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

DVCon Europe 2017: Munich and So much more

 
October 12th, 2017 by Peggy Aycinena


DVCon Europe 2017 will be in Munich next week
, a great destination for tourists and technologists alike. This is the fourth year the conference will occur in Europe, the original Silicon Valley based version now in its 27th year.

DVCon Europe General Chair Oliver Bell and I spoke this week by phone about the upcoming event; he was in Germany and I was in Northern California. I offered that Munich is a beautiful city, and he agreed.

“The conference will be in downtown Munich,” Bell said, “at the Holiday Inn. This is a really nice hotel, located near to Marienplaz, and easily reachable from public transportation.”

Bell then laughed and acknowledged that, as famous as the city’s Oktoberfest may be, it’s better that DVCon is being held several weeks after that particular annual exuberance has run its course. The city’s just that much more calm and enjoyable, he noted, after the hundreds of thousands of Oktoberfest revelers have returned to their normal pursuits.

Our conversation turned to all things DVCon Europe and what attendees to the conference can expect next week.

Emphasizing the keynotes, Bell said, “We will have multiple speakers from industry.

Berthold Hellenthal from Audi is presenting a keynote about their [efforts] to drive forward virtual prototyping for automotive electronics.

“The traditional car companies [based here] are coming together with other German and European electronics companies to make autonomous driving a reality. Munich is a very exciting place to work if you’re [interested] in these technologies.

“Virtual prototyping will be the key to future automotive development, and for that topic DVCon in Munich is definitely the place to be next week.

“Another keynote will be from Horst Symanzik at Bosch Sensortec, talking about consumer MEMS products. Horst will discuss how improvements in design and verification have been crucial to his company’s [success] in this area.”

Besides these keynotes, Bell said DVCon Europe will also include sessions and discussions about key topics such as bringing together 5G and autonomous driving to move things forward.

“Functional safety and security will also be covered in various papers,” he added. “Although, in the area of AI, we hope to have more content next year.”

I asked why the concepts of AI are suddenly getting so much attention, the ideas having been around for a long time.

Bell suggested that one reason is the emerging market for AI products, as evidenced by his own teen-age children and their use of things like Alexa: “The technology is now at a point [of maturity] that even though the concepts have been in place for a while, the benefits of using AI are very visible.

“We all have Siri on our iPhones and have learned, as that kind of assistance comes into the game, we can get more done as a result.”

“Nonetheless,” he acknowledged, “I perfectly understand your comment. Things like 3G and other big topics have been there for a long while. Some did not come through, while others fell apart along the way and did not make it.”

“Look at the electric car,” Bell said, noting that a hundred years ago the nascent automotive industry worked on electric cars, but the technology did not work out then.

There’s a comparable situation today with regards to self-driving cars, he said: “The nice pictures we see from the different companies [developing these cars] show you sitting in your car, in full color, and being driven about as you read or talk to you wife.

“Unfortunately, I’m not totally convinced of that vision. We really don’t know how the future of these things will look in 100 years, or even 25 years. The technology maturity may be there, but the actual applications may go quite differently.”

“Look at Nokia in the 1990’s,” Bell continued. “They described all of the features that we see today in a modern smart phone. But the way we are actually using these phones 20 years after Nokia talked about it, is completely different from what their vision was at the time.

“It’s always difficult to differentiate today between the technologies that will be big drivers [tomorrow], and those ideas that will fall apart for various reasons. It’s difficult to anticipate the outcome of any one particular technology.”

Pulling our conversation back from a philosophical analysis of technology futures, Bell offered further specifics for next week’s DVCon Europe: “Clearly SystemC and virtual prototyping have been of interest at DVCon for a long time, a lot of interest.

“So we have several special sessions on these topics, including a debriefing in a location which will give us a bigger room and more space for attendees. We added some beer to the session, and decided to make it SystemC Evolution Day.

“We started this event last year and had over 60 people. This year, we expect it to be even more popular. Speakers will include people from the Technical University of Munich, and will be on that campus, as we bring experts together to help develop concrete ideas on this topic.

“Luckily, I have the Accellera SystemC Working Group Chair on my DVCon team, so along with other experts in the field [who are coming] we expect to make progress in this session.

“In this way, the community shows that we can do something if we work together. At DVCon, we bring together the user companies and the EDA companies, so when the users speak, EDA hears their concerns.”

This has always been a strong point of DVCon, I noted.

Bell agreed: “Yes, it is in our DNA. DVCon is an industry-centric conference, presented from the users’ perspectives and based on standards. The program has always been built around things like SystemC and UVM, and other such topics that drive the user community.

“For that reason, on Monday we will present 16 tutorials on many different topics, including updates on SystemC, electronic system-level design, and presentations from Cadence, Synopsys, and Mentor.”

There will be a lot of opportunity at DVCon Europe next week for users to learn, Bell stressed.

Given that DVCon Silicon Valley is still an anchor tenant for design conferences in North America, I asked what the geographic distribution of papers and tutorials at DVCon Europe looks like.

Bell said, “The program includes 60 papers and tutorials combined, with 80 percent from Europe and the others from the US, India, Asia, and the Middle East.

“Our Technical Program Committee has three chairs, with committee members coming from 18 different companies from ARM to ST, Infineon and Intel – all working on this global conference, which has a specific focus on Europe.”

I asked which sessions Oliver Bell himself would be attending next week.

“I have a special interest in 5G,” he said, “and will hear our colleagues from Intel, Nokia, and Rohde & Schwarz talking [about that].

“I’m also interested in the papers from Intel on 5G, in getting their update because I see this as a very hot topic. It will also be good to get more background on the topic. Just by investing 90 minutes in one of the [relevant] sessions, you will learn so much about the whole 5G area.”

“Of course,” Bell said, “I will attend other sessions as well – DVCon will provide a great learning experience for me and others over the 2-day conference – and I will be at the exhibition.

“Many people overlook the exhibition at DVCon, but next week in Munich we will have more than 20 companies there, including the Big Three in EDA and many European companies.”

Referencing the relaxed, collegial ambiance in the exhibit hall at DVCon Silicon Valley, Bell said there will be a similar feel at DVCon Europe: “This community is great. We are constantly coming closer together in terms of applications, which is one of the really fantastic advantages of coming to DVCon.

“All of the people who put this conference together are really passionate about bringing the design and verification community together with the EDA companies.

“When Martin Barnasconi called me in 2013 to help start DVCon Europe, I was very excited. We were ourselves both quite passionate about DVCon, and really wanted such a wonderful conference to have a European edition.

“Marti and I worked together and found other members for the DVCon board, the types of guys who are very keen on driving the European design community.”

Their efforts have paid off, Bell emphasized, so that after only 4 years DVCon Europe has begun to develop its own regional flavor and traditions, while still addressing the international design issues on display at the other annual DVCon events in Silicon Valley, India and China.

“DVCon Europe will be a great event next week,” he enthused, “as will be obvious for all who come to Munich.”


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