Panels provide up to the minute material

It is often the case that panel are some of the best attended sessions at technical conferences. They offer the opportunity to listen to leading experts in the subject field debate timely issues with the advantage that they can use material as new as the previous day. Contrary to a refereed technical paper that must undergo a selection process lasting months, the freshness of the material presented by a panelist is only limited to his or her ability in extemporaneous speaking. For this reason, panels and keynotes are not to be missed live events. By providing both formal and informal panels in the technical track and the Pavilion respectively, the DAC will offer the attendees many opportunities to broaden and deepen their understanding of EDA technologies and its business environment.

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The Panels of the 43rd Design Automation Conference

Panel organizers have a difficult task. They must choose a topic, enlist a moderator familiar with it, and then solicit panel participants who are not only knowledgeable and available, but also good public speakers. It is a task that takes time and promises no glory: the audience seldom remembers the name of the organizer.

Since the last few years, the Design Automation Conference has offered two types of panels. The first type, scheduled in the regular conference program, discusses topics directly pertaining to the theme of the conference. These panels have generally dealt with technical topics, although lately, in recognition of the increasing number of executives attending the conference, the program committee has added a management track to the conference.

Panels of the second type are held in the DAC Pavilion, on the exhibit floor. These panels can be attended by anyone that has access to the exhibits and generally address topics that are more business oriented than the Program ones. The Pavilion panels last between 45 minutes and one hour, have a smaller number of panelists and their format is more informal.

A subcommittee of the DAC Program Committee evaluates all panel proposals. Dennis Brophy, director of business development at Mentor Graphics, chairs the subcommittee, and Rich Goldman, vice president strategic market development for Synopsys, is in charge of the Pavilion panels within the subcommittee. In order to maintain continuity and at the same time insert new thinking in the group, Dennis staffed the subcommittee with eight returning and four new members.

This year the panel committee received 37 proposals for Program Panels and 25 for Pavilion panels. The final program offers nine Program panels and 18 Pavilion panels. This means that almost 25% of the proposals for Program panels have been accepted and the acceptance rate for Pavilion panels is 72%. As in the past, the subcommittee had a difficult task since the proposals were all above average (and the proposal review meeting was not even held in Lake Wobegon).

Program Panels

MEGa, which stands for Multimedia, Entertainment, and Games, is the theme of this year's Conference. Consumer electronics are the major engine of growth in the electronic industry. Two of the Program Panels will offer discussions directly related to the theme. Electronic gadgets are becoming more pervasive at the office and in the home where they can no longer be equipped with large fans or vents. Lack of voltage scaling for future generations has forced designers to be more innovative to handle heat dissipation challenges.

On Tuesday, July 25, you will be able to hear a distinguished group of technologists join in a discussion moderated by Daya Nadamuni of Gartner Dataquest, to address the breakthroughs required to deal with the power and thermal concerns for IC package and system designers, and the necessary cooperation between these professionals and EDA companies.

Bryan Lewis, also from Gartner Dataquest, will moderate the second panel, scheduled for the following day. A group of experts who are defining the next generation of gaming, mobile TV, digital home, display, and multimedia processing platforms, will provide answers to key technological questions and also present insights into relevant aspects of multimedia/entertainment platforms.

MEGa products almost always require some analog circuitry for audio/visual effects. Semiconductor design methods have in the past been driven by digital design consideration. A Thursday morning panel with the catchy title of “Tomorrows analog: just dead or just different” will address the need for mixed signal designs and the impact of analog circuitry on CMOS fabrication trends. Georges Gielen from the Katholieke University in Leuven, Belgium, will chair the panel. The analog behavior of digital design is increasing in importance with every new technology node. These effects become more relevant as device geometries grow smaller. The panel, chaired by Bill Joyner, last year's DAC conference general chair, will explore the impact of the trend on tools and methodologies.

Electronic System Level (ESL) tools aim to diminish the cost of verifying the designs and increase engineers productivity. The industry has created many standards to support this level of abstraction, but a common design methodology has not developed. Each company seems to have its own way of using the tools. The panel, chaired by Gary Smith, managing vice president and chief analyst at Gartner Dataquest, will debate the issue and isolate the actions needed to improve the situation. On Thursday morning conference attendees will be able to attend another panel that addresses verification issues. Guided by Sharad Malik, professor at Princeton University, panelists will debate the optimal mix of formal tools, simulation, hardware acceleration and emulation required to achieve the best level of design verification possible.

