DAC and Embedded TechCon – embedded and EDA coming together?

It is hard to believe that it is almost 20 years since Mentor Graphics started to build a presence in the embedded software world by acquiring Microtec Research [and getting me as a result]. There has been much development and numerous other acquisitions [most notably Accelerated Technology] since then and the Embedded Systems Division [a.k.a. Mentor Embedded] has gone from strength to strength.

However, the worlds of embedded software and electronic design automation [EDA] have remained surprisingly separate …

I always had a positive view of Mentor’s strategy – actually I still do. It just seemed logical to bring together the, naturally interdependent, software and hardware design disciplines. To a significant extent, the meeting of minds has occurred – various co-verification technologies have found wide acceptance and designing low power devices is necessarily a team effort. At the same time, there are still two distinct communities within companies and the industry as a whole. Manifestations of this are trade shows and conferences, where there are embedded events and EDA events. Well, that is the way it has been …

Maybe the situation is about to change and, if you in or near San Francisco in the week beginning 8 June, you can participate. At the Moscone Center, a number of events are taking place. At the core is the Design Automation Conference [DAC], which has been the foremost EDA conference for many years. If you are unfamiliar with DAC, you can get a flavor of the whole event and its culture by reading the blog of the DAC General Chair, Anne Cirkel, whom I know well. This year, the conference has a strong embedded track – I served on the selection committee for this part of the conference and there is some very interesting material in the program.

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As if that were not enough, there is more. DAC is a classic technical conference, with a rich mixture of the theoretical and the practical. Right next door, also at Moscone, another conference will be taking place simultaneously: the Embedded TechCon, which has the tag line “Everything Practical. Nothing Theoretical”. I think that says it all. It is hard to generalize about a large population like the engineers that specialize in embedded software development, but, in my experience, the one thing I would say is common to all the ones whom I have met is a bent towards the practical. This will be a very interesting event.

If you are an embedded software developer and you attend either DAC or Embedded TechCon, I would love to hear your impressions. Please comment, email or use social media. I look forward to hearing from you.

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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at https://blogs.sw.siemens.com/embedded-software/2015/05/25/dac-and-embedded-techcon-embedded-and-eda-coming-together/