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 What Would Joe Do?
Peggy Aycinena
Peggy Aycinena
Peggy Aycinena is a freelance journalist and Editor of EDA Confidential at She can be reached at peggy at aycinena dot com.

#52DAC Day Zero: Ten Astonishing Bits

June 7th, 2015 by Peggy Aycinena

Omygosh, DAC’s here again! Has it already been a year? Apparently yes, and apparently once again the Design Automation Conference is going to be great. And how does one know? Because once again the DAC Executive Committee is great, lead in 2015 by the more-than-capable Anne Cirkel (Mentor’s own). Everything from academia to industry, from networking to hard-core learning (read, ‘Nerd Alert!)’, from food and libation to product announcements: DAC is always special.

So today is Sunday, which in the world of DAC is a lovely day full of workshops for those interested in the newest, and social opportunities for those interested in the noshing and nattering. Sunday is also lovely, because it’s a moment for astonishing realizations, and this year’s 52nd DAC Sunday is no different. Here are my 10 favs:

10 — Per Stanford’s Philip Wong speaking in Workshop 2, carbon nanotubes are smooth which helps with mobility-restricting surface roughness and band-gap issues. Also CNTs are no longer “a bowl of spaghetti” when manufactured. Now they’re 99% orderly and courteously aligned. (read, ‘Is asking about the other 1% a legitimate question?’)

9 — EDA’s own Karen Bartleson of SNPS fame, has not only just completed 2 years of distinguished service as President of IEEE’s worldwide Standards Organization, she’s now been nominated to serve as President of the Whole Enchilada; Bartleson’s running for President of the IEEE itself. In a word, Wow!

8 — Design Automation Summer School, for those who have not been keeping up (read, ‘me’), is no longer a week-long confab in July. These days Summer School is a one-day event on DAC Sunday. Still highly attended and full of pithy content for The Young & The Restless in EDA.

7 — Tufts’ Soha Hassoun and Synopsys’ Patrick Groeneveld, both past DAC General Chairs, continue to be gifts to the industry who keep on giving. They’re overseeing the upcoming dinner Wednesday night for Women in DA. Kudos all around.

6 — It was the wine speaking tonight when rumor spread thru the posh bar/eatery in the Four Seasons Hotel overlooking Market Street that Harvest Management Partners had bought Fiat Chrysler Automotive, who had bought Intel, who had bought Mentor Graphics, who had bought Ansys. The rumor was further fortified when Harvest’s Alain Labat (formerly of VAST fame) stepped to the mic to welcome all to the festivities.

Disappointingly, however, the rumor was nonsense. The sponsoring orgs — Harvest, Intel, FCA, MENT, and Ansys — were jointly hosting the ‘Car Talk’ event because they share a special passion, which they spent an hour evangelizing to a standing-room-only crowd (read, ‘Great food, no chairs!’).

Seamless system-level tools, methodologies, outlooks, and collaborations are the only way to develop futuristic automotive systems — everything from drive trains, to electric harnesses, to info-tainment, to battery load balancing, to luxurious user experiences akin to spending time
in Buddhist retreats. Om…

(Don’t believe me? Ask Mentor’s Wally Rhines, Intel’s Elliot Garbus, and especially FCA’s Klauss Bosse re: the om bit.)

5 — Per Wally Rhines, his org has finally established a business unit called Mentor Automotive. Not a total surprise, but a total nod to a reality that Mentor’s embraced for 20+ years — Automotive Systems are the ultimate Killer App. And btw, Mentor Automotive produced 20% of the overall company’s revenue last year and is growing at a clip 2-3x faster than all other technology sectors in Wilsonville.

Also by the way, even though I attended edaForum in Dresden way back December 2008 and found it to be completely auto-centric, I was assured by somebody at the Four Seasons event this evening that the Germans (read, ‘The rest of the world’) have been slow to implement clever, optimized auto-system design flows. However, per my informant, now that “Silicon Valley” is working on it, expect great things to emerge immediately and across the board for streamlined, integrated automotive-systems development tools.

4 — A senior exec from an auto infotainment vendor, very happy to be at the Four Seasons event, was astonishingly unaware that DAC is unfolding this week at Moscone Center just a block away. In fact, had no idea that DAC existed at all, what it is, or why. Ohmygosh.

3 — That same auto/infotainment exec, however, was very aware that Apple’s WWDC15 (read, ‘World Wide Developers Conference’) is also unfolding this week in San Francisco (at Moscone West just across from DAC, continuing to draw hearts and minds away from a far-less-buzz-enfused EDA ecosystem).

And apropos to WWDC15, this same exec was sporting an Apple watch. Why, Imperas’ Simon Davidmann asked as we all chatted over wine. So the exec could know when the moon was in the sky, and how many steps had been taken during the day. This last, of course, required digging the exec’s phone out of the exec’s pocket. Regarding the moon bit, however, Simon asked if one couldn’t simply look out the window. I was thinking exactly the same, but was too polite to ask.

dongle2 — For years at DAC, chotzkies have been all about data sticks, thumb drives, pens with data storage, flashlights with data storage  — until now.

This year’s dongle/#52DAC gift that comes with your backpack is all about connectivity. With this nifty Swiss knife of USB-this-to-not-USB-that, you can connect a USB to anything you own that even remotely wants to talk to anything else. Really?

1 — And finally, in both the category of rumors and M&A, #52DAC Sunday closed with news that Synopsys has acquired Atrenta.

Surely you already knew because Pundits Inc. has been whispering about it for weeks, but nonetheless the announcement gave pause. (read, ‘What?’) Wasn’t Atrenta CEO Ajoy Bose JUST elected to EDAC’s BoD? What’s that all about, if the acquisition’s been underway for a while?

Meanwhile, a big sigh as EDA consolidation goes on and on and on and on …


p.s. Thank, Cadence, for the great backpack!


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