Things You May Have Missed - June 2007

Regular readers of Cool Verification may have noticed a slowdown in posting over the last couple of months.  I've always hated those posts on other blogs where someone whines about how busy they've been and how they haven't posted and won't be posting anytime soon.  So, I'd like to point out that I actually haven't been absent from posting, I've just not posted as much on this blog.  So what have I been up to instead?  As I mentioned back at the beginning of June we finally unveiled the new Verilab website and associated blog.  The following week, David Robinson, Jason Sprott, Terry Lawell, and myself all attended DAC and wrote up many of our observations, and were even mentioned in the EETimes for our work.  Topics included:

There were other posts in there as well but presumably you can wade through the material yourself if you're interested. 

In addition to the DAC coverage, the blog also contains an overview of the state of parallel computing written by Will Partain.  Will is Verilab's systems administrator extraordinaire, a Haskell guru, and maintainer of the open source Arusha project.  Will is based in the UK, but is known around the world.  For instance, an apps engineer here in Austin from Mentor Graphics knew I was talking about Will after I mentioned I worked with a guy who went to college in Texas but grew up in Africa.  I waited, jaw-dropped, for Ashton Kutcher to pop out and let me know I'd been Punk'd, but no, it was really true.  If you don't know Will, his article is as good of a way as any to be introduced. 

DAC Party Photos

Steve Levitan, DAC Chair

Updated July 8, 10:10pm: Added another link to the DAC Party photo set on Flickr.

Updated July 8, 10:30pm: Removed bold from half of the post... it's been a bad blog day...

It's taken awhile, but I've finally posted my photos of the official DAC party, held the Wednesday evening of DAC at the San Diego Convention Center.  The mood was a bit more subdued than at the Denali party the previous evening.  Steve Levitan, DAC chair, was looking quite relaxed, as were the rest of the attendees.  Check out the complete photo set to see if you can find the following (sorry, I've been too lazy to try to add captions to the photos - feel free to add info in the comments):

  • Jason Sprott, Verilab's VP of Consulting
  • Cliff Cummings, Sunburst Design
  • Eric Hennenhoefer, Founder of Obsidian Software and DVClub (should be easy, he's striking a very camera-worthy pose)
  • The DAC Conference Organizing team from MP Associates, including Kathy Embler
  • A woman with an exotic purple hairpiece (there was a story behind it but I neglected to write it down - perhaps someone can remind me of the purpose?)
  • A group of people who now have photographic proof that even though they were at the party, they were working hard (or was that hardly working?)

Also, in case you missed it, I was simultaneously excited to hear that Verilab's DAC coverage was mentioned in Richard Goering's EETimes blog and that Richard had been let go the same day.  The EETimes post is still up so I'm assuming the two events were not related... Anyone know what Richard is planning to do next? 

DFT Digest

Before DAC I posted a note looking for other bloggers who might be interested in getting together for a "birds of a feather" session.  I didn't get any responses, but after posting a note over on John Ford's blog, DFT Digest, we were able to arrange a time to meet.  John has been working on DFT Digest almost as long as I've been writing Cool Verification, and it was great getting an opportunity to meet a fellow blogger face to face.  If you're interested in DFT, I'd highly recommend taking a look at his site!

Denali Party Photos

I've finally posted my photos of the Denali party from last Tuesday at DAC.  Lots of interesting people were there, and I got photos of a large number of attendees.  Please let me know what you think - it was my first time taking party photos in a dimly lit club, so feel free to provide feedback - good or bad.  Photos were taken with a Nikon D50 with a 17-55 f/2.8 DX Nikon lens, a 10.5mm f/2.8 Nikon fisheye, and a 50mm f/1.8 lens.  Flash was a Nikon SB600.

SystemVerilog and Specman/e - Why Can't We All Just Get Along?

Recently, I took a look at Cooley's verification survey and came to the conclusion that his methods were flawed. I had the opportunity to speak with Cooley at the Denali Night Fever party this past Tuesday regarding the accuracy of his survey.  It was a challenging discussion, what with a band playing 20 feet away and Cooley sporting a pair of foam earplugs, but it was clear that Cooley still has faith in the results of his survey.  Why?  He's checked with some friends who work as actuaries and also has sanity checked his data against other surveys done by folks such as Gary Smith.  By the time we finished our chat, I wondered if maybe I'd been too harsh on Cooley. 

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How Engineers and Managers Communicate: An EDA Consortium Video

Thursday morning I bumped into Kathryn Kranen, President and CEO of Jasper Design Automation, after the 2007 EDA Marketing Forum (formerly Hacks & Flacks) at DAC.  The marketing forum itself was fascinating and will be the subject of a future post.  Kathryn asked if I would take a look at a video she'd put together for the Productivity Impact Luncheon at DAC on Tuesday.  I was actually signed up to attend the luncheon but ended up attending the Synopsys VMM luncheon instead after the rest of my colleagues abandoned me so they could see Brent Spiner (Commander Data) and Marina Sirtis (Counselor Deanna Troi) at the Mentor Graphics "Next Generation Verification Luncheon".

The video, entitled "How Engineers and Managers Communicate: A Video Parody", is about 10 minutes long and shows a fictional design team from "WonderChips, a fictitious but successful communications chip company" deciding on a methodology, tools, and schedule for an upcoming project.  The video starts off a bit slowly and the production quality is poor (apparently the video was shot in a day and produced over the course of a week) but it touches on some key points and highlights the misunderstandings between engineering and management that can lead to major project schedule and cost overruns.  Basically, management doesn't want to spend money on new tools and methodologies up front and cuts the bottom-up schedule done by the design team in half, and the engineers decide almost immediately that the project "will be done when it's done".  Sound familiar?  I thought so.  I got a few good chuckles out of the video and I'm sure you will too.  Check it out!

Birds-of-a-Feather at DAC - Conference Blogging - Anyone Interested?

Earlier this week I posted a note from Stephen Levitan about the verification track at this year's DAC.  Towards the end of the post I wondered aloud whether there would be any interests in setting up a Birds-of-a-Feather (BOF) session at next year's DAC.  Today, Grant Martin commented on that remark to let me know that it isn't too late to set up a BOF session, it just requires 10 people to be interested in attending.  Given that, are there any other bloggers planning on attending DAC that would be interested in getting together Wednesday evening between 6:30-8:00pm?  If so, let me know. 

Stephen Levitan on DAC 2007

Earlier this week I received an email from Nanette Collins, the Publicity Chair for DAC this year.  She asked if I would mind sharing a note from Steven Levitan, General Chair of this year's DAC about the verification-focused content of the conference.   Steven is from ECE department at the University of Pittsburgh where, interestingly enough, my dad got his undergraduate degree.  Also interesting is the fact that Kaushik Roy from Purdue University, my alma mater, is the Design Community chair, but I digress… Here's what Steven had to say:

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DAC Attack

DAC is fast approaching, June 4-8 in San Diego.  I'll be there for the first time along with a few other folks from Verilab.  I need to sit down and go through the schedule to figure out what I'd like to get out of the conference.  The only thing I've got planned for certain is to hit the Denali party on Tuesday evening.  There's also a chance I may attend the Magma press event (seems to have been scheduled around the Denali party, so the Denali party must be pretty good!).  Anyone else out there planning on attending the conference?  If so, I'd love to meet up, especially with those of you with EDA-related blogs.  Please drop me a line at jl at coolverification dot com and we can arrange a time to get together.  Also let me know if you have the inside scoop on any cool events going on during the week.