The 55th Design Automation Conference to Feature a System Design Contest Highlighting Today’s Latest Embedded Technology in Machine Learning

New System Design Contest attracts more than 110 teams participating for cash prizes

LOUISVILLE, Colo. — (BUSINESS WIRE) — February 20, 2018 — The 2018 Design Automation Conference (DAC) will feature a Systems Design Contest targeting machine learning on embedded hardware. The System Design Contest was created and organized by Chris Rowen, Cognite Ventures; Yiyu Shi, Professor, University of Notre Dame; Jingtong Hu, Professor, University of Pittsburgh; and Bei Yu, Professor, Chinese University of Hong Kong. Contest sponsors are ACM/Sigma and DAC, along with premier contest sponsors NVIDIA, Xilinx and drone maker, DJI. The call for participating teams started in September 2017 with an overwhelming response of 143 teams applying. After careful review, 114 teams were selected to compete in the contest. Fifty teams chose to develop their drone technology on the adaptable Xilinx PYNQ Platform, which uses the Python programming language and libraries to exploit the benefits of programmable logic and microprocessors on Xilinx’s Zynq combined FPGA and CPU. Based on their projects, other teams received an NVIDIA Jetson TX2, a powerful GPU computing platform for artificial intelligence (AI) at the edge with more than a Teraflop of performance. NVIDIA Jetson comes with JetPack SDK which features TensorRT, optimizer and runtime for speeding up deep learning inference tasks such as image classification, segmentation, and object detection.

Teams are competing in the six months leading up to the 55th Design Automation Conference, being held June 24 – 28, 2018, at Moscone West Center, San Francisco, CA. The competing teams will be posting design results on the last Tuesday of each month, starting February 27, 2018. Fellow engineers, embedded design enthusiasts and all those interested in following the progress of each team as they design to win cash prizes can find the results posted at

“It’s so rewarding to see industry and innovators come together to enable superb system design,” said Professor Sharon Hu, General Chair, 55th DAC. “I can’t over-state the energy and generosity of the organizers and contest sponsors—NVIDIA, Xilinx, DJI, and ACM/SIGDA— to bring this contest to DAC.”

“As the premier conference devoted to the design and design automation of electronic circuits and systems, DAC is the perfect venue to have such a contest focused on the latest technology when it comes to artificial intelligence and machine learning,” she added.

The System Design Contest awards will be given to the top three teams in both FPGA and GPU categories. The top winners will be at DAC in San Francisco to discuss the project and present their winning designs.

For more information on the System Design Contest and DAC visit

About DAC

The Design Automation Conference (DAC) is recognized as the premier event for the design of electronic circuits and systems, and for electronic design automation (EDA) and silicon solutions. A diverse worldwide community representing more than 1,000 organizations attends each year, represented by system designers and architects, logic and circuit designers, validation engineers, CAD managers, senior managers and executives to researchers and academicians from leading universities. Close to 60 technical sessions selected by a committee of electronic design experts offer information on recent developments and trends, management practices and new products, methodologies and technologies. A highlight of DAC is its exhibition and suite area with approximately 200 of the leading and emerging EDA, silicon, intellectual property (IP) and design services providers. The conference is sponsored by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), the Electronic Systems Design Alliance (ESDA), and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), and is supported by ACM's Special Interest Group on Design Automation (ACM SIGDA) and IEEE’s Council on Electronic Design Automation (CEDA).

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