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Design forum is heavy on ESL this year

Posted: 20 Jul 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:DAC? Design Automation Conference? ESL? electronic system level? embedded system?

Next week, the Design Automation Conference will return to San Francisco, California for the first time in eight years, with a program heavy on ESL and embedded systems design, design-for-manufacturability (DFM), power-aware design and verification.

The lineup for the 43rd annual DAC, which will run from July 24 to 28, includes more than 200 technical papers and presentations, culled from a record 865 regular paper submissions, 78 panel submissions and 18 tutorial proposals.

The event will offer 13 tutorials, four workshops, 18 DAC Pavilion presentations and more than 60 technical sessions in 10 tracks: management; system-level/embedded-systems design; low power and thermal; analog and circuit; interconnect, reliability and DFM; verification and test; synthesis and FPGA; physical design; "Beyond the Die"; and new and emerging technologies.

System-level design was a hot topic at last year's DAC and is even more prominent this year, according to Ellen Sentovich, 43rd DAC general chair. In 2005, power-related submissions edged out system-level submissions as the dominant topic, she said, but this year system-level and embedded design bests all other topics in terms of total submissions both received and accepted.

Papers will explore the increased use of processors in SoC designs, the issues surrounding on-chip interconnect and communications-centric/network-on-chip design, Sentovich said.

Common thread
As has been the case in recent years, DAC 2006 will center on a "mega" theme that reverberates throughout the event. In a nod to the consumer device craze, which is now widely seen as the top driver in electronics, this year's overriding theme is multimedia, games and entertainment.

A series of technical sessions, DAC Pavilion events and special activities on the exhibit floor will highlight the design of the latest generation of multimedia, gaming and entertainment systems. The program also will feature wide participation by representatives of consumer electronics manufacturers in both panel discussions and technical sessions. Those experts will tackle such topics as the challenges facing the iPod and the Cell processor, and the technology requirements for 3-D graphics in feature films.

"Consumer electronics is really driving a lot of what is going on in electronics today," Sentovich said. "People are playing games right now on PlayStation, and it won't be long before they are playing complicated games on their cellphones. It's a great driver for technology."

Sentovich added that the consumer theme will be stressed by all three DAC keynoters: Joe Costello, the former CEO of Cadence Design Systems Inc. and currently the chairman of Orb Networks Inc. (scheduled to speak on Monday, July 24); Hans Stork, director of the silicon technology department at Texas Instruments Inc. (speaking Tuesday); and Alessandro Cremonesi, general manager of advanced system technology at STMicroelectronics (Thursday).

The DAC program will feature six full-day tutorials-two on Monday and four on Friday-on ESL; SystemVerilog; DFM; variability; chip and package co-design; and techniques for design error diagnosis, silicon debug and defect diagnosis. Seven vendor-presented tutorials are also included in the program and will cover approaches to low-power design methods and tools.

DAC will once again include a Management Day featuring business and technology sessions designed to offer managers a forum for sharing information on decision-making processes as well as current technology trends. Scheduled for Tuesday, Management Day will include a panel discussion on the fabless model; a session on the choice of flows and implementation technologies; and a session on the design of graphics, entertainment and wireless products.

On Monday, Gary Smith, chief EDA analyst with Gartner Inc., will open the DAC Pavilion with a presentation on EDA trends titled "What's Hot at DAC." Pavilion sessions are also scheduled to include business-focused discussions, an "Ask the CTO" panel, presentation of the Women in EDA Achievement Award and the announcement of this year's DAC Student Design Contest winners.

- Dylan McGrath
EE Times

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