Opening Salvo At DAC

DAC 51 gets started with a clear message from Gary Smith: Know thy domain.


As always, DAC starts with a view of the state of the industry from Gary Smith and this year, Smith’s view was a little different from previous years. For DAC 51, Smith no longer spoke of ESL as being the key to the future. In fact, he conceded that he may have been off a few years or a couple of decades on that one, but in the end he was right.

This year his main message seemed to be that knowing your domain was perhaps the most important thing a company can possess. If you don’t understand your domain and the ecosystem that supports it you cannot hope to succeed. He basically said that Intel is wasting a lot of money on areas that they have very close to zero chance of success with and that they cannot afford the cost necessary to catch up. He spoke of a prediction, or statement, from another publication that said we need 1M design starts and Smith said that this is not even close to reality as “we don’t have that many engineers in the industry.”

“EDA is at last getting recognition by Wall Street” says Smith, and that is because it is a stable industry with steady growth which is what Wall Street is looking for these days. In reality, most of that growth is coming from IP and not EDA, but IP is a term that Wall Street loves today because they confuse it with patents and the money that can be made from patents.

Smith spoke highly of Mentor Graphics, saying they feel committed enough to the automotive sector that they have a division that wants to learn what it takes to be successful, but he did not mention by name those who he believes have a flawed IP strategy that will get eaten up by the industry. He talked of those who in the past believed that GPS IP would be profitable only to be devoured by companies like Qualcomm who now integrated it into their platforms. While they may have bought such IP in the past, they are quick to replace it on subsequent designs so that they can lower the cost of design.

Smith ended his talk with a picture of his kid playing baseball which reflected his changing goals in life and that some things are more important than technology. That vibrancy for life was reflected in the reception that followed which quickly ran out of food, and drinks that seemed to be found in dribbles from the back rooms. This all adds up to a good outlook for DAC and the desire for people to enjoy what the industry has to offer.

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