Letters to the Editor: DAC et al

This week's EDA Weekly is comprised of a set of letters responding to several of my recent columns. The lion's share of the content discusses DAC, and the July 31st column on DAC 2006, but there are also a few letters here in response to the June 5th column, " Will Blog for Food."

I always enjoy hearing from people about the many issues that inform the industry, and hope you do as well. Please note that several of these letters have been edited for the sake of discretion.



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Letters re: " DAC 2006: As the world turns, the pendulum swings"

Letter No. 1 …

STMicrolectronics's keynote at DAC-06

Great point to Cremonesi's [keynote] from STMicrolectronics. His energy and vision made the keynote at DAC very effective and successful.

Robi



Letter No. 2 …

More Top-Ten's to Shake a Stick at

Some good journalism. Maybe a few too many excuses. I missed DAC this year, so I appreciated the article greatly. One thing missing was an analysis of the apparently declining attendance. Can (or should) this be reversed? Do we need big meetings, live, in the shadowy world of the living web?

I really don't think the heat wave was a concern to those meeting in air-conditioned meeting rooms, or travelling in air-conditioned trains. What did it add?

And, so far as the violence in the Middle East is concerned, why bother with it in a DAC opinion article? Unending war has been a way of life in those parts for centuries; it's described in the Bible back to about 1000 BC; so, why should it be considered newsworthy? The number of active participants so far has been less than this year's DAC attendance. Let them be. One side thinks it's still 800 BC; the other, 800 AD. They'll just continue to cancel to a big ZERO, peacewise, until they learn better. The concern expressed in the DAC article did nothing to help anyone and should be taken for granted as shared by any civilized person.

jwill



Letter No. 3 …

Peggy,

I disagree with one of your comments. Now is a great time for females who are interested in the IC/EDA industry. Semiconductor companies love to hire females. I've been on recruiting visits ... e.g., with Bill Joyner's SRC group ... and I see IC companies really favoring female engineers. (I tried to avoid other jargon ... like 'jump all over them'...) I agree with this approach.

I think the issue (which industry can also help with) is ensuring females are studying semiconductor & EDA areas at university as an undergraduate.

Again, for females who want to work in IC industry/EDA - now is a great time.

I'm a normal engineer ... not a recruiter or anything else.

Regards,

Phil Nigh



Letter No. 4 …

Peggy, as usual, gives us the whole gambit, a mixture of emotional frustration at the world in general through knowledgeable EDA stuff. I enjoyed reading it, finding it a bit Kafka-ish, surreal and real, as well as contradictory at times, with a lot of weary disappointment thrown in. The lack of women in the EDA field is a major irritant for her, but no suggestions for how to correct, if possible, provided.

I agree about the 'junk' consumer products, too many, and have often thought about what could replace them and profitably employ enough folk, and be profitable for investment, but nothing is obvious. ESL and SystemVerilog are still floundering, although the hype spewing forth assures us that's not the case. Keep plugging along, Peggy, and best wishes for better events.

trgregory



Letter No. 5 …

Peggy brings humanity to EDA

Once again Peggy tells us a human story from a technology conference. Thumbs up.

Ronald



Letter No. 6 …

Peggy,

I enjoyed your article especially because of its big-picture, philosophical tone - no apologies necessary on that. It gives one the sense of having been at DAC (which I wasn't - actually never have been) without getting overly immersed in it as many probably do.

I'm not familiar with your previous EDAcafe writings, but gather from the comments, that this is your style and I must say it's refreshing to find in what are usually dry technical digests. If your conference reporting is ever accused of being overly gossipy and/or personal - I'd say this one has just the right mix of that and decent reporting. [I find European journalists, in general, are good at this, usually making for an insightful read. Cooley, too, but he's often too vitriolic and out of proportion for such an esoteric, relatively inconsequential field as EDA.]

Sorry about the shortage of women engineers in attendance, but keep in mind lots of people can't go to DAC for one reason or another. Also, my compliments for keeping the real world's crises in perspective amidst the conference's glitzy distractions. I can imagine it was informative to get some non-US engineers' POV on current events, but I don't envy you the heated email you'll probably get from some U.S. quarters.

… Here's my own Top Ten (Minus Three) list of questions, comments and general curiosities:

* Liked your observation on speakers' language barriers - not common for this to be pointed out as "inspiring"; more often [comments about language barriers are] derogatory. But a linguist would be very inspired, I think.

* Also agree with your observation on the back and forth nature of EDA trends. Been there, done that (and un-did and re-did and worried over and ignored). In practice, the industry acts a little like a dog that can't decide whether to run, scratch or chase it's tail (see DFM point below).

* If Cadence pulls out of DAC, that reflects poorly on Cadence, not DAC. I could be guessing wrong about which 'anchor tenant', but it would give a bad image to any EDA company that did this.

* You correctly recognize that A/MS design is tough but I'm curious to know what aspect, specifically, you'd say is the most essential but elusive for EDA to solve? Does it reside more in the front-end design stage (models, sims) or the backend (e.g. my own interest - analog layout synthesis)? Any idea how it's being effectively addressed in EDA? … I don't have any ax to grind - just wondering what the consensus might be.

* You say: "Incompatible database configurations - with apologies to OpenAccess." I don't know what you mean WRT OpenAccess. Do you mean it's the one bright spot or that, with all good intentions, it's as bad as any alternative?

* Re: DFM: I am also a design-side DFM skeptic. Seems like with all the EDA resources being thrown at it, there's a big risk that lithography (& etc.) strides could very well make it all folly. And you make the excellent point that it's disruptive to design engineers. It's a reality which must be modeled on one side and solved at the other, but not by designers, who must be freed to think in the abstract (as much as possible) if shorter design cycles are to be achieved. In my view, take the "design" out of DFM; it should just be "manufacturing". EDA vendors want to solve and sell a tool to overwhelmed designers when the problem is really down-chain.

* What did Costello talk about? Seems like the fishing/fish equation is a little hackneyed to get so excited about. Must've been his delivery; he has a reputation for that. But what's he up to these days?

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