I don’t believe EDA has lost any of its own luster, so much as other industries have grown to outshine it. Through the 80’s and 90’s, EDA was a dynamic and rapidly growing field. The endless stream of improvements in design and fabrication techniques relentlessly drove development in EDA. The stunning cornucopia of products and technologies the world enjoys today are, in large measure, the product of the advancements in EDA technology.
Yes – that was a long time ago. But that doesn’t mean EDA has lost its relevance. Indeed, we find design challenges at every turn – shrinking semiconductor geometries, growing design complexities, greater demands in terms of power, noise, reliability – there appears to be no end in sight. The reality is that electronic systems of the future will not be realized without attendant advancements in the art and science of computer-aided design. Period.
You ask we jump up and scream just how vital EDA is to the development of electronics. I suspect your sentiment speaks to a frustration that pervades the EDA industry. Certainly it’s no fun to see all the fresh-faced grads drift towards the Googles and Facebooks of the world, or watch as people wield their shiny new toys – everything from smart phones, to satellite TVs, to pocket GPS systems – without ever really appreciating what it takes to make it all happen.
But screaming is not going to do it. It’s going to take an approach that is both more subtle, and more sophisticated (think: Steven Spielberg.) If the premier event in our industry – DAC – can’t shine a light on the connection between cool gadgets and cool tools, then perhaps we’ve got our heads stuck up our algorithms. Engineers live to solve problems; so now there’s a new one at hand. EDA has the brainpower to solve this one too. We just have to remember why we got into this in the first place, and bring that energy and excitement – and relevance – to the fore.