Thought Leadership

I Do It …

By Dennis Brophy

… To Advance Technology for Humanity

 It is a humbling honor to have been elected chair of the IEEE Standards Association’s (SA) Corporate Advisory Group (CAG).  While Corporate Membership in the IEEE SA has been an element of the organization from its inception, it has only been in recent years that it has started to bring the voice of global industry into the IEEE’s standards making process.  As CAG chair I plan to work with fellow CAG members to continue to encourage industry to extend its role to guide the IEEE SA and deepen its impact to foster consensus standards that meet industry needs.

The EDA industry and users of EDA technology have played a big role to help the corporate program to take shape.  Prior to any EDA standards adopting the IEEE corporate process, “consumer” members of the IEEE 1076 (VHDL) team offered specific feedback in a letter writing campaign to EDA company leadership.  Consulted on this campaign prior to its start, I was given an opportunity to weight in, in case I was able to offer a solution to avoid the campaign.

While I agreed with the need for greater direct and clear industry involvement, a revenue tax was probably not the answer.  I also indicated I was almost certain that such a request to the highest levels in Mentor Graphics would probably find its way right back to me.  The letter to Wally, Mentor Graphics’ CEO, did just that.  It found its way to me.  And the response back promised to reflect on Mentor’s commitment and that of industry to standards.

The VHDL team planted a seed to consider the question of what industry can do to foster better standards development that binds technologist with industry that I took to heart.  A good model was underway in Accellera where SystemVerilog was being crafted that had strong support from Mentor Graphics and Synopsys along with vocal planned user adoption by Intel when their representative spoke at an Accellera press conference on the need for the industry to adopt the language.

While the rest is history for Accellera (and SystemVerilog), it was just the beginning for the IEEE SA.  In the year ahead, Gabe Moretti, a member of the IEEE SA New Standards Committee at the time, told me (chair of Accellera at the time) of a growing corporate program in the IEEE SA.  The corporate process to make SystemVerilog the IEEE 1800 standard was adopted and used.  I also encouraged the VHDL team to follow the same path.  The VHDL team was even more inventive and did some of their prep work within Accellera.  However, when it came time to return to the IEEE SA, they retained their historical way to complete their work in the IEEE.

My preference is to have active industry participation during standardization. I like to know up front what backing the standard has from industry.  The faster we can get industry to back and adopt standards, the faster humanity can benefit from the application of standards.

It is the pace part of industry involvement that has me add something to the new IEEE tag-line: “I do it to advance technology for humanity, quickly.”

Leave a Reply

This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at