DVCon Committee Picks

Who should go to DVCon this year and what changes you can expect to see.


A typical development team contains more verification engineers than design engineers, and that skew is getting wider. You can expect the trend to increase given that verification teams are now getting loaded with added complexity from heterogeneous multi-core systems, functional safety, neural networks and security-in addition to increasing size.

Companies that do not keep up with the latest tools and techniques will see their products get commoditized faster. And individuals who don’t keep refreshing their skill sets will not be candidates for the best jobs.

There is no conference out there that better reflects the challenges facing the verification engineer in the trenches than DVCon. “A lot of times, engineers within one company get used to working in a certain way, and you are not growing because you are not sharing new ideas with other people,” says Vanessa Cooper, DVCon’s panel chair. “So by coming to DVCon, you get to see the breadth of the industry and the approaches being taken by other people. It is an opportunity to grow your skill set and network with other like-minded people.”

Managers also may get some benefit out of attending, as they will see the big picture and the new challenges that their teams will be facing in the near future if not today. “Almost all of the industry standards are initially developed within Accellera, the primary sponsor of DVCon,” says Srivatsa Vasudevan, DVCon’s poster chair. “IEEE 1800 is the UVM standard and will be discussed at DVCon. The Portable Stimulus standard is being shared with people at DVCon. So typically you want to come to DVCon if you want to know the latest trends within the industry and the direction in which they are heading.”

If you thought that DVCon only contains papers from EDA companies, then you may be in for a surprise. This year, 56% are user papers and posters, plus a further 14% that were primarily written by users with some help from one of the vendors.

In addition, DVCon is expanding its focus. “As the chair, I challenged the committee to broaden the scope and see if we could bring in another demographic,” says Dennis Brophy, the general chair. “There are a lot of engineering efforts underway in Silicon Valley for autonomous vehicles and our focus on design and verification hasn’t often looked at a vertical. We hope to allow the conference to expand and reflect a lot of the local character of Silicon Valley and be able to apply some of the emerging standards into the needs of the transportation industry and safety critical applications.”

One change this year is with the tutorials that are presented on Monday and Thursday of the program. “Tutorials, which are sponsored by Mentor, Cadence or Synopsys, continue to be 3 hour sessions,” says Aparna Dey, the tutorial chair. “In addition this year, we have 1½ hour sessions that allow smaller companies to participate. This enables them to go into some level of detail about what they offer. Users will thus have a wider array or topics to choose from on Thursday.”

I asked the program committee what is new this year and the things that you really need to put on your schedule. “There are two things,” states Tom Fitzpatrick, the program chair. “Portable Stimulus will be a big thing – speaking as the vice chair of that committee. We have some new information to provide in the tutorial and an update on the status of the standard. Stepping back and putting on my program hat, the biggest topic is safety-critical verification. We have tutorial and paper sessions that cover this topic. This is a topic that a lot of people are talking about.”

I also have to advertise a panel that I will be moderating on Wednesday morning titled “Help! System Coverage is a Big Data Problem!” I promise that if you get yourself up by 8:30 a.m., that it will be a lively discussion that involves the audience.

If you are sitting on the fence, tomorrow, Jan. 26 is the advanced registration deadline, which enables you to sign up for a discount. Even if you miss that you can register at the door. The conference is Feb. 26 to March 1 at the Doubletree Hotel in San Jose, CA. I hope to see lots of you there.

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