The electronic design automation (EDA)
industry is gearing up for its leading trade show and technical
conference of the year, the Design Automation Conference (DAC
2000). Over the past 36 years, DAC has grown into a major industry
event that draws upwards of 30,000 people. The conference is held
every year in June at a location in the U.S., with sister shows in
Asia (ASP-DAC) and Europe (Design and Test in
EuropeDATE). This year's U.S. event will take place in
Los Angeles, CA during the week of June 5-9 at the Los
Angeles Convention Center.
"Consumer demand for electronic products is driving the need for
complex embedded system designs," said Giovanni De Micheli, general
chair of the 37th DAC and professor of electrical engineering and
computer science at Stanford University. "This year's DAC program
addresses the growing needs of electronics engineers to explore new
technologies and methods for enhancing system-on-a-chip
Two keynote speeches will provide a future view of complex
designs. An address by Dr. Theo Claasen, Chief Technology Officer
of Philips Semiconductors, will discuss the obstacles of
fine-tuning system specifications in the increasing complexity of
today's integrated systems. Many of these systems contain embedded
CPU and DSP cores with large amounts of software to determine the
functionality of a chip. Dr. Claasen will highlight how the
combination of silicon systems platforms and rapid silicon
prototyping can provide a solution to this dilemma.
Hugo De Man, professor of electrical engineering at Katholieke
Universiteit Leuven in Belgium will discuss the information and
communications technology of wearable computing in a second keynote
speech entitled "System Design Challenges in the Post-PC Era."
Tomorrow's products will require designing a diversity of
inexpensive, energy-efficient, and programmable platforms that can
be configured over the Internet and communicate with humans through
On June 7, the conference will feature a panel of executives
from various embedded design companies and organizations who will
discuss the formidable tasks that companies face in implementing
complex embedded system-on-a-chip designs. The panel will cover the
issues surrounding the design and integration of major
components—such as microprocessors, memory, custom digital
logic, and software—into a single chip.
New to DAC this year is a one-day Workshop for VLSI Design
Educators on Sunday, June 4, the day before DAC officially opens.
Presentations will be given by leading VLSI design scholars and
engineers, followed by a hands-on VLSI design workshop. This event
will provide a unique opportunity for VLSI educators, design tool
vendors, and textbook authors to interact and discuss improvements
to VLSI design courses.
A half-day Interoperability Workshop will also be held on June
4. Managers from leading design automation and semiconductor
companies will debate the need for a new design system architecture
and standard application programming interface (API) to develop
more modular and more tightly integrated EDA tools.
The fifth annual "Workshop for Women in Design Automation," a
full-day interactive seminar for professional women in EDA, will
also be held on June 4. Larraine Segil, a recognized management
consultant in the areas of strategic alliances and global strategy,
will give the keynote address. Her experience as an entrepreneur,
CEO, attorney, and international consultant will inspire attendees
to find their own avenues of success.
This year's DAC will also feature a panel on June 6 entitled
"EDA Meets Dot-Com," in which participants will discuss the effects
of "e-services" and how the Internet is affecting EDA business
models and future design capabilities. It's typical for many
exhibitors to announce new companies and roll out new products at
DAC. This year will be marked by revolutionary change in the number
of companies that are basing their products, design methodologies,
licensing models, and delivery schemes on the Internet. Newcomers
as well as established EDA vendors will be utilizing Internet
technology to do virtual prototyping in a secure Web-based
environment. They will use the Web to collaborate among
geographically dispersed design teams, and to run EDA applications
on a pay-per-use basis rather than making outright purchases of
One very welcome result of this Internet push will be that
CAD-ready component information will become much more available to
the designer from "virtual libraries" of data that can be accessed
for a use fee. These data libraries are often guaranteed accurate,
because many of the component data sets will be sourced directly
from the manufacturer. It will greatly speed the design cycle to be
able to access reliable component data without the need to create
it from the ground up.
The electronic designer sits at the front end of a supply chain,
which really would be more accurately called a "supply web,"
according to Roy Vallee, chairman and CEO of Avnet (Phoenix,
AZ), one of the largest electronics distributors worldwide. In
an address on April 19, Vallee shared his vision that by 2004,
Avnet will have made acquisitions or alliances to achieve an
integrated solution. Avnet's solution includes supply chain
integration, financing, e-business, and new engineering design
consulting competencies in areas such as Internet telephony and
embedded computers. This integrated "supply web" will allow these
designs to be rapidly completed and transmitted electronically to
contract electronic manufacturers in a collaborative design and
manufacturing environment that facilitates communication between
designers, procurement, and back-end manufacturing processes
anywhere in the world. DAC 2000 will be the huge "coming-out party"
for much of this type of EDA-related Web technology.
DAC has evolved into one of the most informative experiences
that our industry offers, and it is a marvelous resource for
helping EDA professionals to stay on top of this fast-paced
industry. For full details on DAC 2000 and registering for the
conference, visit www.dac.com.
About the Author
Rita Glover is president and principal industry
analyst at EDA Today, L.C., a premier market research firm in the
Electronic Design Automation industry. www.edat.com