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 What Would Joe Do?
Peggy Aycinena
Peggy Aycinena
Peggy Aycinena is a freelance journalist and Editor of EDA Confidential at www.aycinena.com. She can be reached at peggy at aycinena dot com.

DATE: Design, Automation, Test & Embedded

 
March 3rd, 2012 by Peggy Aycinena

The premier EDA conference in Europe – many say, in the world – will be in Dresden this year, starting March 12th. There’s a certain something about DATE, a unique quality and consistent energy that runs throughout this conference that really sets it apart, whether in Nice, Munich, Grenoble, or Dresden.

Now in its 15th edition, Design, Automation & Test in Europe seems to get better with each passing year – more refined, focused, and confident, and more unabashedly academic, while still offering a rich experience for exhibitors wanting to showcase their latest and greatest.

With 55+ exhibitors this year, over 200 papers selected from almost a thousand submissions for the 2012 conference, 77 different technical sessions, keynotes from Bosch Automotive Electronics Division President Klaus Meder, and GlobalFoundries Senior Vice President for Design Enablement Mojy Chian, a host of tutorials, panel discussions, and workshops, a Sigda-sponsored PhD forum, and the annual EDAA Lifetime Achievement Award presentation – this year going to UC Berkeley’s own Prof. Alberto Sangiovanni-Vincentelli – DATE is on tap to deliver another terrific week-long event.

University of Tübingen Dean of Science Prof. Wolfgang Rosenstiel is General Chair for DATE 2012. Not surprisingly, when we spoke by phone on March 2nd, he was extremely enthused about the Dresden event. I asked him how the conference has evolved over the years.

Dr. Rosenstiel said, “DATE started in 1998 as the merger of two other European conferences, EURO-DAC and ED&T. Since then, DATE has taken place every year, mainly between France and Germany.

“What has changed over the years? While we have kept the central theme of design, automation, and test in Europe, from there we have widened the focus in two directions.

“The applications of microelectronics have come more clearly into focus at DATE, with special tracks which continue to grow, and there has been an increasing emphasis on embedded systems.

“Clearly, we have grown into the area of applications, and on the other side, have grown into issues of the software [associated] with embedded systems, attracting more and more people each year. We believe, in fact, that DAC has introduced an embedded software track based on our example.

“Of course, in Europe, the system-level aspects of design have always been more in focus. Europe has always had more of a systems industry than in the U.S., where the [concentration has been] on computation, computers, and communication.

“In addition, Europe has [traditionally] done more in the areas of industrial automation, automotive, and medical electronics – embedded systems where you are controlling a larger system.

“[Meanwhile], we have not forgotten about primary electronics. This year at DATE, we will talk about what comes after CMOS – memristers, biochips, and developments around More than Moore. We will also talk about the various chip fabrication issues related to these future technologies.

“All of these considerations is why we now choose to see DATE in this way: The D is, of course, for Design methods, tools, algorithms and languages. The A can now be interpreted as Applications. T is still for Test, which it is has always been. However, now the E is for Embedded Systems.

“Therefore, DATE is now Design, Applications, Test, & Embedded Systems.”

I asked Dr. Rosenstiel how one might differentiate then between DATE, DAC, and Embedded World, a very large show happening each year in Nuremberg.

He said, “At DAC and Embedded World, the focus is on the exhibition. At DATE, we are research-oriented and looking to the future, so the exhibition is only as important as the conference, not more so. This is why we outdraw all other conferences for paper submissions. DATE is seen as the Number 1 conference for academia.

“Nonetheless, our keynote speakers are from industry, and we very much welcome our exhibitors! With an important Exhibition Theater program and a big University Booth, we offer the opportunity to many companies to demonstrate their results.”

Before we closed our conversation, I asked Dr. Rosenstiel about his own research, and which sessions in Dresden he will make a special effort to attend.

He said, “We are developing design tools – simulators, synthesis tools, and verification tools – that [function] at the borderline between hardware and software, areas that are especially useful in automotive systems. My work can best be summarized as research into the design and verification of embedded systems, which of course fits very well with DATE.”

Prof. Rosenstiel then chuckled and said, “I will attend many sessions at DATE – several each day, as I am able – but I cannot select one as being the most important.

“When you agree to be General Chair of DATE, it is a 3-year commitment: one year as Vice Chair, one year as General Chair, and then one year as Past Chair, where you still have some duties.

“So, as you can see, you will have to ask me the year after next which session or sessions I think are the most interesting. Until then, I would hesitate to indicate my favorites!”

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