July 31, 2006
DAC 2006: As the world turns, the pendulum swings
Please note that contributed articles, blog entries, and comments posted on EDACafe.com are the views and opinion of the author and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of the management and staff of Internet Business Systems and its subsidiary web-sites.
8 - A journalist in the audience at the Hacks & Flacks session countering a comment from the acerbic EDA vendor on the panel: "Well, I do in fact feel that I'm an advocate for my readers, who are the engineers! I also feel I'm an advocate for the truth, but who defines what the truth is? Meanwhile, you make my job all the more difficult because you try to hide the truth!"
7 - Reynette Au's keynote on career development at the Workshop for Women in EDA. Here's a person who started with a degree in Computer Science, succeeded in technical groups in AT&T, and AMD, prevailed as Vice President of Marketing at ARM, as President & CEO at Triscend (which was sold to Xilinx), and is now Vice President of Business Licensing at NVidia. What part of she really knows how to pick winners - or be part of the making of winners - do you not understand? Her main points about career development? 1) Know what you really value, and don't forget it. 2) Know your strengths and play to them. 3) Never, ever discount your skills, but instead make them matter to the organization and everyone around you.
6 - IBM's Bill Joyner and the SRC. Bill Joyner and I chatted briefly over coffee in the hallway, and I promised I'd go visit the SRC website to fully understand the organization: "Based in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, SRC operates globally to provide competitive advantage to its member companies as the world's premier university research management consortium. SRC's focus is developing educated technical talent and delivering early research results Since it was established in 1982, [SRC] has funded more than $500 million in long-term semiconductor research contracts." Along with his role at IBM, and his credentials as past DAC Chair, Bill Joyner is also Director of the Computer Aided Design and Test group at SRC, serving as liaison between universities and companies doing work in CAD and Test. It was a delight to have him point out the wealth of opportunities available to young researchers interested in advanced work in the field.
5 - The CEDA Distinguished Speaker Reception. The event in Moscone Center late Monday afternoon just before dinner gave folks a chance to hear Mentor Graphic's Janus Rajski present the best paper from TCAD on behalf of all of the authors: Rajski, J. Tyszer, M. Kassab, and N. Mukherjee. The presentation was a comprehensive one covering many aspects of test, and will be available for further viewing as it was taped for archiving on the CEDA site. It was a delight to be in the audience, as the dignity of Dr. Rajski's presentation added to the calibre of the conference overall. It was particularly a treat, if you're interested in embedded test.
4 - Novas CEO Scott Sandler's spirited defense of the EDA industry during the Accellera breakfast, when he took the floor and said that it takes a heck of a long time, and a whole lot of resources, to implement things like SystemVerilog, and that it can't be done all at once. He said the users may have a right to complain about the speed of implementation, but they should understand that the EDA vendors are committed to working on it as fast as they can, and that it's particularly tough for small companies with limited resources to do it all.
3 - Richard Newton's telling of the early SPICE years at U.C. Berkeley when Don Pederson, et al, led the charge, innovating and implementing the algorithms and code. If you watched Newton, I think you saw for at least a minute of two that he was no longer sitting at the front of the room in a subterranean ballroom in the Marriott Hotel at 8 AM on DAC Tuesday in 2006. Instead, he was back in the lab at Berkeley, and it was the late 1970's, and he was engaged in SPICE research, involved with a lively, dynamic group of young researchers who all (appropriately) believed they were changing the world, and had his whole future ahead of him. If Newton's speech on Tuesday morning is what it means to look back to the past for inspiration for the future, let's have a whole lot more of that! Straightaway!
2 - Alex Orailoglu presenting work from Wenjing Rao and Ramesh Karri, "Topology Aware Mapping of Logic Functions onto Nanowire-based Crossbar Architectures." Orailoglu is an articulate, energetic academic from U.C. San Diego and although it would have been great to hear his student present the work, it was one of the outstanding moments in DAC week to hear Dr. Orailoglu present the work himself in the session on Nanotubes & Nanowires, with the style and panache that only comes from long hours of practice in front of a lecture hall. The thesis of the talk? "Highly regular, nanodevice-based architectures have been proposed to replace pure CMOS-based architectures in the emerging post-CMOS era. Since bottom-up self-assembly is used to build these architectures, regular nanowire crossbars are emerging as a promising candidate." I ask you, does it get any better than that - especially when you've got your early morning mocha in one hand, and the conference proceedings in the other hand to help navigate the topic as the speaker plunges through the slides.
1 - The interview with Alessandro Cremonesi, after he delivered the Thursday General Session keynote, addressing the challenges of convergence. A number of us stood adjacent to the stage as the bulk of the audience went on to their next stop of the afternoon, and we discussed at length how to prepare the students of today for the engineering and scientific opportunities of tomorrow. Should the current push to simultaneously educate students in computer science and electrical engineering be modified to include education in biochemistry and/or biophysics, as well, to guarantee the next generation fully embraces the concepts and emerging technologies of microfluidic biochips, labs on a chip, and everything BioX that lives at the intersection between these various disciplines? Cremonesi said he was one of those "strange" electrical engineers who did his PhD thesis 25 years ago on a topic that linked electrical engineering to biology, and was still very interested today, in his capacity as a senior executive at STMicroelectronics, in being able to hire like-minded researchers into the company. The group of academics and EDA leaders in this Thursday afternoon conversation were so engaged in the topic, I think we could have carried on for another hour or two, or even a day or two.
This, I thought, was the single, shining moment that illuminated why anyone comes to DAC. That moment when minds are racing, ideas are bandied about, and no concept is too wild or outside the box to be put out there, examined, and critiqued for its merits and demerits. This is the best of DAC - ideas, convergence, intellects, innovation, and innovators pushing the envelope and making that pendulum swing in a longer arc than has ever been seen before. I was, at that moment and continue to be, very grateful to Ellen Sentovich and the entire DAC committee for all of their efforts in bringing the conference together. They should be very proud of the incubator of ideas they successfully assembled for the 2006 Design Automation Conference in San Francisco.
Top 10 Reasons why you should be at DAC 2007 in San Diego
10 - To get the proceedings, the t-shirt, and the conference bag
9 - To see if new start-ups are finding yet more VC gold at the end of the rainbow
8 - To see if anyone is demonstrating how fish swim in a pond
7 - To see who's still swimming in the DFM pond, and if there are fewer big fish in a smaller pond, or additional smaller fish in a bigger pond
6 - To see if TSMC introduces Reference Flow 8.0 and which EDA vendors they'll be certifying on that flow
5 - To learn more about nanowires and microfluidic biochips
4 - To present at sessions and/or panels
3 - To meet and greet customers and competitors
You can find the full EDACafe event calendar here.
To read more news, click here.
-- Peggy Aycinena, EDACafe.com Contributing Editor.