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Peggy Aycinena
Peggy Aycinena
Peggy Aycinena is a freelance journalist and Editor of EDA Confidential at She can be reached at peggy at aycinena dot com.

DAC 2013: Top 10 from Day 1 in Austin

June 3rd, 2013 by Peggy Aycinena

The Design Automation Conference is mostly about People who need People, so my Top Ten list from Day 1 in Austin here at the 50th DAC is about just that: The Luckiest People in the World.

No. 10)
Rushing up to Room 18 on Level 4 of the Austin Convention Center to attend the DFM&Y Workshop at 9 am, only to find that I couldn’t get in because I hadn’t paid. Why is this disappointment on the list of favorites?

Because on my way back down to Level 1, I ran into Jill Jacbos who’s been working overtime here in Austin on behalf of Accellera Systems Initiative (Stan Krolikoski received the 2013 Leadership Award at the 7 am breakfast today), the North American SystemC Users Group Meeting (taking place all day today on Level 3), and Jim Hogans’ Hot Zone Party tonight at Austin City Limit’s Moody Theater.

Jim’s efforts, and those of the folks helping him, are all to raise money for his Heart of Technology charity, which is donating funds raised in Austin to CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) of Travis County, Texas. If you want to donate, you can do so at Jim’s website.

Meeting the folks of DXCorr Design, VP Dave Sinofsky, CTO Sagar Reddy, and CEO Nirmalya Ghosh. These guys have been in business since 2005, and hail from Virage Logic and Artisan. They’re making physical IP and although they have customers, they’re not yet ready to name names. Why are they on the list for today’s Top 10 favorites? Because the ‘dx’ in their name denotes ‘differentiation’, which is a cool way to remind customers that their cores are different from the competition. Also, I hadn’t heard of them before today, so why not celebrate coming to DAC and learning something new?

Sonia Harrison’s ‘margarita’ martinis at the Mentor Dinner at Austin City Limits. It’s got salt on the rim and looks kinda like a margarita, but it’s served in a martini glass and has got the punch to prove it. And that little green thing floating in there? Watch out, it’s not a slice of olive. It’s a slice of jalapeno. The closer you get to the bottom of the drink, the hotter it gets!

The opening of the first-time-ever Global Forum at DAC, a huge pavilion that’s more like a gathering of nations, a UN of sorts of technology-related geographies. There are over 30 countries exhibiting, with each country represented by a tall table, a monitor, a chair, a spokesperson standing by to answer questions [although a few Western European countries were no shows], and a flag overhead to signpost each participating country.

The whole thing is arranged in several concentric circles in a large corner of the Exhibition Hall, and opened officially at 5 pm this afternoon with a (corny) ribbon cutting – the honors and oversized scissors going to the mayor of Austin, Lee Leffingwell. Not sure Mayor Leffingwell has ever been to Abu Dhabi, but he’s certainly now seen the results of their corporate largesse: The Global Forum at DAC 2013 is being sponsored by GlobalFoundries/ATIC.

You really need to check it out. Folks from Synopsys have also been super involved pulling the thing together, with their efforts at promoting international accord through DAC either endearingly naive, or endearingly idealisitic, or both. But still, you should go see it. You may even experience the thrills and chills, albeit momentary, of true Culture Shock, right here in downtown Austin.

My hour-long interview on the DAC Pavilion stage with Dr. Chenming Hu, the 2013 Phil Kaufman Award recipient. Although I spoke by phone with Prof. Hu several weeks ago regarding various topics for this inteview, he was a very good sport when I inserted a few unexpected questions into the mix today.

And even more interesting, Prof. Hu offered an enthusiastic endorsement for ‘remote’ learning, what he said is being termed these days “Teaching to the Masses” or TTM. Prof. Hu said it’s possible that students don’t learn just as much from online/computer-based learning, they may even learn more, and learn it all more effectively. Wow, coming from an academic that seems pretty open-minded, making an argument that might make his own profession obsolete.

I also asked Prof. Hu if the re-tooling required for full implementation of finFET might be prohibitively expensive, but he was adamant that this would not be the case. “It’s too late,” he said. “The finFET is here and it will not be stopped.”

