Week 23: ICCAD, The Kaufman Award And The DAC Exhibitor Meeting

Shows that are still going strong, people worth profiling, and what’s new at DAC.

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It was another week of travel though this time I stayed on schedule – no missed flights! I was in San Jose for several days during which I briefly crossed paths with two EDA stars. Their work suggests that the present and future of our industry is in good shape. And I was there to host a meeting for those exhibiting at DAC, which, if you’ll excuse the pun, will be an even better place to shine next year thanks to new exhibit hours.

The main reason I was in the Valley was to attend the International Conference on Computer-Aided Design (ICCAD). It’s a great event, still going strong in its 33rd year, a near eternity in the world of tech conferences. (A brief pause here to appreciate DAC for passing the half-century mark.) There was much buzz at ICCAD about the presentation entitled “Logic Synthesis and a Generalized Notation for Memristor-Realized Material Implication Gates” by Anika Raghuvanshi, a high school student in Portland. If you want to feel good about the future of the computing industry, or perhaps anxious about your own skills, take a look at Anika’s LinkedIn profile. She has presented her work internationally, placed in some of the world’s most prestigious science fairs, and spent a summer interning at Intel Labs, where she “derived contextual data from brain sensors,” according to the profile. My own brain hurts slightly pondering that she’s done all this and is probably still not old enough to vote.

ICCAD also coincided this year with the Kaufman Award Dinner, hosted by EDAC and CEDA. The Kaufman Award is among the highest honors in our industry, largely because the winners are recognized by their peers for what usually amounts to a career’s worth of impact on electronic design. This year’s award winner is Dr. Lucio Lanza. Over the last two decades, Lucio has helped guide numerous startups as they developed the innovative technologies needed to keep the EDA and IP industry moving forward. His assistance has included exceptionally valuable business and technical mentoring, as well as financial support. The EDAC statement doesn’t even come close to fully accounting for the contributions Lucio made and still makes to our industry. Listening to how Lucio was lauded by Simon Segars, CEO of ARM, and Mark Templeton, president and CEO of Motius, most people in the room including me were just blown away by his achievements and his amazing career. And, oh yes, by his silk ties.

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There are of course many impressive people and technologies among DAC’s exhibitors, which is why we’ve decided to make some important changes I’m pleased to report here. Next year, exhibits will be open from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday, and from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday. The receptions on Monday and Tuesday will be on the show floor, which should bring more conference attendees into the exhibit area. The new schedule will allow attendees and exhibitors alike to attend the general session in the morning and listen to our keynote speeches.

Your feedback is helping to drive the changes we’re making. In July I got an email from Bill Martin, at E-System Design, who suggested we move the poster session to the exhibit floor. So we did! And before we made the change to the exhibit hours, we surveyed our exhibitors, more than 80% of whom approved.

From my point of view as DAC general chair, one of the most rewarding aspects of last week’s meeting was that the exhibitors who attended seemed excited, both about DAC next summer and the chance to more casually network and mingle with peers from the industry now. I’d be remiss if I didn’t encourage you to join in, as there are still plenty of opportunities to enhance your exhibit experience and sign up for prominent sponsorships.

Smart people like Lucio and Anika are one reason this industry is such a vibrant, fun place to spend a career. Another reason is DAC, which all of us on the executive committee are working to make as vibrant and fun as ever next year.