The combination of increasing development and verification costs with generally shrinking market windows makes business issues more relevant with the passing of time. Three panels address business issues. The first panel of the conference, moderated by Don Clark of the Wall Street journal, will explore the future of the fabless model given the increasing need to integrate the design and fabrication methods. The second panel in this series is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon. Wally Rhines, CEO of Mentor Graphics, will moderate it, given its superior experience as a member of executive management both at Texas Instruments and at his present company. Creating ICs in the nanometer age is a high-stakes race that few companies can afford to compete in -- and even fewer can win. The panelists will debate what will it take to win, where winning means to make the largest profit possible from a given project. One of the last sessions of the program will offer a panel moderated by Joe Brandenburg, addressing the costs and benefits of using Design for Manufacturing (DFM) tools and techniques in the architecture and design of a product. The nine panels will provide the attendees with an up-to-date picture of the technological and business state of the EDA industry and the design community as a whole.

Pavilion Panels

While panels in the technical conference are distributed over three days, attendees will be able to listen to Pavilion panels all four days of the conference. Five panels are scheduled throughout Monday, starting with a recap of the Dataquest presentation held the previous evening for the press and analysts on the health of the EDA and semiconductor industries. Then you can hear the investors opinions on what business changes could generate significant growth in EDA revenues, ask questions of some of the better known Chief Technical Officers, have books on EDA signed by the authors, and even discover what is inside an iPod.

Tuesday offers another five panels. Two are technical in nature, exploring design verification issues and design team collaboration, two are financial looking at exporting issues and the fabless model, and the last one deals with a topic that has received much attention in the last few years: the role of women in EDA. The title: “Shattering the glass ceiling: a decade of growth for women” indicates the positive aspect of the panel. The Pavilion panels session will start Wednesday morning with the presentation of the awards to the winners of the Student Design contest. A presentation of the technical collaboration between AMD and Dreamworks will follow. In the afternoon you can listen to a panel about the Xbox 360, hardware/software collaboration in ESL design, and explore issues related to software piracy.

There will only be three Pavilion panels on Thursday, all in the morning since the exhibits hall will not be open in the afternoon.Two of the panels will deal with technical issues, one regarding the development of system on chip devices for the consumers market, and the other on troubleshooting the Multi-processor design flow.Between the two, there will be a discussion on the opportunity the wireless USB standard has to unify the protocols used for ubiquitous connectivity.

Attendees to the 43 rd DAC will have plenty of opportunities to hear insightful and innovative observations by attending either or both of the two types of panels. In fact, it may be hard to choose which to attend when two panels are held at the same time.


Gabe Moretti appointed editor of the DAC e-newsletter

Gabe Moretti, EDA consultant and owner of Gabe on EDA, has been appointed editor of this newsletter. Working closely with Nanette Collins, Publicity Chair for the conference, and the staff of MP Associates, Gabe will insure that members of the electronic industry are informed on the opportunities to increase their knowledge of EDA products, methods, and technologies in a timely manner by attending the conference. Gabe has assembled a talented group of writers who will contribute to the publication.

"I am delighted to be given the opportunity to contribute to the success of the DAC," he remarked. "DAC is not only the premier conference for the EDA industry, it has become the bell weather of our industry."


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You can see the complete advanced program of the 43 rd DAC on the web at and then pull down on the Conference Program tab, choosing Technical Sessions and then clicking on the type of session you are interested in.

Highlighted Video Sessions:
Free streaming audio, video and slides from selected 42nd DAC presentations.

SESSION 6 | PANEL: ESL: Tales from the Trenches
Terry Doherty - Emulex Corp., Bothell, WA
Suhas A. Pai - QUALCOMM Incorporated, San Diego, CA
Sriram Sundararajan - Texas Instruments, Inc., Dallas, TX
Soo-Kwan Eo - Samsung Electronics, Yong-In, Korea
Pascal Urard - STMicroelectronics, Crolles, France

Atul Sharan - Clear Shape Technologies, Inc., Sunnyvale, CA
Alex Alexanian - Ponte Solutions, Inc., Mountain View, CA
Harold Lehon - KLA-Tencor Corp., San Jose, CA
Peter Rabkin - Xilinx, Inc., San Jose, CA
Carlo Guardiani - PDF Solutions, Inc., San Jose, CA
Premal Buch - Magma Design Automation, Inc., Santa Clara, CA