

Seeds of a great conference: Keynote superstars and stellar refereed content at DAC 52

 
March 19th, 2015 by Anne Cirkel

Nose around the design automation industry a bit and you’re sure to find mention of the goal to “shift left.” Basically the idea is to try to solve problems and add value earlier in the design cycle. Engineers usually first stitch together basic functional blocks of whatever they are building before moving on to higher level system integration and software tasks. Turns out this isn’t a bad metaphor for conference planning. Like chips and ICs, conferences work best when the essential elements (in this case, marquee presenters and core technical content) are in place early. I can safely report this is more or less true now for DAC 52—which is slated to be simply amazing when it’s finally “launched” this summer.


One reason I have such confidence in this claim is that we have a stellar lineup of keynoters, all of whom have previously made news for their technical exploits:

  • Monday, Brian Otis, co-founder of Google Smart Contact Lens project. Last July Google announced it was partnering with Novartis on the project. The Reuters story about the deal included some fairly stunning stats on the size of the global blood-sugar tracking market ($12 billion by 2017), and the potential to improve lives (382 million people worldwide with diabetes).
  • Tuesday, Jeffrey Owens, Delphi CTO. Jeffrey, in charge of 19,000 Delphi technologists in 15 major technical centers, will be talking about the challenges of dealing with increasing amounts of embedded software and electrical/electronic systems in today’s vehicles, which he says possess more processing power than any other device an average consumer owns or will purchase. At CES, Mashable’s Lance Ulanoff took a ride in an Audi 2014 SQ45 SUV equipped with Delpi Drive, Delphi’s Automated Driving Platform. Ulanoff wrote: “It’s hard to describe the feeling of seeing a car signal, change lanes and turn a steering wheel without human intervention—especially when you’re a passenger in the self-driving car. It’s eerie and a little scary. I was simultaneously geeking- and freaking out. There were, however, no scary moments in our drive.”
  • Wednesday; Jeff Massimilla, Chief Product Cybersecurity Officer at GM; Craig Smith, founder of OpenGarages.org and author of the “2014 Car Hacker’s Handbook”; John McElroy, host of the news and analysis program “Autoline Daily.” Think of this as a roundtable public affairs program with expected sharp exchanges and banter, only instead of a Republican and Democrat going head to head we’ll have a vehicle cybersecurity pro and a hacker. (Okay, maybe this is isn’t exactly the right positioning since Craig’s raison d’etre is to empower people to understand and identify potential security risks in their cars. He’s white hat all the way.) John, a Detroit media icon, has literally been making news about the auto industry for decades. And he seems to already know a thing or two about cybersecurity as well, so expect some tough questions and good dialogue.
  • Thursday, John Rogers, University of Illinois applied physics professor. All of the keynoters are incredible innovators, though John is the only one who has been officially hailed as genius. (He won a MacAruthur Fellowship, the “genius grant,” in 2009, and has nabbed several other prestigious prizes since then.) John studies biocompatible electronics. His talk last week at the American Physical Society’s March Media on building tiny 3D electronic scaffolds from flat silicon cuts led to this story by Jonathan Webb at the BBC, who described how “the silicon folds into its designed shape like a children’s pop-up book.” The video and images on Webb’s story are definitely worth a look.

The keynotes might get a lot of the attention, but we’ve been hard at work on other aspects of the DAC program, too. Most notably, the 167-member technical program committee finished the yeoman’s task of reviewing submitted technical papers, which make up the traditional core of the conference. In short, it’s these committee members, volunteers laboring behind the scenes, who make DAC an unmatched IEEE/ACM refereed research conference in the world.

Any systems designer will tell you the task is not done until you can boot and run the software on the device. If DAC’s hardware is the stellar content from the main stage on down, then its software, the way that you as a user will interface with and experience this content, is the schedule matrix that drives the program and that attendees use as a guide to their time at Moscone. Chuck Alpert, DAC vice chair and Keanu Reeves lookalike, described his efforts to streamline and simplify the matrix in a guest post to my DAC blog a few weeks back. “We’re trying to whip this into shape in under a year, and without the benefit of any red pills,” Alpert wrote.

Even without Neo’s help, DAC is in great shape, despite occasionally misguided information by some industry naysayers. Aside from attracting headline generating keynoters, we’ve also been inundated with a record number of submissions across the board in nearly all content areas. All this is common sense and empirical evidence that DAC’s importance and energy are as vibrant as ever, and indeed on the rise.

We’ve left-shifted the task of building a great conference, freeing us up to work on finishing touches that will make this one of the best DACs ever. This is important work, and at least some of it will be done by volunteers. So if you want to lend a hand, especially those of you in the Bay Area who might want to help out on the local area committee, drop me a note or comment below. For now, the main task left is to spread the news about the upcoming show and for you to shift items off your calendar so you can be there in June.

Regular registration opens later this month, though early registration for free “I Love DAC” passes is open now. Visit DAC.com for more details.

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Category: DAC

2 Responses to “Seeds of a great conference: Keynote superstars and stellar refereed content at DAC 52”

  1. mbg says:

    So this comment is for everyone who is “Thinking about going to DAC, but not sure yet”…..ya gotta go! Not only has the DAC Committee lined up some amazing keynotes, but the entire ecosystem is truly coming. For example look at all the Foundries that are now exhibiting, including UMC who is back after a long time! Why do you care? Because each of these ecosystem companies will be bringing people that you normally need to travel internationally to talk to………..so instead, come to DAC and address your issues all in one place, catch some of he keynotes and technical sessions…….and ya get to be in San Francisco!
    How good is that!

  2. Anne Cirkel says:

    Michael – I can’t agree more. Let’s make sure to get everyone in for I love DAC. In addition to the free I love DAC pass there are some awesome deals for early conference registration – starting April 1. We had record paper submissions to our Designer and IP track at DAC. Now we need to match it with record registration numbers. Who is in? Only ten more weeks to DAC!

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