Week 6: Still In Wow-Land

The new co-chairs of the technical committee are no strangers to long climbs.

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While the conflicts around the world are overshadowing my complete euphoria, I have to admit that I’m still in Fussball wow-land right now. Germany won the World Cup! What an amazing goal from youngster Mario Goetze! Here is what the 22-year-old forward from Bayern-Muenchen had to say after the game: “Andre [Schurrle] put in a superb ball and I was able to control it on my chest, then somehow the ball was in the net.” It was a beautiful goal!

Browsing through some German blogs (my favorite coverage was from the live ticker and the WM blog of Der Spiegel) I found some interesting factoids that I would like to share: 2,300 liters of color were used for the sidelines in Brazil’s World Cup stadiums, 2,340 towels and 22,000 small bottles of body wash were distributed to players and referees, 1326 items are in lost and found, and more than 150,000 volunteers worked in stadiums, media centers, and the team quarters.

No matter how large or small, how broad or specific the event, volunteers make all the difference. I can’t point out often enough how amazing the DAC volunteers are. For the 50th DAC we were asked to submit “my DAC moment.” Mine was one of gratitude for the volunteers, especially the reviewers on the technical program committee.

This year the technical program committee is led by co-chairs Sharon Hu from University of Notre Dame and Rob Aitken from ARM.

Sharon is a professor in Notre Dame’s Department of Computer Science and Engineering. Her research interests include low-power system design, architectures and circuits based on emerging technologies, hardware/software co-design and real-time embedded systems. She has published more than 200 papers in these areas and received the DAC best paper award in 2001 and from the IEEE Symposium on Nanoscale Architectures in 2009. And another paper of hers was named one of the most influential papers of the decade at DATE in 2007.

Sharon loves to travel and recently visited Tianmen Mountain Cave in Zhanbjiajie, a huge open cave formed naturally and large enough that small airplanes have flown through it. Sharon provided the picture below and says, “One has to climb up 999 steep steps to the bottom of the cave. You can see a picture of me about 1/5 way up, kind of like where the preparation for DAC is at currently. Though we still have a long way to go we know the ‘scene’ will be breathtaking after all the hard work”.

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Rob is an R&D Fellow at ARM. His areas of responsibility include low power design, library architecture for advanced process nodes, technology road-mapping and advanced implementation techniques. His group has participated in numerous chip tape-outs, including six at or below the 16nm node. He has published more than 70 technical papers on topics ranging from the statistics of memory bit cell variability to the use of static current monitoring as a circuit testing and diagnostic mechanism (papers on the latter topic twice received the best paper award from ITC). He holds a Ph.D. degree from McGill University in Canada.

When I asked Rob to share something on the personal side he told me that he taught canoeing and wilderness survival to Boy Scouts. And not to be outdone, he sent photographic evidence that he too is not averse to steep climbs —a good thing given the path ahead of those planning DAC 52.

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More important, given this Fussball moment, Rob coaches youth soccer. No wonder I like the guy! He has a sense of humor too, sending me this from the Onion yesterday in our conference call poking fun at the German obsession with precision and punctuality in all things, even World Cup soccer. “It’s important to stay on schedule,” Rob told me
I have to agree with him. (Though I agree with Nick Hornby too: “Thank heavens, then, for Germany…they have played with panache…”) It is important to honor deadlines and stay on schedule. There is still time for ideas and input for topics, panels and special sessions. Don’t be shy. Share your ideas with us, especially those that will boost the panache of the conference. I will report back about our progress in implementing the best of what we hear from you as we climb along the road to DAC.