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Looking Forward to the 52nd DAC

John Day

John Day

Posted Jun 6, 2014

The 51st DAC (Design Automation Conference) ended this week and it was excellent, in my opinion, partly due to a strong automotive track and what I believe to have been a first-ever Automotive Village.

I suspect that those who visited the Village will be able to look back in years to come, when the Village is much larger, and “remember when.” Thanks to Mentor Graphics, Synopsys, Dassault, Wrightspeed, and the other pioneers.

DAC is fundamentally an EDA (electronic design automation) conference and the inaugural automotive track – numerous in-depth technical presentations, panel sessions and “Sky Talks” as well as the Village on the exhibit floor – recognized the importance of electronics to automotive application/system development.

Among the highlights of the conference for me were the Tuesday morning keynote that featured Ford’s Jim Buczkowski (a Henry Ford Technical Fellow and Director of Electrical and Electronics Systems Research and Advanced Engineering) and The MathWorks’ Jim Tung (a MathWorks Fellow). They said a lot and were very articulate and I came away with a deeper sense of the importance of Safety and Security to automotive electronics systems development.

I was also impressed with David Kleidermacher’s Sky Talk on Security. David is the chief technology officer at Green Hills Software, and his description of the Target security problem and how it could have been avoided was a bit chilling, as well as thought-provoking.

And I have so say a word or two about the panel session on “EV E/E Architectures – Evolutionary or Revolutionary” since I was part of it. Panel members took sides, and the final score was 3-2. Which side do you think won?

Big ideas, Safety and Security. I’ll tend from here on to look at product and corporate announcements in terms of the Big Ideas they incorporate or reflect: Does “whatever” make cars safer or more secure? Obviously not every product or collaboration will, so what else is important? Performance, for lack of a better word, is one. New products may help improve fuel economy and/or reduce emissions. And Connectivity, which ought to be more than just a buzzword. And Usability, which also relates to safety.

What am I overlooking? I’m sure there’s something, but my point is that there are a relatively small number of overarching themes or goals or categories to which all automotive electronics products and technologies should relate. Share your list, if you have one.

And if you attended the 51st DAC, what impressed you most?

Wrightspeed, design automation conference, Ford, Dassault, synopsys, The MathWorks, Green Hills Software, Mentor Graphics

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John DayJohn Day recently launched John Day’s Automotive Electronics News ( to provide news and feature coverage of the automotive electronics industry. Earlier he wrote for Auto Electronics magazine, Auto E-lectronics, EE Times, and other business and engineering publications. Visit John Day

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