The ESL Edge


DVCon goes off the rails

I have just received my program guide for DVCon and let’s just say I was less than happy with what I saw. DVCon had been building into a nice conference that had many useful papers. As I started to read through the program for this year, I started to see lots of papers from the big three. So I went back and started counting. Forgetting for the moment that a large part of the funding for Accellera and OSCI comes from the same big three companies, I totted up events with the names of Cadence, Mentor or Synopsys attached to them. For papers, they claimed 23 out of a total of 39, for tutorials 3 out of 4, for meetings 3 to 0, for keynotes and other events such as panels 3 to 1 and on the steering committee 4 to 3. That looks rather skewed, but then I went back and looked at who the biggest offender was. That was very clear – for the papers, Mentor alone had 12, or almost 1/3, of the total paper count. Now possibly 1/3 of all of the smart people work at mentor these days, or maybe this conference has become a little too beholden to the marketing departments.

I for one will not be wasting my money on DVCon this year. I wonder how many other people will be casting their votes by not attending.

2 Responses to “DVCon goes off the rails”

  1. 1
    Grant Martin Says:

    Brian, a very interesting point. My experience with DAC and DATE indicated that conferences with a mix of academic and industrial papers and participation were always in danger of being “captured” by academics and tilting too far to the theoretical and research and much less user and industrial, given that academics have 1. grad students! (distinctly lacking in industry…) 2. a need by academics and especially their grad students to publish, and 3. time to participate on programme committees – time which is becoming harder and harder for industrial people to find, especially users. The DVCon programme, which I checked online at, seems to have tilted too far in the opposite way – too much in the way of the big tool providers. At the same time, I think the programme committee must have had a hard time with conflicts of interest because even some of the user and smaller company papers were written by colleagues of the people on the programme committee. In general, we must and should assume the programme committee selected the best of what they were given (although I don’t know if DVCon is blind in paper reviews and selection). This may reflect a different phenomenon than a bias by the programme selectors. It may be that submissions from users and smaller verification tools companies were very low – especially this year, where the economic situation means that it is getting harder and harder to travel and find time to write papers in the first place. Still, the lack of variety is a bit of a disappointment, and I would imagine the DVCon committee will want to work hard to solicit a wider variety of papers from more sources next year. If it only becomes an adjunct of marketing, people will be quite unlikely to find value in attending.
    Grant Martin

  2. 2
    Ray Salemi Says:

    I guess the question is whether the papers are any good.

    If the papers, and their associated presentations, are nothing more than recycled marketing slides, then I’m with you. It’s a waste of money, and I would rather pull the fire alarm and run screaming from the room than watch them (and I work for Mentor.)

    On the other hand, as we say in New England, some of these people are wicked smaht and they may have some good points to make. If that’s the case, its a shame to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

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