June 04, 2007
DAC's Dynamic Duo: Marie & Pat Pistilli
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Peggy Aycinena - Contributing Editor


by Peggy Aycinena - Contributing Editor
Posted anew every four weeks or so, the EDA WEEKLY delivers to its readers information concerning the latest happenings in the EDA industry, covering vendors, products, finances and new developments. Frequently, feature articles on selected public or private EDA companies are presented. Brought to you by EDACafe.com. If we miss a story or subject that you feel deserves to be included, or you just want to suggest a future topic, please contact us! Questions? Feedback? Click here. Thank you!

This year in San Diego there will be 248 exhibitors [including 40 first-time exhibitors] occupying 150,000 square feet of show floor, and we will have about 10,000 people. There’s no question that DAC has benefited from Marie and Pat’s stable, consistent nurturing over the years. That’s what got the conference going in the first place, and that’s what got it to where it is today.

And, Marie and Pat are still completely dedicated to being sure that DAC still fulfills its role in the industry!

Kevin Lepine – I met Pat and Marie in 1980. I remember going down into his basement at the time – this was when he was still a volunteer running DAC. He was excited because he had a laptop-type of database of everybody who was registered to attend.

Pat was still at Bell Labs at the time. He left Bell Labs in 1984, and said he was going to run DAC as a part-time job, 6 months out of the year. But the ICCAD Executive Committee snagged Marie and Pat, and got them to manage ICCAD. That filled up the part of the year not spent on DAC. Then there was CFI – the CAD Framework Initiate – which was like a standards organization that developed into Si2. That also took up their time.

But, DAC was always Pat and Marie’s baby. Even when we got married, we had to work the wedding around the DAC schedule. [

Editor’s note: Kevin Lepine is Pat and Marie’s son-in-law.] We got married in February, which was pretty close to one of the DAC Executive Committee meetings. I was in the Air force at the time, and we had to work the wedding in between my training schedule and the DAC EC meeting. [Kevin chuckled.]

Pat started the Design Automation Conference in 1963. It was a technical conference that started as a workshop, with 50 people in Atlantic City. They grew the conference until the 1980s – there were three or four thousand people attending at that point, all technical – when the industry finally started to develop along with the show, and Marie and Pat opened MP Associates.

Actually, Pat wasn’t ready to retire from Bell Labs in 1984. He was pretty young and he loved his work there. But, Marie saw the opportunity and convinced him to get the company started, that it could really be great. Once they got started, they became confident the business would grow. They knew they weren’t going to compromise on quality, and they knew they could be successful.

I started working for MP Associates when I got out of the military in 1990, and worked for the company for 10 years straight before Marie and Pat retired in June 2000. I always kid them and say they had great timing, that they knew when to get out. With all the passion and energy they brought to DAC, the whole industry felt the loss when they left and immediately the industry went into decline. [Again, Kevin chuckled.]

Pat was really involved with the technical part of DAC. He was part of the program committee from Day 1 of the conference in 1963, and really had his hands on all of that. The technology was in his field, and he was very involved mentoring people. Plus, he was really good at getting people onto the program committee who could help distinguish DAC.

He was always very passionate about DAC being the very best it could be. He always wanted the conference to lead the industry, while also making sure it was catering to the commercial side of the industry as well. That’s why the Methods Track was introduced into the program. Historically, DAC had been about the algorithms, but Pat worked with Tom Pennino to make the conference more interesting to designers as well.

Marie and Pat have always been committed to keeping DAC technical and very professional, and they always came at it that way. Marie was really good on the exhibit side, helping the little exhibitors to develop and good at instilling respect for those companies. She always said you have to work with these little guys, because you never know when they’ll become the big guys.

In particular, what we learned from Marie and Pat is that we have to continue to make sure that the DAC EC has the right people involved, to make sure that we’re always pushing the envelope, and that the technical program has a whole array of papers from academia and industry. Of course, that’s in the hands of the Technical Program Committee, and they are always able to come up with the best people to be on that committee. What’s neat about this industry is that everybody goes out and twists the arms of good people to become involved. And, we rarely take “No” for an answer.

At MP Associates, we all have so much respect for Pat and Marie. It’s such a huge accomplishment to have developed this conference – all of their passion and energy have kept us going. We have pride in the company that Marie and Pat created, and it continues to be like a family. As a result, we’ve been able to recruit and keep really great people. This is such a great industry, and it’s always changing. It gives us a chance to challenge our employees, and to always be trying new things.

We also feel it’s an honor to be able to work with the people in the EDA industry. They are definitely the smartest people in the world!

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Editor’s Note: Lee Wood and Kevin Lepine say Marie and Pat never slow down, that friends and family continue to be their real passion. The Pistilli’s have 5 grandchildren, ranging in age from 8 to 17, and between attending school shows, sporting events, and graduations, Marie and Pat are kept very busy these days with their family.

Nonetheless, Marie and Pat will be at DAC. They haven’t missed a conference in 44 years – they know so many people! Marie loves the Women’s Workshop, and you’ll see Pat in the Registration Booth area. When you see the Pistilli’s in San Diego, be sure to say hello. And, be sure to say thanks!

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News leading up to DAC …

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News and pop quiz re: companies who are shaping the future of EDA …

TSMC announced its Active Accuracy Assurance initiative, per the Press Release, “a comprehensive design-based program that will achieve new levels of accuracy for TSMC’s advanced process technologies. The initiative provides an on-going evolution of accuracy standards for all stages of the design and manufacturing value chain. The new set of standards are developed through careful characterization, validation and co-optimization of critical sub-circuit building blocks that are closely coupled with TSMC’s process technology."

“TSMC design ecosystem partners who comply with these standards can provide assurance to designers that they can optimize their designs by reducing guard banding and avoiding overdesign. Designers working with EDA tools compliant with the initiative increase their prospects for first-time silicon success with lower costs and quicker time to market. TSMC’s Active Accuracy Assurance initiative was started by data-mining TSMC’s own vast accumulation of manufacturing data. TSMC shares the key results from this data bank with EDA vendors and other ecosystem partners, who can then develop their own methodology in compliance with accuracy assurance standards. IP and library

partners can use this data to enhance their IP performance, shorten their IP development cycle and deliver higher quality products to meet accuracy assurance standards. Design service partners in the same way can ensure that their service output complies with standards that eventually will deliver consistent quality benefits to customers.”

TSMC also announced Reference Flow 8.0, which the company says “supports TSMC’s 45-nanometer process technology with advanced standard cell, standard I/O, and an SRAM compiler. Key features [include] statistical timing analysis for intra-die variation, automated DFM hot-spot fixing, and new dynamic low-power design methodologies. Reference Flow 8.0 not only supports TSMC’s advanced process technologies … but also provides mature, proven design flows for mainstream technologies from 0.13-micron to .25-micron. Reference Flow 8.0 supports TSMC’s Active Accuracy Assurance initiative, which defines standards of accuracy for all partners in TSMC’s design ecosystem, as well as for TSMC itself. Reference Flow 8.0 focuses on ease of use, providing a reference of qualified design building blocks that give designers a proven path from specification to tape out.



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-- Peggy Aycinena, EDACafe.com Contributing Editor.


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