44th Design Automation Conference, June 4-8, 2007
March 8, 2007

Council on Electronic Design Automation Serves as IEEE’s EDA Focal Point

DAC Sponsor Newly Named Co-Sponsor of Prestigious Kaufman Award  


The Council on Electronic Design Automation is IEEE’s focal point for multiple EDA disciplines and serves a technical community of about 5,000 professionals distributed in six IEEE societies.  With a goal to bring increased value to IEEE members and the EDA community, it coordinates EDA activities, enables new initiatives, fosters interdisciplinary research and recruits young talent to EDA.  More important, it helps promote EDA as a key technology for the semiconductor and systems sector.


Since CEDA was formed in 2005, it has launched several initiatives and has taken over IEEE’s long-term sponsorship of DAC.  CEDA is now a joint sponsor of the EDA industry’s prestigious Phil Kaufman Award, along with the EDA Consortium.  Presented annually since 1994, the Kaufman Award honors an individual who has had a demonstrable impact on the field of EDA.  It was established in honor of deceased EDA industry pioneer Phil Kaufman, who turned innovative technologies like silicon compilation and emulation into businesses that have benefited electronic designers.  Nominations for this year’s recipient are being accepted until June 29.  For more information on the award and to download this year’s nomination form, visit:  www.edac.org or www.ieee-ceda.org.


Another popular initiative is the Distinguished Speaker Series that features Best Paper Award winners from DAC, the International Conference on Computer Aided Design (ICCAD), and the IEEE Transactions on Computer Aided Design (TCAD).  Authors of these papers are invited to give in-depth presentations of their work, offering more detail than the published paper or conference talk.  Each talk takes place before a live audience of experts.  Events are videotaped and posted on the CEDA website. Additionally, CEDA, along with IEEE’s Circuits and Systems Society (CASS), are sponsors of EDA’s IEEE Fellows.


CEDA’s charter spans theory, implementation and use of CAD tools to design integrated electronic circuits and systems.  This includes tools that automate all levels of the design, analysis and verification of hardware and embedded software up to complete working systems.  Six IEEE societies are part of CEDA:  Antennas and Propagation Society; Circuits and Systems Society; Computer Society; Electron Devices Society; Microwave Theory and Techniques Society; and Solid State Circuits Society.  Previously, EDA-related activities were spread among various IEEE societies with little coordination.  CEDA’s President is Alfred E. Dunlop, a design consultant.  Other members of its Executive Committee include:  President-Elect Giovanni (Nanni) De Micheli, director of the Integrated Systems Centre at EPF Lausanne in Switzerland; Vice President of Finance Wayne H. Wolf of Princeton University; Secretary John Darringer, manager of system-level design at IBM; Technical Activities Vice President Andreas Kuehlmann of Cadence Berkeley Labs; Vice President of Conferences Richard C. Smith an EDA consultant; and Vice President of Publications Rajesh K. Gupta of the University of California at San Diego.


In addition to co-sponsoring DAC, CEDA also co-sponsors ICCAD and Design, Test in Europe (DATE) and eight other conferences and workshops in EDA related areas.  It also co-publishes TCAD , the longest running and largest journal on EDA, and IEEE Design & Test.  It is involved with focused technical activities such as DATC with the IEEE Computer Society and CANDE within CASS. Visit the CEDA website for more details at:  www.ieee-ceda.org.

The Car Moves the World

Gabe Moretti, Editor

Contact with my car's electronic systems starts as I clasp the keyless entry transmitter in my hand.  It is a remote control device I now take for granted, one that normally does not require much thought.  But I was thinking about this article as I approached my car and I then realized that good systems are the ones you take for granted.  They are useful and they are reliable.


