Duolog Insights on DAC 2012
Now that the bagpipes have played to close out the 49th Design Automation Conference, we’ve had a few weeks to reflect on the what occurred. As it is going on, DAC is really a blur to those involved like us. A series of meetings with customers and prospects, panel discussions, users groups, setup and tear down, demos, presentations, and lots of shaking of hands. It takes a few weeks to recover and then put it in proper perspective. So, here now, are our insights on DAC 2012.
Attendance – Although DAC attendance was up significantly from last year’s DAC in San Diego, it was down slightly compared to 2 years ago when it was last in San Francisco. You may say that this signals that DAC is less relevant than years ago, and perhaps there is an element of truth there. I think that each year there are more and more opportunities for customers to meet with their EDA and IP providers via remote means and even try out the tools online. As a result, there are fewer people coming to DAC to simply window shop and find out what is going on. The good news is that the attendees seem to know already what they are looking for. We’ve found that the discussions we had at DAC were much deeper and the attendees much more knowledgeable, which is good for us.
Theme – Gary Smith dubbed 2012 the “year of the silicon virtual prototype” and outlined 2 types, one at the front-end of the design process upon which architectural trades are made, and one at the back-end where implementation issues forth. Others have noted that this was less of a conference on design automation, and more of a conference on design integration. Either way, Duolog happens to be right smack in the middle, with solutions that create models for all levels of virtual prototypes and software development and with tools to facilitate design reuse and integration.
Customer Meetings – Our demos stations and meeting rooms were 80% full over the entire 3 days of DAC and bursting at the seams at times. I was in one meeting where we crowded 8 people into a room for 4 and had two more people outside listening in! Next year we’ll need to add more meeting space and staff. The meetings themselves were very technical, with several customers particularly interested in our methodologies for design reuse and verification. Having a strong services organization allowed us to ink a partnership with one of the large EDA vendors, something you will hear more about in the future. And interest in our newest Sequencer technology is very high among the verification gurus in the industry. Our SOC integration solutions caught the attention of Needham and Co who are one of the main financial analysis for the EDA industry.
SoC Integration Forum - The biggest highlight of DAC for me this year was the SoC Integration Forum that we held aside our booth. With 19 panelists and presenters ranging across EDA, IP, consulting, and media, the panel discussions were a constant draw. Debates raged on topics such as Hardware / Software Interface Management, SoC Integration, IP Creation and Packaging, Verification and Software Bring-up, Virtual Prototype Development, and Formalizing of Software Programming Sequence. You can catch many of these on Duolog’s YouTube Channel and we’ll be putting out separate posts on many of these sessions.
ARM / Mentor Reference Flow - For DAC this year Duolog was proud to present its new Swift reference integration flow using Mentor and ARM IP. Swift was so named because of the simplicity and near poetic nature of the Weaver rules used to rapidly assemble the IPs into a DUT. The system is fully synthesible and by leveraging Mentor QVIP it allows the processing of images files from BMP to JPEG using a console interface. Bare metal software was written for the Cortex A9 using Bitwise HAL C code based on a full memory map of the system. We look forward over the coming year to showcasing how real SOC/IP Integration flow challenges can be addresses using the Swift reference flow for customers and partners who didn’t get a change to see it at this years DAC.
Sequencer - Last but not least, we debuted our Sequencer tool which takes register management to the next level. Sequencer formalizes a contract between hardware and firmware on HOW to use a specific IP block, speeding firmware development and eliminating insidious bugs. I did not meet a single customer whose eyes did not light up when hearing about Sequencer.
In summary, we had a great 49th DAC in San Francisco and are already planning 50th DAC in Austin next year. We’ll be right smack in the middle of the floor when you walk in and right smack in the middle of the design process, so you won’t have any trouble finding us. See you next year.