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Posts Tagged ‘Design Automation Conference’

DVCon: The Imitation Game

Thursday, March 5th, 2015


What if I were to tell you that I attended a conference where people were really excited to be there, where the exhibit hall was filled with a crush of people making their way from booth to booth, talking with exhibitors and exchanging business cards madly. A conference where the South of the exhibit hall was dominated by Synopsys, the East by Cadence, and the West by Mentor, and where at the happiest hour, libations and snacks flowed freely in a sub-set of the booths and the whole exhibit hall became even more animated.

What if I told you the technical portion of the conference included a variety of content — touching at times on autos, wearables, the IoT, IP, standards, and verification — excellent panel discussions, well-attended poster sessions, detailed tutorials, and a keynote from the CEO of the largest company in the industry delivered to a packed, SRO ballroom full of designers, engineers, and engineering managers.

Finally, what if I told you the highly capable staff of MP Associates was running the whole thing with their usual aplomb, attending to details as diverse as registration, sound systems, lunch tickets, speaker logistics, and awards presentations.


SIGDA PhD Forum: a Perspective on the Future

Thursday, August 14th, 2014


SIGDA is ACM’s Special Interest Group on Design Automation. They do lots of great stuff including organizing workshops and conferences, distributing and maintaining tool benchmarks, supporting the ACM Transactions on Design Automation, and perhaps most importantly, encouraging graduate students to pursue productive careers in EDA by way of the University Booth and PhD Forum at DAC.

This year’s SIGDA PhD Forum was held Tuesday evening, June 3rd, in San Francisco at DAC. Basically a large poster session, Room 104 in Moscone Center was packed from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm with students, professors, and industry colleagues. It’s well-known that grad students come running whenever there’s free food, so given that a buffet dinner was part of the evening’s entertainment it’s not surprising there was a lively turnout for the event. However, grad students also love a good competition and the PhD Forum had that as well.


DAC 2014: Algorithms, Adjacencies, Animosities, World Peace

Thursday, June 5th, 2014


The June breezes were intense in San Francisco this week. The fog was swirling out at the Great Highway, and making itself known across town amidst the flags flying sharply over Moscone Center. The Electronic Design Automation and IP communities were out in force in and around South Hall, while thousands of edgy app developers were playing out their own dramas across the street and down the block in and around West Hall where Apple was holding court at the same time. Fourth and Howard was awash all week in hordes and gaggles of the people who are shaping the future of the world.

Algorithms – Perhaps as never before, algorithms were the number one topic at DAC this year, and in so many different shapes and sizes. Algorithms for high-level synthesis, algorithms for creating models, algorithms for translating physical data into guidelines for design, algorithms for translating assertions into verification metrics for more orderly validations, algorithms for encrypting and decoding, algorithms for compression and decompression, algorithms for converting approximate computational output into exactitude, algorithms for hearing, seeing, and even believing. In San Francisco this week at DAC, it was algorithms all the way down, everywhere you looked.

Adjacencies – The Design Automation Conference is all about ideas, and this year the principle idea was change. The Executive Committee re-shuffled the long-standing deck of cards that’s represented the most important topics at DAC over the last 50 years and came up instead with a whole new set of talking points.


Marie Pistilli: A conversation with DAC Co-founder

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014


Thanks to Nanette Collins, long-time EDA PR consul, we have a chance this week to catch up with Marie Pistilli. Marie co-founded DAC with her husband Pat in 1964.

Although Marie and Pat Pistilli have been fixtures at the conference they founded 51 years ago, they will not be in San Francisco this year. Pat’s recovering from surgery and the doctors have ordered him to stay home.

I can’t imagine not having the Pistilli’s at DAC, so I was very happy that Nanette was able to speak with Marie. They spoke by phone on May 19th.


Power & Beauty: Defining DAC in the 21st Century

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014


In the same week that glamorous images from the Met Gala in New York City and the White House Correspondents Dinner in Washington, D.C., remind us that power and beauty are closely linked, how appropriate to hear that CMU’s Dr. Diana Marculescu has been named the 2014 recipient of the Marie R. Pistilli Award by the DAC committee for Women in Electronic Design.

With a PhD in Computer Engineering, and over a decade of commendations from the NSF, ACM, IEEE, ASPDAC, ICCD, ISQED, and the Carnegie Institute of Technology, Dr. Marculescu is both powerful and beautiful. She is a marvelous role model for both young women and men who want to lead lives of great intellectual vigor that are also rich with aesthetics and joy.

Prof. Marculescu is a bright, engaging technology leader and educator, has served or is serving as graduate adviser to over 20 masters and doctoral students at CMU pursuing research into CAD tools for energy, variability and reliability-aware computing, and CAD for non-silicon systems, has published over 100 papers, garnering 3 Best Paper Awards along the way, is an expert in networks and adaptive distributed systems, and is as delightful an individual as you could ever hope to meet, the embodiment of grace and charm.


