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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.

2015 Kaufman Award: Dr. Walden C. Rhines

September 9th, 2015 by Peggy Aycinena

This week, the EDA Consortium and the IEEE Council on Electronic Design Automation announced Dr. Walden C. Rhines as recipient of the 2015 Phil Kaufman Award, the EDA industry’s highest commendation for contributions to the business and technology of tools for electronic design automation.

Per the Press Release: “Dr. Rhines is being recognized for growing the EDA and IC design industries through his efforts as a leading voice of EDA and for pioneering the evolution of IC design to SoCs design.”

EDAC Executive Director Robert Smith is quoted in the Press Release, acknowledging Rhines having serving as EDAC Board Chair five different times: “Dr. Rhines has helped drive EDAC to a position of leadership, creating a mechanism for the EDA industry to grow and address common issues. He has worked tirelessly to promote EDA as a key enabler, driving the growth of the worldwide semiconductor industry as well.”

Paul Cohen, Chair of EDAC’s Market Statistics Services, is also quoted, acknowledging Rhines’ energetic, quarterly efforts to publicize and explain – for the benefit of analysts and press alike – the ebb and flow of the EDA industry: “Dr. Rhines was involved from the beginning with the quarterly EDAC Market Statistics Services, [which is] based on detailed revenue numbers voluntarily reported in confidence by public and private EDA, semiconductor intellectual property and design service companies. Rhines remains a strong advocate of the program as it approaches its 20th year.”

CEDA President Sani Nassif is quoted, his comments acknowledging Rhines’ 20+ years of leadership of Mentor Graphics, and his earlier decades of contributions as a technology innovator and business leader at TI: “Dr. Rhines has been a stalwart supporter of the EDA industry, and presenting him with this year’s Kaufman Award is a tribute to his efforts. He has successfully [evolved from] his career as a researcher into an exceptionally effective business leader [in both semiconductors and EDA].”

Dr. Rhines has also served as a member of the Board of the Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC), as noted by Georges Gielen, Professor at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven: “As an SRC Board member, Dr. Rhines acted as the key communications link between the EDA industry and EDA users in the semiconductor and embedded systems industry. He also provided motivational insights for students, professors and researchers into how EDA is impacting and changing the world.”

The Kaufman Dinner in November …

Clearly, CEDA and EDAC have done well in choosing Dr. Rhines as the 2015 Phil Kaufman Award recipient. If you would like to be part of the celebration of Dr. Rhines’ lifetime of achievement, plan to attend the EDAC/CEDA dinner being given in his honor on Thursday, November 12th in San Jose.

You can register for the dinner here.

On a personal note …

Of course, no one is ever exactly as depicted in a Press Release outlining their merits and award-winning achievements; usually the story is over-sold. But in the case of Dr. Rhines, this week’s Press Release has seriously under-sold his accomplishments.

What the Press Release does not reflect is the incredible joi de vivre that Rhines brings to his work and the people around him. It also does not capture the huge impact Rhines has had on the thousands and thousands of people who have heard him speak at engineering conferences all over the world.

Rhines gives what can accurately be described as the most information-rich and thoroughly entertaining keynotes in the industry. He speaks with the authenticity of an engineer’s engineer, someone who does not speak down to his audience from the lofty heights of the executive suite, or in the disingenuous tones of someone who just wants to be one of the guys.

When Rhines is on stage, he is clearly, first and foremost an engineer even after all of these years serving in a leadership position. His enthusiasm for the engineering, technology, data, concepts and themes – both immediate and long-term – that serve as the basis for our great communal plunge into a world reinvented through electronics is astonishing.

It’s great news that Wally Rhines is receiving the 2015 Phil Kaufman Award.


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