Upon Receiving the 2003 Kaufman Award for EDA

A. Richard Newton
University of California, berkeley

Thank you so very much Aart. I was giving a presentation at a university in Taiwan last week and as part of the introduction my session chair said: "It was recently announced that Professor Newton won this years Kaufman Award--that's the Nobel Prize of EDA." Jim, Ron, Paul, Alberto, I am very proud to have joined this prestigious group of fellow "Nobel prize of EDA" winners. I'm also very glad people think of it that way, because I certainly do!

Well, as I’m sure you can imagine, I am truly honored to have been selected for this wonderful award. I truly feel blessed to have been born to this time and place; to have had the opportunity—with you—to have joined a group of travelers near the very beginnings of an epic journey of exploration and discovery.

When I joined this voyage, over 30 years ago now, none of us could truly predict where the stars would lead us. There was no EDA industry, chips containing a few dozen transistors seemed like an immense challenge, and as we set off on Gordon’s Galleon to explore the Silicon Sea together, there were those on the ship predicting that if we were to ever complete the journey we would eventually need all of humanity sitting at tables cutting rubylith and the world’s children, with their sharp eyes, sitting checking millimeter-wide lines for continuity and correctness.

But the doomsayers were wrong, and the voyage continues to this day, and along the way we have created an entire industry, and the ability to routinely create the most complex human designed and built artifacts this planet has ever seen, with over a billion transistors on a sliver of silicon less that a square inch. We have enabled a one trillion dollar electronics industry, one that would quite simply be impossible without us—it just could not exist. As adventurers, we have so very much to be proud of.

Along the way, we have lost a number of our most beloved shipmates and for many reasons, but many more great friends have joined the voyage. We are all on this journey together, through occasional hurricanes and calms, and at times with a few of us fighting to control the tiller, but all of us sharing an unshakable grand vision of where we are headed.

And the journey is by no means over! Last week I was in Japan at an international symposium on molecular biosystems. Wow! Those people have definitely loaded up and their ship has left port on their own incredible adventure. They are just discovering schematic diagrams so far, and haven’t yet reached HDL-land—or should I say WDL-land (wetware, not hardware)—but they definitely have a strong wind behind them! That’s a ship I would certainly be on today if I were younger.

So I would like to take this unique opportunity to thank all of you—my students, my many wonderful colleagues over the years, in fact all of you, for holding a place for me on the crew and for having the faith to join us on this ongoing voyage of exploration and discovery. First and last, I thank my wonderful family—Petra, Neris and Amrita—for their support and patience, as I spend far more time away from them than I would prefer. And of course, I would especially like to thank Alberto for nominating me for this wonderful award.

But I mean it, from the very bottom of my heart, when I thank all of you--for the times we have shared, for the many things we have discovered together, for the storms we have endured and the battles we have fought and won, and for the real inspiration we have been to one another along the way as we have plotted our course of discovery together.

Simply put, no one could ship with better mates! Thank you.