Good Grief! I can't believe that it's Friday morning already and DAC is all over bar the shouting. I had planned on posting an in-depth daily (b)log, but I was already getting up at 5:00 am and crawling back into bed in the dead of night – there's just too much to do and too little time to do it all in.
So, what has been happening following my somewhat hectic Monday at DAC? Well, I won't tell you every detail (or we'll be here all day), but I will try to skim through some of the highlights.
On Tuesday morning I arose at 5:00 am, grabbed a quick shower, and started work (it's so great to have broadband Internet access in one's hotel room these days; it's not so long ago that you could get only dial-up access . . . and what a pain that was!). Then over to the panel breakfast meeting on Synplicity's Open IP Encryption proposal, which was scheduled from 7:30 am till 9:30 am.
Next, I raced around visiting with a number of companies, including the folks from Silistix (pronounced "sill-ist-ix", they do not like to hear "silly-sticks"), who have a rather cool asynchronous network-on-chip (NoC) technology; Tenison Technology, who – amongst other things – generate C++ and SystemC models from RTL; and Lynguent, who have a very cool graphical modeling environment for creating, maintaining, debugging, and translating analog/mixed-signal (AMS) models.
On my way to the lunch-time session, I also bumped into my friend Gael Paul from Achronix. As you may recall, these little scamps are working on ultra high performance (1-2 GHz) and extreme environment (-260ºC to +130ºC and radiation hardened) asynchronous Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs). I am hoping for great things for this technology in the not-so-distant future.
But we were speaking of lunch. This is the day that Mentor hosted a special a special luncheon event called "Busting the Myths of Verification". The cool thing about this event (in addition to the free lunch, of course), was that Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman from the television program The MythBusters were there to share their methodology for analyzing a myth and determining its plausibility – or busting it.
Tuesday afternoon was jam-packed visiting companies too many to mention, interleaved with posting news and product stories to Programmable Logic DesignLine, or course. In the evening, Magma hosted an Editors and Analysts supper. By some happy quirk of fate, I was sat next to my old chum Gabe Moretti. As fate would have it, the presentations overran a little (they had a great story to tell), so dinner was a tad delayed. Thus is was that – just as the Cème Brulee was server – Magma announced that (a) a bus was parked outside waiting to take us to the next venue and (b) we had to depart then and there.
Poor Gabe. Rarely have I seen a man so conflicted. First he looked toward the Cème Brulee – then to the door and the bus – then back to the Brulle – and then to the door and the bus . . . For a time it seemed as though we had meandered into a loop in time, but all worked out well in the end, because we opted to remain with the lovingly hand-crafted desert, and we later took a taxi to catch up with the rest of the throng.
Wednesday Ah, let's not talk about Wednesday. Once again it was a never-ending series of meetings with companies too numerous to mention. However, I will mention that one of the funniest lines I heard came from Brett Cline from Forte Design Systems (he who will forever be known as the man who lost a bet and had to wear a chicken costume at DAC 2005).
While speaking at the lunch panel on Electronic System Level (ESL) design – which was hosted by VaST Systems – Brett noted that he had been at the party thrown by Denali Software the previous evening, where he had the unfortunate experience of watching 1,000+ engineers trying to dance to disco music. As Brett said: "This is just like many folks trying to get into ESL, they so desperately want to know how to do it . . . but they don't!"
Thursday? That's only a day ago as I pen these words, but it seems like a lifetime away. Once again, the day was a maelstrom of activity visiting with different companies to see their latest and greatest offerings. And, as usual, I had failed to take account of the locations of their booths while planning my visits. The result was that if I had one appointment in the North Hall, then my next meeting would be at the farthest booth from my current location in the South Hall, and vice versa. (Thinking about it, this is much like my mom's relationship with her purse – if she's in one room, then you can guarantee that her purse will be in the farthest corner of the house – I spent most of my formative years hunting the beast down [the purse, not my mother].)
If there was one hot topic at this year's DAC, that topic was Design for Manufacturability (DFM). Thus it was that the very last meeting on Thursday (4:30 pm until 6:00 pm) was a panel discussion on DFM. Now, usually a lot of folks have drifted off by this time, but the place was packed; there must have been around 400 attendees. What a way to close the show!
So there we have it. Every DAC has a certain "flavor" to it. Some DACs in my experience have an air of gloom (even quite desperation). Others have had a feel of intense excitement and anticipation, often tied to the announcement of some killer new products that no one had expected. And as to DAC 2006? Well, my personal impression was that this was a "Happy DAC" with a feeling of things going forward and generally getting better. And now I must away. Until next time, have a good one!
Questions? Comments? Feel free to email me – Clive "Max" Maxfield – at firstname.lastname@example.org). And, of course, if you haven't already done so, don't forget to Sign Up for our weekly Programmable Logic DesignLine Newsletter.