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A Tour of This Year’s DAC IP Track with Randy Fish

A Tour of This Year’s DAC IP Track with Randy Fish
by Mike Gianfagna on 07-10-2020 at 10:00 am

Randy FishDAC is a complex event with many “moving parts”. While the conference has gone virtual this year (as all events have), the depth of the event remains the same. The technical program has always been of top quality, with peer-reviewed papers presented across many topics and across the world. This is also the oldest part of DAC, dating back 57 years. DAC has grown to include many other events that make up the entire experience. A major trade show with topical events presented in pavilions on the show floor, workshops, tutorials, a designer track and an IP track to name a few.

IP is a relatively new addition to DAC and the EDA segment in general. This is especially true if you consider DAC is 57 years old. I had the opportunity to chat with Randy Fish, the chair of the IP track for DAC this year. I learned some interesting things about how this track is put together and how it interacts with the rest of the conference.

First, a bit about Randy. He began his career as a design engineer at Intel. From there, he worked in applications, sales and marketing across an array of EDA and IP companies, both large and small. He is currently vice president of market development at UltraSoC, a company that has recently been acquired by Siemens.

So, how does one get involved with the DAC Executive Committee? In Randy’s words, he’s been going to DAC since the mid-1980’s. Like many of us, he’s had lots of great experiences, both technical and social over the years at DAC. If you’re in the EDA or IP business, this show punctuates your yearly existence in many ways. A couple of years ago, Randy was chatting with Mike McNamara, a past DAC general chair and Michelle Clancy, DAC’s publicity and marketing chair. They were giving Randy the recruiting speech – join the force of DAC.  Randy decided it was time to “give back” and so he joined the Executive Committee and he is heading the IP Track this year.

At the start our discussion Randy pointed out that there really isn’t a large, mainstream event for semiconductor IP. DAC is the best venue for such a focus and Randy believes this is at it should be. He went on to explain that the regular technical program at DAC is aimed at the “researcher”, but the IP program is aimed at the “practitioner” – those using IP to design chips. The choices of what IP to use as a practitioner are quite large – there are a lot of vendors to explore and a lot of new technologies.  A virtual show environment helps this agenda quite a bit since “sampling” many presentations and vendor booths are much easier in this format.

Next, Randy explained the scope and focus of the IP track. There are six folks on the IP committee. One aspect of their job is to develop invited sessions – topics of interest and possible presenters.  This is the “proactive” part of the content development if you will. There is also the review and selection of submitted papers on IP and organizing them into topical groups. This is the “reactive” part. Working both as a proactive and reactive organization, Randy and his team have put together an excellent program this year. Here are the top-level sessions:

Randy and his team were also working on functional safety track and decided the topic was better served as a tutorial, so the team “donated” the topic to a different track at DAC for the good of the agenda. This one also looks quite interesting, check it out:

IP also impacts the technical agenda at DAC.  Thanks to the RISC-V movement, there are internal designs and designs from companies like SiFive, Codasip and Andes which are all driving the need the processor verification, creating a renewed interest in this topic for the DAC technical agenda.

I think the IP track at DAC this year looks quite strong and I congratulated Randy and his team on the excellent work. Randy closed with a call to action that may resonate with some of you, at least I hope so. He said that his committee, and others as well at DAC are always looking for interested parties to get involved. So, if you’d like to help shape future DACs, just contact Randy, or anyone on the DAC Executive Committee.

The 57th DAC will be hosted virtually Monday, July 20 – Friday, July 24, with on-demand access to sessions through August 1, 2020.  Registration for DAC is now open.  There are three ways to attend DAC virtually – complimentary I LOVE DAC pass, Designer/IP/Embedded Track Special $49.00 or Full Conference pass starting at $199.00.

For more information on the Virtual DAC program and registration please visit:


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