EDACafe Weekly Review December 18th, 2017

#55DAC 2: Teams tackle deep learning in DAC design contest
December 13, 2017  by Sharon Hu - General Chair DAC55 and a professor in dept of CS and Engineering at Univ of Nortre Dame, Indiana


When it comes to tackling leading-edge design challenges in fun ways, there’s no better place than DAC. For DAC 2018, we’ve created a System Design Contest targeting machine learning on embedded hardware.

If you think this is too leading edge for a design contest, you’d be mistaken: More than 100 teams registered for the contest. You can find a full list of the teams here: http://www.cse.cuhk.edu.hk/~byu/2018-DAC-HDC/teams.html

So how does the contest work:

Teams had the choice of using a Xilinx PynQ-Z1 FPGA-based development system or an NVIDIA Jetson TX2 development system, as well as software and deep-learning tools kits. Xilinx and NVIDIA donated boards to support the efforts.

Drone maker DJI donated a data-set that included more than 100 video clips with full annotation of the bounding box for the tracking object (a person or car).

The teams built either FPGA- or GPU-based systems to track people and vehicles from consumer drones using deep learning methods running on advanced embedded systems platforms. A hidden dataset is used to evaluate the performance of the designs in terms of accuracy and power consumption.

I can’t over-state the energy and generosity of the contest sponsors—NVIDIA, Xilinx, DJI, ACM/SIGDA and DAC— in this endeavor.  Thank you! It’s so rewarding to see industry and innovators come together to enable superb system design.

It’s been an honor to work with industry luminary Chris Rowen, and the University organizers Yiyu Shi at Notre Dame, Jingtong Hu at University of Pittsburgh and Bei Yu at the Chinese University of Hong Kong on this project.

The teams will be posting results at the end of each month, starting in late January, so you can follow their progress leading up to DAC.  Mark your calendars and follow the teams as they design to win cash awards sponsored by Nvidia and Xilinx.  Awards will be given to the top three teams in each category, and the top winners will be on hand in San Francisco at DAC to present their work.



Recently, we had the opportunity to interview Grant Imahara at the Arm TechCon 2017 Conference in Santa Clara, CA.

Grant is the celebrity engineer spokesperson for Mouser Electronics, the leading global New Product Introduction (NPI) distributor. Grant is an electrical engineer, roboticist, and television host. He is best known for his work on the television series MythBusters, where he designed and built numerous robots and specialized in operating the various computers and electronics that were utilized to objectively test myths. More recently, Grant has partnered with Mouser Electronics in launching its Empowering Innovation Together program, where he hosts webisodes and contributes blog posts and articles.

Grant visited our EDACafe exhibition booth at Arm TechCon for an interesting interview that covered many topics, including his relationship with Mouser Electronics.

Interview with Grant Imahara at Arm TechCon 2017


EDACafe: Can you discuss your relationship with Mouser Electronics and what you do with the company?

Grant I: I am Mouser’s celebrity engineer spokesman, which is kind of funny because generally speaking, engineers are not the rock stars and don’t often get the recognition we deserve for all the amazing things that we do. Mouser said, “Let’s take a person who is a known face from TV, who is also an engineer and make them our spokesperson.” So, here I am.

DownStream: Solutions for Post Processing PCB Designs

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