These forums and posts are all reactions against the underfunded, or poorly directed tech publishing team, tasked perhaps by marketing (or the simple desire to keep their employment) to only document what works; and never mention an alternative solution.
Of course a web search will also take you to the swampy places where all you find is others who are stuck with similar problems, and they just bemoan that the vendor doesn’t care, or take you through a litany of things they’ve tried that didn’t work. One also finds the beginning of tutorials, part one of what was to be a twenty volume tutorial where the blogger planned to impart the wisdom of the ages for how to build the magical thing – and only part one got written – and even that is now out of date.
So, search works great — when you have an idea what the problem is, and you are following a large crowd who has been there before, and they’ve taken the time to create hints.
|Going hands-on at last year’s Designer/IP track session, with no marketeers in sight!|
But what if you are doing leading edge design, considering the use of new tools for brand new description language? What if your team is one of the few building an IP for a new protocol? You need to find like-minded people who are exploring the same frontier, listen to them; ask them questions, and compare notes, and do this well before best known methods are known.
Well, also about ten years ago, DAC created the User Track, which invited people building designs on the cutting edge with brand new tools to meet and share their experiences with one another; describe what worked best, and guide folks out of the swamp and back into productive design. We’ve since expanded this to three days, broadened our focus to include IP, and renamed this to the Designer Track and the IP Track. We’ve gathered teams of design experts from across the world to curate these events; meet them at Designer Track Committee and at IP Track Committee. They invite design leaders to present on the emerging areas of design and IP; and also review and select the best of the submitted content where users shared their best ideas for using the new technology – and the curators make sure these ideas are fully baked!
The Designer Track has for years brought together hands-on practitioners from around the globe. These forums have emerged as one of the most vibrant parts of the conference, attracting IC designers, algorithm developers, verification engineers, implementation practitioners, ecosystem providers, embedded software and system developers, automotive electronics engineers, security experts and engineering managers. Scanning through the affiliations of those who’ve attended the track in recent years you encounter a who’s who of our industry — AMD, ARM, Bosch, BMW, Cadence, Delphi, GM, Global Foundries, Huawei, IBM, Imagination, Infineon, Intel, Mercedes Benz, MediaTek, Mentor, NEC, NVIDIA, NXP, Qualcomm, Samsung, Silicon Labs, Synopsys, TI, Toshiba, TSMC and many others.
Designer Track submissions were due February 1 and here’s what I can pass on from the track’s chair, Zhuo Li — the material is awesome and the track will be better than ever, in part because we topped the 140 proposals received last year. It’s great to see this much enthusiasm for this “by the engineer, for the engineer” part of DAC.
The Designer’s Track’s cousin in the DAC program is the IP Track, which convenes the users and the creators of IP in the same sort of hands-on spirit. I’d argue that the rise of third-party IP has been at least as disruptive to our industry as has Twitter and the rest of social media to the political landscape. Third-party IP is an increasingly important part of many designs and has given rise to companies and business models that would have been unimaginable when I started in the industry.
I asked IP Track chair, Claude Moughanni, for a teaser of some what’s he seeing, just to whet your appetite. Here are two session titles you are likely to wind up in the final program — Minimizing IC Power Consumption: Top Down or Bottom up Design Methodology. What is the Starting Point? and Security IP for IOT from Sensors to Cloud. I can’t wait to see the full list.
I’m grateful to Zhou and Claude for their work which reminds me daily that, no matter how good the technical information we present, by far the best part of DAC is the sparking creativity that results from bringing smart people together. Yes, you could just sit in your sweats and slippers and watch videos about IOT sensors, but eventually to do anything that matters in this industry you’ll need to collaborate with others. For all that can be shared on the internet these days, it’s still a lousy place for that unexpectedly awesome conversation that changes the way you look at a problem, gives you a million dollar idea or points the way to a new professional opportunity (or even friendship). We do our best at DAC to provide ample spaces for these encounters, including at various cocktail hours and receptions, one of which is Tuesday afternoon at the Designer/IP track poster sessions. There will be ice cream!
For more information, including how you can register for the Designer and IP tracks, check out: https://dac.com/content/2017-registration-rates.