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Tom Anderson, VP of Marketing
Tom Anderson, VP of Marketing
Tom Anderson is vice president of Marketing for Breker Verification Systems. He previously served as Product Management Group Director for Advanced Verification Solutions at Cadence, Technical Marketing Director in the Verification Group at Synopsys and Vice President of Applications Engineering at … More »

We Weren’t Kidding about Redefining “DAC” and “EDA”

August 5th, 2013 by Tom Anderson, VP of Marketing

Back in March I published an opinion piece in Chip Design magazine about redefining “DAC” from “Design Automation Conference” to “Development Automation Conference” and “EDA” from “Electronic Design Automation” to “Electronic Development Automation” to reflect reality. It generated a few comments and got a few people talking but that’s as far as it went.

I certainly didn’t expect a groundswell of support or an overnight change, but I was serious about my reasoning. I think that describing the incredibly complex development process for electronic products as “design” is outdated and not representative of the wide range of skills required.

In the original article, I mentioned some of the many people involved in electronic development who generally do not think of themselves as “designers” or of their jobs as “design”:

  • Product engineers who define the top-level requirements for the product
  • Systems architects who develop high-level models of the design and validate that it can meet the specification
  • Firmware and software engineers who write code for the processors embedded within many electronic products
  • Integration engineers who assemble the complete chip and merge the hardware and software
  • Layout engineers who may be needed to complete the largely automated place-and-route process
  • Validation engineers who test the actual silicon in the context of the final system
  • Test engineers who ensure that the product is ready for production
  • Verification engineers who ensure that the product works as intended

Of course, the latter group is the most sensitive for me. I’ve worked in EDA verification for the last dozen years or so, and it just seems strange to me that we exhibit at the Design Automation Conference, Synopsys’ SNUG Designer Community Expo and Cadence’s CDNLive Designer Expo. For the most part, we don’t talk to designers at all, but rather to the many verification engineers at these events. At least DVCon (Design and Verification Conference) specifically includes us. In contrast, DesignCon really does focus on design and designers.

My issue can be easily resolved by simply replacing “design” with “development” and “designer” with “developer” in any context involving the complete process of electronic product development. The nice thing about this proposal is that not a single acronym needs to change. EDA remains EDA, DAC remains DAC, EDAC remains EDAC, and so on. Many logos and URLs will be likewise unchanged.

Mind you, I have nothing against designers. I started my career as a logic designer, drawing gate array schematics back in the stone age before logic synthesis was commercially available. But it takes more than designers to produce a killer electronic product. I’d like to see the industry evolve its naming to reflect reality. I’d love to hear your thoughts – please comment! Thanks.

Tom A.

The truth is out there … sometimes it’s in a blog.

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