Tuesday, April 08, 2008

SNUG SJ 2008 Report

For my report on this year's SNUG San Jose conference, I'll point out the major themes that cropped up across multiple sessions. If you're a Synopsys customer, you can see all the papers and presentations at the SNUG web site.

Low Power Everywhere

Low Power support is becoming pervasive in design flows. Both in design and verification, tools are supporting techniques such as Clock Gating, Multi-Vt, Power Gating, State Retention, Multi-Voltage, and Dynamic Frequency and Voltage Scaling.

Of course, for an EDA company, this requires a new name to designate these new features. So, Synopsys is calling it their "Eclypse" flow. (Note the funky spelling to give fits to spell checkers everywhere.) I don't think this name matters much to ASIC engineers -- do you care what the "Galaxy" or "Discovery" platforms consist of?

DC Topographical Uber Alles

DC Topographical, which is Design Compiler's inclusion of "virtual layout" during synthesis, is becoming mainstream. The newest edition is DC-Graphical. It adds congestion reporting and optimization, and a GUI to help visualize and debug virtual layout-related issues. It certainly makes more sense than using traditional wireload models, though you could run into correlation issues if the virtual layout floorplan is very different from actual.

Blues Compiler Rocks

The biggest treat of SNUG was the first public west coast performance of Blues Compiler, Synopsys' house band. To be honest, I hung around to hear them play out of curiosity. I figured it would be a bunch of guys who used to play in college and still liked to goof around with their instruments. Boy, was I in for a pleasant surprise! Featuring CEO Aart on electric guitar, and "Diva" Joanne W on vocals, this band absolutely rocked! They sounded very professional and played a number of sweet electric blues/rock songs. I'd compare their sound to Janis Joplin's, who I am a big fan of. Absolutely recommended to check out if you get a chance. They usually play at Boston SNUG, and I hope they'll be back in San Jose in the future.

A review of the performance would not be complete without a nod to the "Solid Gold" Marcom Dancers, who succeeded in getting a bunch of engineers in a banquet room dancing to the tunes. Quite an accomplishment. I was impressed and hope to get dancing lessons from "Crazy Legs" Shankar H in the future.

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