The automobile has changed drastically in my lifetime.  My first car had a few electrical components, but it was mostly a mechanical device.  The car I drive today, a common van without many optional gadgets, has over 20 microprocessors and microcontrollers that manage some of the most vital functions of the vehicle.  Every year, new electronics systems are added to increase safety, comfort, and gas mileage. Some of the systems are obvious and seen every time we drive: from the digital dashboard that you can configure to show information most important to you, to the advanced entertainment and communication system that allows hands free phone communication and keeps the children entertained in the back seat with their preferred DVD.


You are aware of some other electronically controlled systems only by the buttons on the steering wheel or the console.  You can set your cruising speed and, for those who like to drive more rugged roads, you can disengage the brake's anti-lock system.  The first one has decreased the tension in our right leg while improving gas mileage.  The latter has made all drivers better and safer drivers when braking in an emergency or on wet or icy roads.  It is accurate to state that today's car will not work if some of its electronics subsystems are defective.  The ignition system is computer controlled, not only to provide precise timing to the sparkplugs, but to regulate the flow of fuel and air to achieve the maximum power with the minimum of pollution.


Nick Smith, Ph. D.  director of marketing, Integrated Electrical Systems Division, Mentor Graphics, and chairman of DAC Automotive Electronics Subcommittee observes: "This year, DAC’s automotive electronics theme allows the conference to expand somewhat beyond its IC heartland.  Automotive electronic content is growing rapidly as new features are developed and existing mechanical & hydraulic implementations are replaced.  This in turn is driving new challenges for the EDA industry, for example in the areas of embedded software validation and communication network analysis.  It is becoming necessary to model the car as a complex distributed computing platform rather than as a collection of isolated sub-systems."


Many of the vital advances in the application of electronic systems in the automobile have come from racing, in particular Formula One, the premier car racing circuit in the world.  Although not as well known in the United States as NASCAR, Formula One is extremely popular and uses the most technically advanced vehicles in the world.  This year's DAC is scheduled just before the two North American Grand Prix, Canada  and US - the first one in Montreal and the latter in Indianapolis.  Only eleven teams, each fielding two cars, take part in the circuit.  Leading teams spend well over $100 million per year in research, design, development, testing, and competition.  Although details of the budget are a corporate secret, it is rumored that Ferrari, for example, spends over $300 million per year, and that in the last couple of years Toyota has surpassed them in total money spent.  Through the 2007 season, the bulk of the R&D investments in Formula One, estimated to be above the $1.5 billion mark, will be spent on optimization of the power plant, transmission, and aerodynamics in a racing car.  This is an impressive amount of money, more in fact, than the revenue of the largest EDA company.  The investment has produced, among other things, engines with over 19,000 revolutions per minute, and gearshifts measured in milliseconds.  During a race, a Formula One car is in continuous contact with the pits by transmitting information about the engine, the transmission, the tires and just about any other portion of the car.  It does so using highly sophisticated encryption technology.  Thus, wireless communication is another field that benefits from Formula One research.  Beginning in 2008, Formula One is going to direct more of its research budget toward more environmentally aware topics, like fuel economy, recapture of energy, and even alternative power sources.  This year Honda Racing has given their cars a definitive environmental look by turning its color scheme into the map of the world.  Whether they were influenced by Al Gore's movie or they are thinking ahead to the new direction in the sport is anyone's guess.


Dr. Smith points out that: "The 44th DAC gives conference attendees a chance to explore issues relevant to automotive electronics at several different levels.  Technical subjects covered range from the design of safety-critical systems, through virtual prototyping, to new techniques for network analysis.  Silicon design is not overlooked: for example, the special characteristics of IC design for automotive applications will be described, together with the implications for EDA tool vendors.  And for those less deeply involved in automotive technology, there is an exciting glimpse of new electronic capabilities currently under development for the car of the future."


Take advantage of the opportunity to find out how important EDA really is.  From Formula One teams to all manufacturers of parts for mass produced cars, most companies in the automotive sectors use EDA tools or integrate semiconductor parts in their products.


Coming March 23rd to the DAC web site:

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