Thought Leadership

What’s Exciting at this Year’s Design Automation Conference?

By Harry Foster

I am honored to have the opportunity to serve as the 2019 DAC Technical Program Chair, and this has been an exceptional year in terms of research and Designer/IP track submitted content.

The Design Automation Conference (DAC) was founded in 1964 and is the longest running and largest conference focused on the design and automation of electronic circuits and systems. And this year DAC experienced an impressive 18 percent increase in research paper submissions. Of this year’s 815 submissions, 202 were accepted for publication.

Figure 1. DAC growth in research paper submissions

Yet, what is really exciting about DAC is how the conference has evolved over the years to address emerging challenges—beginning with its roots in traditional electronic design automation (EDA) and recently expanding into a broad spectrum of research topics associated with chip and system design. While EDA remains the largest topic area in terms of accepted research papers, about two thirds of this year’s papers focus on many other important aspects of design.

Figure 2. DAC 2019 Research Papers by Topic Area

So what is hot this year at DAC? From a research perspective, about a third of all research papers covered different aspects of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and neural networks (NN) architectures applied to design, security, and EDA. In addition, there are six research panels that either directly or indirectly cover various aspects of AL/ML/NNs. There are three tutorials dedicated to AL/ML/NNs. And finally, there is a half day training session on machine learning.

But what makes DAC great is not only its research content—it’s where theory is put to practice in the industry focused Designer and IP tracks. Here you will find deep and fruitful conversations happening between industry presenters and audience participants.

I would like to bring your attention to one Designer Track panel that should be of particular interest, which relates to safety of autonomous cars, title “Trust me…it’s Safe.” Here you will find a great lineup of industry experts who explore many of the challenges of functional safety. There seems to be some disagreement here on what is needed to address some of these challenges going forward, which always makes for a fun and lively panel.

In addition, a number of my Mentor colleagues are giving presentations in the Designer and IP Tracks. For example, in Session 4, Power Bytes Delivered, Valeriy Sukharev will explore “Electromigration Signoff based on IR-drop Degradation Assessment.” In Session 18, Embedded Systems, Security, and Tool-chain, Khaled S. Mohamed will talk about “A Lightweight Hardware Architecture for an IoT Encryption Algorithm.” And in Session 56. SystemC in the Real World, Stuart Swan (one of my favorite presenters) is giving a talk titled “Moving Up in the World.”

For a complete list of all the research and Designer/IP sessions, please visit this year’s online DAC program. Advance registration is now open. Register before May 8th for a 25% discounted rate for a full conference pass.

I look forward to seeing you at the 56th Design Automation Conference in Las Vegas June 2-6, 2019!


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