Auld Lang Syne: Forte Design moves on …

Thursday, February 6th, 2014


When it comes to talking about Forte Design, only one word comes to mind: Classy. There’s always been a consistency of messaging, spirit and optimism comprising the public face of Forte, and no small part of that has been the spirit and personable styling of the VP of Marketing & Sales, that ultimate ESL Evangelist, Brett Cline.

Late yesterday afternoon, when I saw in an email blast from Semiconductor Engineering that Forte had been sold to Cadence, I was astonished [oh no, not another company sucked into the EDA Consolidation Vortex !?!], so I shot an email off to Brett and asked if he could make time for a phone call. True to form, he called me at 6 pm California time, which was 9 pm in snowy Massachusetts where Brett lives and works.

For the next 20 minutes, I listened to what has become the new normal in EDA: A great, albeit smallish company was made a “very fair offer” and although it may not have been the exit I myself would have predicted some years ago for Forte, Brett said that selling the company to a large EDA player is, today, the right and true decision for good leadership of good smallish companies in the industry.

All that being said, I noted an undercurrent of wistfulness in Brett’s voice. He wanted me to know how very much Forte Design has been run like a family company, that he felt about his co-workers at Forte as if they were family, and the fact that not all of them will be moving over to Cadence with the acquisition was making him profoundly sad last night. Profoundly sad.

Nonetheless, Brett and his co-execs at Forte will be moving to Cadence and the opportunities there, per Brett, are marvelous. He admires Cadence and is glad, given that Forte was going to be sold, that Cadence is where they’re landing. He admires the corporate culture at Cadence, thinks the management there respects the skills and technology being acquired with Forte, and thinks that not only is it a win for Cadence, but it’s a total win for Forte’s legions of loyal customers around the world.


DAC: Look what the [cool] cats dragged in …

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013


Kid you not, it’s only five months and a week until DAC comes around again. How can that be? Weren’t we just in Austin yesterday? Well, there you go. That darned sun keeps rising and setting, rising and setting, and now we’re slipping into the New Year and racing from there straight on to DAC. In San Francisco.

Wow, San Francisco? You mean that place where a single helping of French Toast served up at your customer breakfast will cost you $43, before tax and gratuity? That place where if you need just one small additional spot to light up your booth, it’s going to cost you a cool five grand to get it installed? You mean that place where hip young techies spend their nights and weekends, but spend their work weeks 40 miles south where they grind away pushing the envelope, so your mobile device can be cooler and cheaper and more beautiful? You mean San Francisco which, more than a place on the map, is a state of mind? One that has nothing to do with the state of mind that shows up for DAC.

Here’s an idea. Let’s change that. Let’s fix that state of mind. Why can’t DAC be so cool that those young techies will call in sick and stay in town on the days when DAC’s at Moscone next year? Why can’t design automation be so compelling that the generation that’s usually riding their big private commuter buses an hour south to work will show up instead at Moscone on June 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, or 5th and beg to be let in, beg to be allowed to see what the future of hardware really is.


DAC 2013: Cowboys, Revolutionaries, The Art of War

Thursday, June 6th, 2013


One would think if DAC were to be located in Austin, it would be natural to connect the dots between the kind of folk who come to the conference and the cowboy of yesteryear – that iconic, laconic, sole warrior and minimalist who rides the open range with few possessions and even fewer words, but carries big ideals of freedom and individual liberties in his saddle bag, as well as a respect for hearth and home – although he’s rarely there – and the ability to defend the weak and helpless from organized power brokers who put the interests of the few above the needs of the many.

Nope, those aren’t the folks who come to DAC. Nope, the designers aren’t cowboys, and neither are the CAD managers, nor the CAD tool vendors, nor the IP vendors, nor the system houses, nor the fab guys, nor the PR folks or the press, and definitely not the academics. Nope, not cowboys.


DAC 2013: Top 10 on Day 3 in Austin

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013


The last day of the Exhibit Hall portion of DAC always arrives with a certain sensibility. Over the course of the 3 days, the place has become something between Our Town and a small college campus, and now with graduation it’s not clear when everyone will be together again. Yet the next phase of life beckons with all of its possibilities and trepidations, and people have to move on.

Happily this afternoon, as the 50th instantiation of DAC drew to a close in Austin, many residents of Our Town EDA could look forward to continuing the camaraderie at a first-ever DAC Banquet this evening at the nearby Four Seasons Hotel. Many of us were en route home by that time by plane, train or automobile and could not be there, but I hear tell it was a great evening. So my Top 10 on Day 3 in Austin starts with this late night report regarding the banquet thanks to ARM’s Tiffany Sparks, who was in attendance at the event.


DAC 2013: carpe diem with Ten in Texas

Thursday, May 16th, 2013


Let’s be honest. If you haven’t booked your flight and hotel yet for the Design Automation Conference in Austin in the first week of June, you’ve probably decided you’re not going. If that’s the case, more’s the pity because the sessions alone are going to be great, above and beyond the parties and networking, and will make the trip totally worthwhile. Here’s a sampling of the some of the topics that will be among the most compelling, with an acknowledgment that not everybody’s interests are the same.


S2C: FPGA Base prototyping- Download white paper

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