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“From Transistors to the Swarm: The Evolution of Design Methods and Tools in the last 35 Years”

"From Transistors to the Swarm: The Evolution of...

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Thanksgiving Break
Nov 27 – Nov 28 all-day
Thanksgiving Break
“From Transistors to the Swarm: The Evolution of Design Methods and Tools in the last 35 Years”
Dec 3 @ 3:05 pm – 3:55 pm
"From Transistors to the Swarm: The Evolution of Design Methods and Tools in the last 35 Years" @ Sorenson Molecular Biotechnology Building (SMBB) Auditorium - SMBB 2650 | Salt Lake City | Utah | United States

Univ. of Utah ECE Dept.
Frontiers in Engineering Innovation
Judd Distinguished Lecture

Dr. Alberto Sangiovanni-Vincentelli

Buttner Chair
Electrical and Computer Sciences
University of California, Berkeley

When: Wednesday, December 3, 2014 at 3:05 p.m.
Where: Sorenson Molecular Biotechnology Building (SMBB) 2650 – Auditorium


Giovan Battista Vico, a philosopher and historian who lived across the XVII and XVIII centuries, was the first to note in his masterpiece “Scienza Nuova” (New Science) that the history of man and his endeavors follow a cyclical pattern. Economies, as well as the power of nations, have exhibited a clear and cyclical behavior. Electronic Design Automation (EDA) has not escaped this fundamental law. EDA started in the late 1960s when large companies such as IBM and Bell Laboratories were developing new products based on Integrated Circuit technology. The ICs of the time had only a few tens of transistors but the design costs were raising and the need to obtain circuit right the first time became clear. The scientific content of tools and methods for ICs ranged from physics to mathematics in a mix that is rare to see in any other engineering field.

EDA technology advances have oscillated between verification and synthesis, the perception in the mind of the electronic design community of EDA has been rising and falling in a regular pattern, EDA companies have risen and declined, the consideration of the financial community for EDA has been periodically increasing and decreasing, and the algorithms used in EDA have swung from general purpose techniques borrowed from mathematics, computer science, operation research, and artificial intelligence, to ad hoc techniques that leverage the nature of the specific design problem to be solved. I will show that progress is achieved when new methodologies crystallize, with new tools and techniques acting as catalysts, that the construction of layers of abstraction are the steps that have helped us reach new heights, that the progress of EDA technology has slowed down just when complexity has reached levels never seen before.

I will argue that the designer community must leave its traditional shores, under attack by the swarm of killer transistors (more than 1 Billion transistor circuits have been realized), and sail towards a new world where transistors have been tamed. The advances in technology have made it possible to dream about a “smart planet” where trillions of devices are available for humanity. Throughout the talk I will intersperse considerations about my scientific and industrial journey from theory oriented professor to “entrepreneur.”


Alberto Sangiovanni-Vincentelli holds the Buttner Chair of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences, University of California, Berkeley. He was a co-founder of Cadence and Synopsys, the two leading companies in Electronic Design Automation. He is a member of the Board of Directors of Cadence, Sonics, Expert Systems, and of KPIT Cummins. He was a member of the HP Strategic Technology Advisory Board, of the Science and Technology Advisory Board of GM, and is a member of the Technology Advisory Council of UTC. He consulted for many companies including Bell Labs, IBM, Intel, UTC, Magneti Marelli, Pirelli, BMW, Daimler-Benz, Fujitsu, Kawasaki Steel, ST, and Hitachi. He is a member of the High-Level Group, of the Steering Committee, of the Governing Board and of the Public Authorities Board of the EU Artemis Joint Technology Initiative. He is member of the Scientific Council of the Italian National Science Foundation (CNR) and of the Executive Committee of the Italian Institute of Technology. He is Chairperson of the CNGR, a seven person committee established by the Ministry of Education, Scientific Research and University of the Italian Government. He is the President of the Strategic Committee of the Italian Strategic Fund (a 7 Billion Private Equity Fund).

He received the Distinguished Teaching Award of the University of California and the IEEE Graduate Teaching Award for “inspirational teaching of graduate students.” He was the recipient of the Aristotle Award of the Semiconductor Research Corporation. He received numerous research awards including the Guillemin-Cauer Award (1982-1983) and the Darlington Award (1987-1988) of the IEEE for the best paper bridging theory and applications.

He received the Kaufman Award for “pioneering contributions to EDA,” the IEEE/RSE Maxwell Medal “for groundbreaking contributions that have had an exceptional impact on the development of electronics and electrical engineering or related fields,” the first ACM/IEEE A. Richard Newton Technical Impact Award. He holds an honorary Doctorate by the University of Aalborg, Denmark.and one by KTH, Sweden.

He is an author of over 800 papers, 17 books and 2 patents.

Dr. Sangiovanni-Vincentelli has been an IEEE Fellow since 1982 and a Member of the NAE since 1998.

Last day to reverse CR/NC option
Dec 5 all-day
Last day to reverse CR/NC option


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