Wally Rhines’ 8.5 minute Visionary Talk this morning at 10 am celebrating the past, present and future opportunities in EDA. I actually thought it lasted 12 minutes, but he assured me later that it was only 8 and a half. Either way, it was one of the most energized ‘keynotes’ I’ve ever heard, celebrating the past, present, and future of EDA – an industry, which according to Wally continues to offer both excellent technical challenges and compelling business opportunities. My tweet at the time … #50DAC “Dynamo” Rhines rocks main stage .. Wally+ Slides + Data + Focus + Enthusiasm = ToastMaster Master = Fantastic Visionary Keynote.

Marie and Pat Pistilli on the DAC Pavilion Stage from 3:00 to 3:20, reminiscing about their efforts to get DAC started, and specifically to promote under-represented populations at DAC and EDA in general. The Pistilli’s have been extraordinary mentors to this entire industry, and continue in that role through their ongoing sponsorship of scholarships and awards, their warmth and irreplaceable humanity. And it was especially moving to see Pat and Marie this afternoon, because they were invited by Nanette Collins to share the stage with her, to be interviewed in tandem along with Nanette by Ann Steffora Mutschler.

Nanette Collins on stage in the DAC Pavilion as the 2013 recipient of the Marie R. Pistilli Women in EDA Award. Rarely has anyone been more deserving. After the award was presented by DAC General Chair Yervant Zorian, Nanette spoke for several minutes from the podium, prior to her interview by Ann Mutschler [see No.4 above]. Nanette talked about her education, how her initial professional goal, a career in newspaper journalism, evolved instead into a career in PR, focused in particular on the EDA industry thanks to her early involvement with View Logic in the Boston area.

But it wasn’t the facts of her story which were notable, it was the emotion in her voice. Never has an MRP Award recipient been someone other than a technical contributor to the industry, and Nanette acknowledged that from the outset. How marvelous, she said, that this year’s award reflects a recognition by EDA at last of the many women who contribute, but do not come to their work from a technical background.

Nanette also noted that her mother always insisted: You can be whatever you want to be! Those 8 words, Nanette said, have been the bedrock of her career aspirations. For those of us who were in the audience and know Nanette, clearly those 8 words have also been the bedrock of the generous and dignified presence that Nanette has brought to the PR community, a group of people who have helped support, promote, and make possible this now $6+ billion industry.

My tour of Italy with Prof. Daniela De Venuto from DEI Politecnico di Bari, tasked with staffing Italy’s table in the DAC Global Forum. I spent an absolutely fabulous 15 minutes seeing the results of her efforts, a beautiful PowerPoint presentation that you should not miss! Through it, you will see how the technologist of Italy celebrate the country’s unparalleled success in the arts and design, while also envisioning a future that includes increased contributions in science and engineering. And if you visit with Dr. Venuto after 5 pm, you can enjoy a tour of Italy complete with a glass of red wine. The only way to go!

Asleep at the Wheel. Ohmygosh, the best entertainment that’s ever graced the stage at a DAC party!

Now it’s true, to enjoy tonight’s performance, you would have to love Western, Country, Blues, Jazz, and Rock&Roll – in other words, the full range of the music that defines This Land. But really, what’s not to love in all of that? Asleep at the Wheel tonight on stage at Moody Theater was completely, totally perfect. Thanks a million to all of the corporate sponsors who made the party possible.

And to those people who are still at the party, even at this hour? Good luck getting up tomorrow morning in time to be at those (nasty) 7:15 am breakfasts!


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5 Responses to “DAC 2013: Top 10 from Day 1 in Austin”

  1. Gary Dare (@GaryDare) says:

    Peggy, thank you for your coverage! Some of us (like at Space Codesign) are occupied in the Exhibition so we have to experience the rest of DAC indirectly … so close, and yet so far! I’m not the only one who appreciates being kept in the loop. Hope to see you around the ACC!

  2. Mouli Chandramouli says:

    Peggy, thank you for the nice write up about DXCorr Design Inc. I am the Marketing Director and I couldn’t make it to the meeting. However, we were happy that you could come and talk to us and energise us on our road to success. We will see you at the next DAc or earlier if there is a chance to meet you at other venues.


  3. Phil L says:

    Is there any possibility that the Wally Rhines Visionary Talk is on-line someplace, for those of us who can’t be there?

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