Why The Design Infrastructure Alley At DAC 2018 Is A Big Deal
Talking Infrastructure At the Premier Semiconductor Conference
I’ve been going to DAC for several years now, which is a bit of an oddity for an IT guy. The CELUG Co-Located Conference at DAC has been going on for several years (at least as far back as 2011), and that was the main reason I would go. I would usually spend a day walking the floor, looking out for any new tool that might make an appearance in our infrastructure and make sure it wasn’t poised to melt down the filers or the compute (or both). I would also see the couple of vendors that are “in my wheelhouse” — usually remote display folks, IBM, RTDA, etc.. I would run into people I knew on the floor and spend some time reconnecting. You know, the “soft” side of conferences. And those were good and I did glean a few bits of interesting intel. But I never felt like I really “belonged” there. DAC was a conference for Engineers, Engineering Managers/Executives and Tool Suppliers. While I supported them, I was not really a part of this world. My stock and trade was compute servers and licenses and the things that are needed so that all of these wonderful tools and methods could create new chips.
And it was that way for a long time. There would be a smattering of other IT folks there between CELUG and the LSF User’s Group. But this year things are going to be very different.
Thanks to the partnership of the ESD Alliance, the IEEE and the ACM, this year DAC has a home for the IT Professionals who support Semiconductor/System Design. They have been absolutely wonderful to work with and have embraced a simple concept.
For years DAC has brought the best and brightest together to talk about new tools and methods to create ever more complex chips and systems. But we have never talked about the IT infrastructure needed at scale to make those tools and methods come to life.
From that simple premise, the DAC organizing committee agreed this year to have as an official part of the DAC show the Design Infrastructure Alley. This is our chance to bring together what I call the “three legs of the stool”.
- IT Professionals who keep the systems up and running 24×7.
- Tool Suppliers who write the tools that engineers and CAD flow developers use on top of the infrastructure.
- Infrastructure and Software Suppliers who create either the infrastructure or software stack that IT professionals use.
We’ve been doing this in CELUG for several years, and it’s had an amazing impact. Being able to have everyone in the same room, listening to a presentation, interacting with the speaker is a dynamic that you can’t get any other way. I can’t tell you the number of “ah-ha” moments we’ve had sitting in the same room listening to a supplier give a roadmap presentation. Collectively, we’ve talked about what the issues of the day are, but more importantly we’ve talked about how we forge a path forward.
And there’s no more natural place for this to happen in our industry than at DAC. It brings together all the right people, in the same place at the same time. That’s why this is such a special thing happening this year. This year at the Design-in-Cloud Pavilion, we’ll have a stage dedicated to presentations and panel discussions around not only optimizing the infrastructure that we have today, but planning for the infrastructure we’ll need tomorrow. And we’ll have something we can’t get anywhere else — an instant feedback loop. Suppliers will be able to get an instant feel for how much people care about something in the most visceral, tangible way possible.
This is an amazing way to get out of the office and, to use a phrase, “Think Different”. Not only can you learn things that will help you manage your existing infrastructure more effectively, you’ll have the ability to participating in shaping the future. It doesn’t get more exciting than that.