Plenary Talks

Sachin S. Sapatnekar


University of Minnesota

Challenges in Analog/Mixed-Signal Design Automation

The traditional view of electronic design automation has intensively focused on the design, synthesis, and layout of digital circuits. This perspective has been reinforced by the trends from Moore's law, which have seen digital system complexities grow exponentially, prompting an acute need for efficient design tools and flows. In contrast, analog design has remained largely focused on the expert designer. This world view is now changing, for several reasons. First, several tasks in analog design are now at a point where they can be realistically automated, notably tasks related to layout automation. In advanced finFET technologies, the reduction in the degrees of freedom due to restricted design rules actually makes layout automation easier. Second, the clear distinction between analog and digital designs has blurred, with modern designs seeing a great deal of digital-like circuitry that assists in implementing analog functionalities. For these structures, established techniques from digital system design can carry over to enable design automation. Third, the complexity of the mixed-signal design space makes it difficult for designers to fully comprehend and compensate for the impact of phenomena such as process variations and device aging. Especially under stringent design specifications, these complexities create openings for design automation tools that can complement the knowledge of the expert designer. Thus, analog and mixed-signal design, which has long been the bastion of the expert designer, is projected to be the new frontier in design automation. This talk will present a brief history of prior efforts and will overview the set of opportunities and challenges in this emerging field.

Biography: Sachin Sapatnekar received the Ph.D. degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1992, after which he joined the faculty at Iowa State University. Since 1997, he has been teaching at the University of Minnesota, where he is a Distinguished McKnight University Professor and the Henle Chair in Electrical and Computer Engineering. His research is related to developing CAD techniques for the analysis and optimization of circuit performance, currently focused on both CMOS circuits and spintronics technologies. He has served as Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE Transactions on CAD and General Chair for the ACM/IEEE Design Automation Conference (DAC). He is a recipient of several conference Best Paper Awards, ten-year retrospective Best Paper Awards, the Semiconductor Research Corporation's Technical Excellence Award, and the Semiconductor Industry Association University Research Award, and a Fulbright award. He is a Fellow of the IEEE and the ACM.


Marcel Urban


ams AG

Magnetic and inductive position sensors for industrial and automotive application. From silicon design to system design.

Biography: Marcel joined ams AG as IC design engineer for magnetic position Sensors 2000. He is currently Head of Product- and Application Management in the ams AG business line Position Sensors. Marcel graduated at the Carinthian Tech Institute located in Villach and received a master degree in electrical engineering. He is leading the application support team for position sensors in Austria and is covering automotive, industrial and consumer market Marcel holds several patents for magnetic position sensors and published several technical articles in this domain.