Buzz@DAC & Kuhl@CAL

Located just a few steps from the U.C. Berkeley School of Engineering undoubtedly reinforces that outlook. Kuhlmann agrees, but adds a caveat: “Sometimes we do have visiting academics from Cal or other universities, but they are only visitors because if they stay longer we need to make our arrangements with them very clear – who owns the research work, and so on. We have a lot of trust between all of us, but for legal reasons we always need to maintain a clear framework under all circumstances about the intellectual property.”

“Of course, we also fund a lot of external research from here, as well,” he says. “Things like individual grants to a grad student or a particular program at a university.”

And how does a company know it’s getting its money’s worth when they provide that kind of funding?

Kuhlmann answers candidly, “There are certain types of research that can only be done by a few people in the world. The work’s so difficult, only a few people are smart enough to do it. The algorithms are very advanced and extremely challenging intellectually. We try to slice the problems in a way that makes the algorithms more manageable, but the classes of complexity are very difficult.

“Ultimately, all engineering is about math, so thinking in a mathematical way is critical. People who don’t have a strong math background don’t succeed in any kind of engineering, and certainly can’t do this work.

“In the end,” Kuhlmann notes, “I believe being a good engineer is in your genes. You’re either born with it or you’re not. I was lucky growing up – I had a place in the basement at home where [I could tinker with things.] My parents never fully understood what I was doing down there, but [they were always supportive]. I was a total nerd, self-trained in electronics, but also a little arrogant.

“One day, the physics teacher yelled at me: ‘Don’t think you know everything!’”

Kuhlmann said that experience was a good one for him, and caused him to apply himself with greater intensity to his studies. The physics teacher wasn’t completely accurate in Kuhlmann’s own evaluation of his intellectual abilities, however.

“I was very dumb in languages!” he says with a laugh.

Yeah, a very Kuhl Kat …



First, a word from the General Chair …

* This year, DAC attendees will see many new developments at the conference – many more than I can cover here. One example is the new DAC Exhibitor Forum, which will provide convenient summary presentations by exhibitors. Attendees will also be able to vote in the inaugural Best of DAC awards, which will recognize exhibitors with awards in several categories, including Best New Product and Best Booth Giveaway. See you all in Anaheim!

Limor Fix
45th DAC Chair
Associate Lab Director
Intel Research Pittsburgh

Next, a brief look ahead …

* IEDM 2008 will be happening in San Francisco in December, with two Short Courses preceding the conference on Sunday, December 14th. The committee for the IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting has issued a call for papers with the deadline for receipt of abstracts being June 27, 2008.

Gary Dagastine
co-PR Director
IEDM 2008

* DATE 09 will be happening next April in Nice. The five-day event will consist of a conference with invited plenary papers, regular papers, panels, hot-topic sessions, tutorials, workshops, two Special Focus days and an Executive Track. The main areas of interest at DATE 09 will be: embedded systems, design methodologies, CAD languages, algorithms and tools, testing of electronic circuits and systems, embedded software, applications design, and industrial design experiences. Please note that all papers have to be submitted electronically before September 7, 2008.

Luca Benini
University of Bologna
General Chair

Then, news that several previous DAC exhibitors may go missing in 2008 …

* Mentor Graphics has acquired the assets of Ponte Solutions. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed, but we do know Joe Sawicki, VP and GM for the Design-to-Silicon division is pleased: “We are pleased to have the Ponte team joining Mentor Graphics’ design-to-silicon business unit where they will contribute to future generations of Mentor solutions,” Alex Alexanian, President and CEO at Ponte, says it makes sense: “While Ponte was providing a solution for today’s requirements, it makes complete sense for Ponte to align with Mentor Graphics to deliver complete DFM technology on the market-leading Calibre platform going forward.”

* Synopsys has completed its acquisition of Synplicity. The terms of this event were disclosed; $8 cash per share, with a gross transaction of approximately $223 million. As a result of the acquisition, Synopsys has now formed a Synplicity Business Group with Synplicity President & CEO Gary Meyers as its GM. Synplicity Co-Founder & CTO Ken McElvain has also joined the group, “to help architect Synopsys' system-level solutions.”

* A tip from an anonymous source: “If you look at the DAC Exhibitor List, you will notice the obvious – Novas is not listed and has been replaced by Springsoft. Not so obvious is that also missing from the Exhibitor List this year are Fortelink and Silicon Canvas, who both exhibited last year and were doing decent-to-good sales, respectively.

“Guess where those companies are going to be this year. Yes, also all in the Springsoft booth. They are also acquisitions that I understand are currently in the process of closing, or have maybe even already closed, since they were a little lower profile than Novas. Both of these companies were tied to Springsoft from the early days, which certainly makes Springsoft a significant player and clearly now in the ‘Big Five’ of EDA.

“My guess is that Springsoft will now easily be at the $100+ million level, but since there is only moderately good info on two of the four companies here, it’s not possible to nail the number down more specifically. However, it might be closer to the $120 million range. Then again, the total EDA market numbers are always confusing, since adding in revenues from new companies reporting is not really growth. Meanwhile, the Big Three in EDA still seem to be doing creative deals to make it look like there’s short-term growth in the industry, but at expense of future growth. They just don’t get it, do they!”

Some exhibitors may missing, but at least 25 new exhibitors are taking their place …

* The 45th Design Automation Conference will feature 25 organizations exhibiting at this year’s conference for the first time. The new exhibitors run the gamut from IP providers and packaging technologies, to industry organizations and service providers. Limor Fix, DAC 2008 General Chair, is excited: “These first-time DAC exhibitors are a fresh addition to this year’s already extensive exhibitor list. Their diversity exemplifies the exciting developments happening in the industry, as well as the value of exhibiting at this important venue.”

Meanwhile, DAC invites abound from your favorite standards bodies (some with food!) …

* The IEEE Council on Electronic Design Automation ( CEDA ) will host a lunch for Dr. Robert Brayton, winner of the Phil Kaufman Award for Distinguished Contributions to EDA. Honoring the Cadence Distinguished Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from U.C. Berkeley, the lunch will be held June 10th at noon in Room #303AB. Seating is limited.

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