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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.

DVCon 2017: Lessons in Learning and Life

February 2nd, 2017 by Peggy Aycinena

If you’re going to chair a conference
, according to DVCon 2017 General Chair Dennis Brophy, don’t do any work. Instead just delegate, because if you’ve done that properly, the committees will craft a great program and a great gathering.

Hence, per Brophy, this year’s DVCon is going to be great. He’s done nothing, the committees have done everything, and their work has been inspired.

You must bring something to the effort, I insisted.

Brophy chuckled and deflected my question: “I’ll defer to Wally Rhines’ thesis: The learning curve definitely doesn’t stop, even though Moore’s Law is slowing. And there will be a lot of opportunity to learn this year at DVCon.

“The first morning, Monday, February 27th, there will a tutorial on our new and emerging Portable Stimulus standard. This is a new and emerging standard, and represents a lot of technology coming in from multiple sources around the industry.

“We don’t have a fully cooked standard yet, but I fundamentally believe it will set the stage for the next level of design productivity. I believe it will usher in system-level verification in a way that we expected UVM to do, while also opening up new algorithmic capabilities to the industry.

“DVCon will be looking at these types of technologies, those on the bleeding edge, which is why companies who want the upper hand on their competition, should be attending.”

Brophy had enthusiasm for other items on Day One of DVCon 2017.

“We’re also talking about things on Monday afternoon that could be considered mainstream,” he said, “UVM in particular. Everyone is using it, it’s a popular global standard, and has a IEEE version set to emerge.

“Attendees at this tutorial will have a chance to hear an update on IEEE 1800.2, the one that’s currently on the ballot. There will be a presentation from the Accellera side, where the team is managing an open-source implementation of the standard.

“Running in parallel on Monday afternoon will be a tutorial on SystemC. There will be overlap between the two tutorials, however, because things have been done on the SystemC side to borrow from UVM. The groups in the two sessions will have a chance to explore all of this.”

Brophy again chuckled, “Of course, we will insist on interrupting some of this learning with fun, starting with lunch on Monday. We hope people will take advantage of that time to interact with their tutorial presenters and learn more about who they are. Plus, Accellera is sponsoring lunch and will make a presentation.

“Also, the exhibit hall opens on Monday – 5 pm to 7 pm – with a lot of the new technology we’re talking about [being featured] in the booths.

“People are adapting and expanding on these ideas in many ways, so the exhibit hall ends up being a great place to take the knowledge you’re learning in the tutorials, and the road map, and understand how it’s going to be included in best practices going forward.”

Time being of the essence, Brophy did not detail the remaining content for this year’s DVCon, but suggested checking out the DVCon 2017 program online to fully understand all of the opportunities for learning.

Looking at the larger context, I asked Brophy about the attendance numbers for the conference in Silicon Valley, now that DVCon has gone international with annual meetings in Europe and India, and soon to be China.

He offered an interesting take on the numbers: “Yes, last year we had over 1000 attendees at DVCon in Silicon Valley, and we could expect this conference to grow to become a 5000-person event.

“But the nature of the Double Tree Hotel is such that, the place is not large in terms of expanse. So the 1000 people we already have is pushing the space to the limit.

“While it would be nice to shatter attendance record, I’m also mindful that we want to maintain an atmosphere of collegiality. And that requires a somewhat smaller crowd.

“DAC, for instance, is the granddaddy of all EDA conferences with thousands of attendees. It has provided a fantastic venue for academic research, with its role going beyond where DVCon leaves off.”

“But we are a bit different from DAC,” Brophy noted. “We want to bring the practitioners and the users of the technology together and promote the exchange of best practices. This has always been our biggest target audience, the working engineer, with not so much of a focus on academia.

“The sharing of the kind of information presented at DVCon helps engineers to deploy new tools, to pick up design tricks, to share what works for them, and perhaps most importantly, to face their competition.”

How exactly does the DVCon Program Committee figure out what to offer?

“Obviously, the papers are pulled from our submission pool,” Brophy replied, “which tells us where the interests are. But we also track the technology from other sources. The Program Committee does a great job staying on top of what is current and relevant.”

“Importantly for me this year, and the focus of my work on DVCon, is to honor education. This has always been an important issue for me. There will be poster sessions, opportunities for one-on-one discussions, and various companies sponsoring learning sessions on Thursday.

“The importance of education to me comes back to the core of my upbringing as a fifth-generation California. That, and diversity.

“The DVCon crew again this year is fantastically diverse. I hope we can build on this to embrace yet more diversity and open up our field so even more people can learn.”

“DVCon is run by a fantastic crew,” Brophy reiterated. “It has always been, and continues to be, a labor of love for all of us!”


Register …

DVCon 2017 will be taking place at the Double Tree Hotel in San Jose from Monday, February 27th, through Thursday, March 2nd.

You can register here to attend.

The General Chair …

Dennis Brophy serves as Director of Strategic Business Development at Mentor Graphics. Mr. Brophy has been Vice Chairman of the Accellera Organization since October 2005.


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