As you may recall I was involved in producing several events this past fall. Allow me to share a few nuggets from the experience:
Specialization Is Accelerating
As industries advance, there is always a natural trend toward increasing specialization since the given technologies evolve beyond the ability of any single person to handle the wealth of growing knowledge. For example, 100 years ago a doctor could be trained in virtually all the medical knowledge that there was at the time; commonly dabbling in surgery, anesthesiology, obstetrics, etc. in the course of their practice. Today, of course, there are numerous sub-specialties within ever narrower categories of practice.
In EDA, there is finally a broad recognition that verification is a significant specialty in its own right. However, those in the vanguard of verification -- namely, Specman users -- appear to be themselves sub-dividing into distinct areas of domain expertise under the verification umbrella. Specifically, at many of the Specman-centric "ClubT" events, I was surprised to learn that this theoretically homogenous group was starting to splinter into Electronic System Level (ESL), analog mixed signal (AMS), and testbench integration-specific aspects of verification (to name just a few emerging specialties).
The User Presentation "Catch 22" Continues
Less surprising was the ongoing trend of users wanting to see more user-created presentations, yet being unwilling to contribute presentations themselves. Granted, some of this is economically driven in that a given engineer is fearful of asking their management for time and legal permission to work on a paper. However, the main negative factor here is a blanket, hyper-concern for IP leakage and/or revelation of secrets. While it's clearly good to be protective of hard-won IP, I think many companies are over-doing it to the detriment of all. They could stand to trust their people more, and/or just coach them a little. [I'll get off this soap box now & save it for a future post.]
ESL's Time Has Come
I've been in engineering long enough to have seen the first wave of ESL crest back in the late 90's. The interest in ESL was as sincere then as it is today; but this time around there was a critical difference. Long story short, it was evident that fellow veterans of the first ESL wave have a much better idea of what they are looking for from the second. If you are a specialist in RTL tools & methodologies, and this news surprises you, I strongly recommend you start following my colleagues' System Design and Verification blog stream (and read and internalize all the prior posts too).
As always, I invite you to share your observations in the comments below, or tweet them with an #EDA tag in your quip.
Joe Hupcey III