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 Bridging the Frontier
Bob Smith, Executive Director
Bob Smith, Executive Director
Bob Smith is Executive Director of the ESD Alliance responsible for its management and operations. Previously, Bob was senior vice president of Marketing and Business Development at Uniquify, responsible for brand development, positioning, strategy and business development activities. Bob began his … More »

The ESD Alliance Goes to DAC

July 18th, 2017 by Bob Smith, Executive Director

Approximately 5,000 members of the electronic system design ecosystem were in full force in Austin, Texas, last month for the annual Design Automation Conference. The ESD Alliance as both a sponsor and exhibitor was there, of course, and Julie Rogers, Paul Cohen and I attempted to get to every booth and every presentation while Paul’s granddaughter Rachael staffed our booth. We had a chance to meet many new faces and catch up with long-time friends and associates. Our informal survey told us that exhibitors were pleased with the turnout in Austin, many of whom said they had loads of good conversations about tools and methodologies.

Michael (Mac) McNamara, DAC’s General chair, and the DAC Executive Committee should be commended for the keynote speakers who left every member of the audience enthused, inspired and jazzed. What could be better?

What indeed? The Pavilion on the DAC exhibit floor was a popular attraction. Of special note was the Sky Talk moderated by Ed Sperling of Semiconductor Engineering and featuring ARM’s CEO Simon Segars and Lucio Lanza, managing director of Lanza techVentures, both of whom are Alliance Board Members. Kudos to Simon for being awake and alert at 3 a.m. in Japan to participate remotely. All’s forgiven for he had good reason to be teleconferenced into DAC instead of being there in person –– he was named that week to the SoftBank board of directors and attended his first board meeting.

Ed also moderated informative Sky Talk sessions with other ESD Alliance board members Lip-Bu Tan from Cadence, Wally Rhines of Mentor, a Siemens Business, and Synopsys’ Aart de Gues.

Jim Hogan, who regularly serves as a moderator for Alliance panels, moderated a Pavilion panel on AI and convolution neural networks. One panelist was Raik Brinkmann of ESD Alliance member company OneSpin.

After a full day of technical talks and exploring new tools, evenings were a time to unwind. Jim hosted the wildly successful Heart of Technology party Monday evening to support the Gary Smith Memorial Scholarship Endowment at San Jose State University, co-hosted by the Alliance. At last count, the evening raised more than $60,000.

The ESD Alliance also was co-host of Silvaco’s Stars of IP and Verified organized by OneSpin. We managed to get around to a few other parties as well. Everyone was in great humor, talking, dancing, munching on snacks and no one complained about sore feet from standing all day!

All told, DAC was the place to be during the third week in June. It moves next year to the West Hall of San Francisco’s Moscone Center, a new location for us in Moscone, a week later than this year, June 24-28. We’ll see you there!

Here are a few of the many photos taken during DAC:

I’m standing in the ESD Alliance booth with (from left) Rachael Cohen, Julie Rogers and Paul Cohen.

Laurie Balch, chief analyst at Gary Smith EDA, gives an overview of EDA’s growth during the kick-off session Sunday evening.

Aart de Geus of Synopsys chats with Concertal’s Bob Ledzius during the Sunday evening reception.

Michael (Mac) McNamara, DAC’s general chair, addresses attendees.

Monday’s keynote speaker, the inimitable Joe Costello, CEO of Enlighted, enthralls attendees.

ARM’s Simon Segars was teleconferenced in from Japan for a discussion with Ed Sperling and Lucio Lanza of Lanza techVentures on connections between the digital world and physical world.

Jim Hogan (at left) leads a discussion on AI and neural networks with Raik Brinkmann of OneSpin, Chris Rowen at Cognite Ventures and Lomasoft’s James Gambale.

Verific’s Rick Carlson, Hoa Dinh and Michiel Ligthart (from left to right) celebrates World Giraffe Day at DAC. (To learn more about the gentle giants, go to

A shout out to OneSpin for bringing the Seattle coffee scene to DAC.

Jim Hogan (in orange shirt) and Randy Smith (on his right) on stage at the Heart of Technology event getting ready for their next number. A few videos of the evening can be found on the ESD Alliance website.

More photos can be found on the DAC and ESD Alliance Facebook pages.

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