Issue No. 01 - January/February (2010 vol. 27)
DOI Bookmark: http://doi.ieeecomputersociety.org/10.1109/MDT.2010.17
A Message from the Chair
I would like to thank David Pan, chair of Computer-Aided Network Design (CANDE, our sister technical committee), for inviting me to give a talk at the CANDE workshop this past October. In addition to voicing my 2 cents' worth on EDA gaps and opportunities, I had a wonderful time learning about a lot of areas adjacent to design automation, such as computational biology for one, and green buildings for another. I also met a number of very interesting people, and enjoyed the beautiful scenery at the Monterey Beach Resort. Here, I will share some random thoughts that I took away with me from the workshop.
As the world emerges from the financial crisis created by greed and under-regulation, it seems the pendulum is swinging the other way. Much attention is now given to conservation, sustainability, and accountability. As was evidenced in the CANDE workshop, a number of university faculties in the design automation area are applying their expertise to energy conservation. Jan Rabaey of the University of California, Berkeley, articulated the importance of doing "nothing" well, pointing out the fact that a disproportionate percentage of power is consumed in maintaining the idle state. Consider this sobering fact: in an average household, the power consumed by just plugging in the electronic appliances now exceeds the power consumption of a refrigerator. A power-hungry household, however, is nothing compared to a university. Rajesh Gupta eloquently described the "greening" of the University of California, San Diego, campus and detailed his effort in accounting for the energy consumption of the engineering building and finding innovative techniques to lower power consumption. The good news is that there are plenty of low-hanging power consumption fruit to harvest, if I may mix metaphors, and the next phase of UCSD's greening will be quite a bit more interesting and challenging, according to Rajesh. Design automation, I believe, can be of great help in modeling, simulating, and analyzing power consumption, and ultimately in developing process and methodology for power management. Aligning design automation with the environmental and societal initiatives will cure the design automation field from the Rodney Dangerfield "I get no respect" syndrome.
Along this line, Bob Brayton of the University of California, Berkeley, Basu Shankar of the National Science Foundation, and Jason Cong of the University of California, Los Angeles, reported on the 2009 NSF-Design Automation Workshop "Electronic Design Automation: Past, Present, and Future." Quoting from their abstract: "This workshop was organized to 1) reflect on the success of EDA to see if its practice can influence other fields of computer science and if its methodology can be applied to other application domains, and 2) to review the progress made under the National Design Initiative and evaluate what new directions and topics should be added to the Initiative". They also illustrated with sobering statistics that the government funding for design automation in the US is woefully small compared to that for other disciplines, and they compared US funding for design automation to that from the EU and Asian governments, which supplies proportionately greater funding. It boggles the mind to think that a foundational discipline is having such an image problem in this country. I believe expanding design automation to adjacent areas could be the answer.
What is DATC doing to expand DA to its adjacent spaces? One area that a few of us think might be fruitful is smart grids—techniques used for on-chip power analysis could be potentially applicable to analyzing real-world power grids. Therefore, we in the DATC have connected with the first Conference on Innovative Smart Grid Technologies (ISGT 2010; http://ewh.ieee.org/conf/isgt/2010/), and have arranged to be a technical cosponsor. Jinjun Xiong of IBM Research, our new DATC member, is also planning a workshop to explore the connection between design automation and smart grids, and is connecting with the IEEE Power and Energy Society for collaboration. For all these efforts to be successful, we will need your support. Please join the DATC and lend us a helping hand—the future of DA depends on you.
David S. Kung
Senior Manager, Design Automation
IBM T.J. Watson Research Center
16th Iberchip Workshop (IWS 2010)
Iguaçu Falls, Brazil
23–25 February 2010
1st IEEE Circuits and Systems Society Latin American Symposium on Circuits and Systems (LASCAS 2010)
24–26 February 2010
Iguaçu Falls, Brazil
11th International Symposium & Exhibits on Quality Electronic Design (ISQED 2010)
22–24 March 2010
San Jose, California
21st IEEE International Conference on Application-Specific Systems, Architectures, and Processors (ASAP 2010)
7–9 July 2010
Rennes, Brittany, France