In addition to the annotated image gallery (click here or on the image), below are some long form comments on particular aspects of this year's Design Automation Conference (DAC).
Cloud computing - the title of Richard Goering's report on this panel captured the discussion perfectly, "DAC Panel Says ‘Yes' to EDA in the Cloud -- But Differs on When". Of course there are a variety of private and public cloud-based EDA solutions today, so the debate hinged on when public cloud solutions would see broad-based, mainstream adoption by EDA customers. At one extreme, Greg Gottesman of the Madrona Venture Group (and an investor in Nimbic, which sells a cloud offering for RF design) boldly predicted EDA would move wholesale to the cloud in 3 years. Personally, I'm closer to the 10 year timeframe asserted by John Bruggeman.
Caveat: if the claims of 20x-30x performance gains for specific tools are true, such applications could surely earn wider adoption in the shorter 2-3 year time frame. Indeed, the EDA cloud situation today is reminiscent of the market segmentation shift that's been occurring between dynamic simulation and formal analysis. Starting from nothing, we've evolved from a ratio of 99.5% simulation to 0.5% formal in the late 90's, to 95% vs 5% in the early 2000's, and today the ratio is rebalancing faster as per the following observation ...
Formal and ABV momentum - in the past year, with each passing industry event and blog post, I've fielded progressively more queries about formal, assertion-based verification (ABV), and multi-engine solutions like our assertion-driven simulation offering. Tom Anderson's DAC report perfectly described the ongoing momentum we both felt in and outside the booth, "One aspect of the Cadence booth that surprised me was the level of interest in formal analysis ... 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." Furthermore, if the scuttlebutt in the Southwest Airlines boarding area and other post-DAC rumors are any guide, our formal technology competitors and service providers like Oski Technology had similar anecdotal and measurable year-over-year lead growth as well.
DAC itself - despite all the happy talk about double-digit increases in attendance vs. last year, IMHO there were visibly less attendees down on the show floor -- the disparate mental comparisons from the last time DAC was in San Diego were too numerous to block out. That said, the conference going on upstairs had the same lively, techie vibe as DVCon and CDNLive(s). In general, my slice of Silicon Realization met a fair amount of qualified attendees; and we made the most of the whole experience. But was it worth it, in terms of marcom dollars ROI, or from the more abstract "branding" POV? Time will tell as we complete our follow-ups with all the prospects and customers.
Until next DAC, may your throughput be high and your power consumption be low.
Joe Hupcey III
P.S. I've also posted a gallery of images dedicated to the Cadence Denali party -- click here and judge for yourself whether Cadence has upheld this classic event's traditions.