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Looking Back at DAC

Comments(0)Filed under: Functional Verification, Formal Analysis, DAC, uvm, Denali party, San Diego, Design Automation Conference

Last week was the 48th Design Automation Conference (DAC), held in lovely San Diego. This was the 24th DAC in a row I've attended, which sounds impressive although I have a number of colleagues who go back even further. This year's attendance was significantly higher than last year's by just about every metric, not surprisingly since the economy has picked up a bit and San Diego is more of a draw than Anaheim. I don't understand why DAC just doesn't alternate between San Francisco and San Diego, although I see that in two years it will be in Austin so it should be interesting to see how that works out.

As always, I returned from DAC determined to pump out a blog post or two summarizing my experiences but then got sucked up into other activities such as our continuing seminar series. But better late than never, so let me say that I thought this was an excellent DAC all around. We did not have a dedicated booth for the Universal Verification Methodology (UVM) this year but it was still clearly one of the "buzz" topics at the show. Cadence and our customers presented UVM-related content in the booth demos, the demo suites, the EDA360 Theater, two Accellera events, and several partner booths.

Cadence's own Sharon Rosenberg discussed UVM and its impact on the industry as part of the video streaming coverage provided by EE Times. I don't see Sharon's interview on the archive site yet, but please check for it because interviewer Brian Fuller started by playing a clip of Sharon singing "I'm a Believer" at the "EDA360's Got Talent" competition. That contest was held at "The Denali Party Sponsored by Cadence" which was great fun. Any concerns that Cadence would let a great tradition wither away evaporated with this event, which entailed closing off an entire city block in addition to filling a cool retro club. My colleague Joe Hupcey has all the incriminating photos.

DAC floor traffic seemed good to me, not back to the glory days but considerably better than last year. I walked the floor several times and chatted with friends and partners. Many smaller vendors also seemed happy with the show; Blue Pearl, NextOp, and Real Intent in particular told me that the booth attendance met or exceeded their expectations. A few folks off in the corners didn't seem as pleased but traffic patterns at any trade show are always a bit erratic and hard to predict. There is no doubt that giveaways are effective at drawing a big crowd although I'm not sure whether they necessarily generate more qualified leads.

One aspect of the Cadence booth that surprised me was the level of interest in formal analysis. We did not have a dedicated demo for Incisive Formal Verifier (IFV) or Incisive Enterprise Verifier (IEV) but we talked quite a bit about how these tools fit into our broader solutions such as metric-driven verification (MDV) and verification of low-power designs. Suite attendees were intrigued by the new technologies we have for linking formal and simulation together, and a number of people stopped by the booth specifically to ask about what we're doing in formal. I interpret this as a good sign of formal's continuing advancement into mainstream usage.

I can't possibly summarize everything that happened in four intense days. There was the EDAC reception followed by Gary Smith's annual review of the EDA business, interesting panels on the floor, lots of customer meetings, and more. I've decided that DAC is a great show as long as you don't have to spend too much time physically staffing the booth. Sure, some good leads come in that way, but for me the suite sessions, customer meetings, and general industry hobnobbing have the most value. Feel free to leave comments about what DAC means to you, and I'll see you all next year in San Francisco.

Tom A.

The truth is out there...sometimes it's in a blog.





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