Opportunities for Serious Conversation at DAC 2009

One of the great opportunities that a conference affords is face to face conversation among knowledgeable people. It’s not that technologies for conversation and collaboration at a distance are not effective, but they are more effective if they build on face to face conversations. Conferences allow for both serendipity and structure in serious conversations. At this year’s Design Automation Conference I hope to take part in both.

Here are some of the more structured conversations I am helping to facilitate (drawing on my Irish ancestors’ ability to construct a dry stone fence out of irregular rocks they removed from the soil to be able to farm it).

The Conversation Central effort is the brainchild of Karen Bartleson (see her post on “…goodies at DAC” for more detail). Here is what I proposed to her for my three sessions:

“Global Teams and Multi-Firm Collaboration: Assessing the impact of new business models, new communication and computing paradigms on design and design automation.”

Intended audience: engineering managers and executives, system architects, design methodologists, design automation professionals, and other interested parties. Goal is to discuss changes that have already occurred and assess current trends.

I hope we explore real time information sharing of design status and configuration, shared configuration management, and what this means for business models and design methodology. One of the more interesting developments that’s not really fully appreciated are the real time multi-user PCB design environments that allow many engineers around the world to collaborate on the same design: it’s multi-processing/multi-threading of engineering activity as much as database updates and algorithms. Similar developments are taking place in simulation, verification, FPGA design, library development and verification, etc…

If you are interested in taking part please contact me, I am looking for folks willing to share stories of real practices and real issues. The format is a “kitchen table” discussion that I will facilitate to make sure that everyone has a chance to participate. I plan to blog about the sessions but any attendees are welcome to blog as well. I am still finalizing the details but it looks like we will have some interesting stories from:

  • ClioSoft and the practical use of revision control in multi-site designs.
  • Magma: a view from the top on running a multi-site business supporting global design teams.
  • A Synopsys Lynx user on what flow management has done for multi-site collaboration

The Birds of a Feather session should also prove quite interesting. Here is the description I submitted as a part of the application:

Many design teams use project health as a way to manage trade-offs between development time, cost, and quality. Traditional methods like measure test coverage or measuring design stability are falling short because of fundamental changes that are occurring in electronic design. This session will discuss some of the top trends in design and the impact they have on tracking project health. It will include lightning talks by practitioners and a roundtable discussion by all attendees.

We will have 4-6 “Lightning Talks” that are three slides / three minutes that talk about real issues in managing the total health of a design project. Again still finalizing the details but so far it looks like we will hear from

  • Runtime Design on using information from flow management to assess project health
  • Achilles Test on using information from log files and other data sources to develop a holistic view of project health
  • Mentor Xtreme user on what it means when teams are editing around the clock and you can login anytime to see where the PCB project stands.

Please note that all of these sessions are evolving and while the focus will not change, there may be new or different issues presented at each.

These sessions are open to anyone with a DAC badge. Entrance to Synopsys Conversation Central will be through a separate entrance from their primary booth entrance and will be on a a first come first serve basis. The capacity of the room is ten. The Birds of a Feather room can hold several dozen but please let me know if you plan to attend, or would like to give a lightning talk. We had a great Birds of a Feather on blogging at ICCAD and another one last DAC and I believe that this session highlight another set of emerging issues in an informative way.

4 thoughts on “Opportunities for Serious Conversation at DAC 2009”

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