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AWR Expert Blog

Sherry Hess

Sherry Hess is vice president of marketing at AWR, bringing with her more than 15 years of EDA experience in domestic and international sales, marketing, support, and managerial expertise. For the majority of her career Sherry served in various positions at Ansoft Corporation including director of European operations and later as vice president of marketing. Before joining Ansoft, Sherry spent two years with Intel Corporation, where she worked in the ASIC Group and developed relationships with companies such as Bell Northern Research and Northern Telecom. Sherry holds a BSEE and an MBA from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. www.awrcorp.com.

Thoughts on DAC and IMS

August 21, 2009
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August 22, 2009

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Ted Miracco, Executive Vice President, joined AWR in 1997, and is currently focused  on AWR's corporate strategy, including worldwide sales, mergers & acquisitions and corporate marketing. Prior to joining AWR, Ted was a Senior Account Executive at Cadence Design Systems, Inc., a leading supplier of electronic design automation technology. At Cadence, Ted was responsible for developing solutions that could assist customers in accelerating the design of semiconductor, computer, and telecommunications systems. Before working at Cadence, Ted was responsible for Business Development and World-wide Corporate Accounts at EEsof, Inc. Ted holds double majors in electrical and computer engineering from Carnegie Mellon University where he also minored in and taught economics. Ted brings over 18 years of experience in engineering, marketing and technical sales.

Sherry Hess is vice president of marketing at AWR, bringing with her more than 15 years of EDA experience in domestic and international sales, marketing, support, and managerial expertise. For the majority of her career Sherry served in various positions at Ansoft Corporation including director of European operations and later as vice president of marketing. Before joining Ansoft, Sherry spent two years with Intel Corporation, where she worked in the ASIC Group and developed relationships with companies such as Bell Northern Research and Northern Telecom. Sherry holds a BSEE and an MBA from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. www.awrcorp.com.

To comment or ask Ted and Sherry a question, use the comment link at the bottom of the entry.

July 27 marked the start of the 42nd Design Automation Conference in San Francisco. For the second year, AWR elected not to exhibit but rather to have a few execs attend for meetings and to “audit” the show if you will.

Having just wrapped up a hugely successful and exciting IMS, I thought I’d talk about some of my impressions about the differences between DAC and IMS. Since AWR’s executive VP and long-time DAC/MTT veteran Ted Miracco also attended, I’ve invited him to share this blog with me because he has lots of good thoughts as well.

 

Ted:

Twenty years ago I attended my first DAC in Las Vegas and what a change 20 years makes! The 1989 DAC was a sizzling show with all the leading electronics and semiconductor companies from around the world gathered to see what new technology was available to streamline design and revolutionize product development. In 1989 the show included the leading hardware vendors of the day. Apollo Computer and Sun Microsystems were battling between themselves for the world’s fastest workstations while fending off IBM, Hewlett Packard and DEC, who were trying to muscle into this super hot market for engineering workstations.

The relatively new EDA industry included the “big three” of their day: Mentor Graphics, Daisy, and Valid Logic Systems plus the newcomer Cadence Design Systems. The show in those days really wasn’t about The Big Three, since there were also literally hundreds of start-ups, some well funded, some working out of garages, but all sharing a common energy and enthusiasm to shake up the world with new ideas.  Two of the hottest of the hot were Gateway Design with their Verilog simulator and Synopsys, who was a leader in a new technology called logic synthesis.

 

Sherry:

I remember those days at DAC as well.  It was a real mish-mash of hardware, software, and service vendors…a real eco-system for electronic design.  Looking back now, DAC has certainly changed.  On the flip side, both Ted and I have been attending IMS/MTT for just as long as DAC and my year after year impression is that IMS just keeps getting better.   Even in spite of the economy, IMS was thriving this year.   DAC, in contrast, seemed to be quietly dying.  Out side of the exhibit hall where Blueray and iPods were being raffled off, the halls were mostly quiet and not well-traversed by designers.  I have my own ideas about why the difference in these two shows.  Ted, what do you think?

 

Ted:

At this latest DAC, the first thing that struck me is, where are all the young people? All the new computer science grads and young engineers with ideas seem to be writing apps for the iPhone rather than trying to develop the software and algorithms that actually enabled the iPhone to exist in the first place. EDA is in a rather dismal state these days. With today’s largely ‘digital’ EDA industry being driven by the Big Three (Synopsys, Cadence & Mentor) and all them in a state of flux with “restructurings” and single digit stock prices, it’s no wonder the show is shrinking.   Synopsys, the hot start up from 1989, is today the biggest of the big and the only one that is weathering the storm with any semblance of grace or continuity. As far as startups, there are a few and I saw at least three companies doing really exciting things like timing validation, analog placement and advanced noise modeling in CMOS substrates, But the energy, the thrill of entrepreneurship appears to be gone….

 

Sherry:

Interesting perspective Ted.  The state of the EDA industry has seen brighter days, I’ll give you that.  But I also think that young people aren’t at DAC anymore because there really isn’t much being offered to satisfy their appetites for learning.   In contrast, MTT this year and all along, has been mobbed with students and grass roots engineers soaking up all the wireless information everywhere they look – a full eco-system of microwave & RF firms are on the show floor working side by side.  Perhaps also because IMS is run by, and thoroughly vetted by the IEEE, it is a solid and intellectually meaty forum.  IMS welcomes and encourages students and universities with a free student day, the student design contest and a student happy hour.

DAC, on the other hand, seems to have become more about high-level execs doing deals behind closed doors. The technical program isn’t very robust and anything technically exciting is being shown behind closed doors by appointment only in the private demo suites. At DAC there is no mixing of the execs and the general engineering community—no diversity if you will. At MTT, we’re all rubbing elbows out in the open, on the show floor and sharing information, opinions and insights.

 

Ted:

One of the things about DAC is that it has traditionally relied on the prestige of the EDA industry. With EDA now a mature commodity solution and almost exclusively driven by the big three, the ROI for the show as it pertains to small and medium firms like AWR just isn’t there.  Even in the heydays of DAC, the ROI was hard to justify but it was always argued that DAC was THE show to be seen at if you were a serious contender in the EDA industry. Essentially, most exhibitors didn’t go to DAC to make sales, they went because you would be conspicuous by your absence. This stopped being the case a few years back and we were one of the first to stop exhibiting.  Looking back now, it was and still is the right decision for AWR.

 

Sherry:

Thanks Ted for sharing your thoughts on DAC and IMS.  We agree that DAC is struggling to survive while IMS is thriving. The reasons behind this are likely many and we’ve touched upon our thoughts.  What else are we missing?  It would be great to hear more from the audience who attends one or both shows.  Also, how about next we chat about the state of the EDA industry in general?  What’s working and what’s not.  Thanks again Ted!


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