Once more, it is both a pleasure and an honor to be
asked to present the sixth annual Phil Kaufman Award to Professor Hugo De Man of
IMEC and K. U. Leuven.
First, a little history. As a postdoctoral researcher
at UC Berkeley in the late sixties, Hugo was a part of the team headed by
Professor Don Pederson where he participated in the pioneering work on circuit
simulation. Back in Europe, at the
Katholieke Universitaat of Leuven, Belgium, he was one of the first Europeans to
establish a research team in Computer Aided Chip Design. This is, by the
way, an important aspect of Hugo's contribution. Many I have spoken to believe
that it was Hugo's drive back then that really got Europe going in this entire
area. He was a wakeup call to the entire European community. In his work with
the Esprit program, and then with the EDAC conference, just to name a
two, Hugo has continued to push for a strong European presence in design and
Hugo's team developed a number of key CAD software
programs, leading to one of the first CAD companies for IC design in the world.
The company Lisco was created back in 1977, and later became Silvar-Lisco.
Silvar- Lisco sold the first standard-cell place and route tools (CALMP,
developed by Professor Sansen and his students) as well as the first commercial
mixed-mode simulators (DIANA) and switched-capacitor filter design tools
(DIANA-SC). Hugo's Ph.D. student and the developer of DIANA, Guido Arnout,
joined Silvar-Lisco back then. As many of you know, Guido is presently CEO of
CoWare, another venture inspired by Hugo and the work of his research group,
this time from IMEC.
It is important to note that like a number of the
previous Kaufman Award winners, it was the combination of design and design
technology that was the key emphasis in Hugo's work. He has never been a
believer in EDA-for-EDA's-sake. If you don't really understand the problem, how
can you hope to discover the best solution? Hugo has many circuit innovations to
his credit as well. For example, in 1983 he and his students developed the
dynamic CMOS design technique, called NORA (for No-Race) CMOS, which is still in
use today in many of today's highest performance microprocessor designs. He has
made many contributions to analog and mixed-signal circuit design, including the
work of he and his student Jan Rabaey on switched-capacitor filter design. Of
course, Jan is now a distinguished faculty member at UC Berkeley and is very
active in the EDA and design communities himself.
In 1984 Hugo co-founded IMEC (Inter-University
Microelectronics Center) in Leuven, Belgium, which is now the largest
independent microelectronics research organization in Europe. He eventually
became vice-president of the VLSI System Design Methods group at IMEC. With 125
professional researchers, Hugo's original group at IMEC has developed to become
without doubt one of the most important and influential EDA research and
development groups in the world. During the very early days of IMEC, Hugo
recognized two important things: as chip capabilities evolved exponentially with
Moore's Law, higher levels of design abstraction would be needed to manage the
design process, and while general-purpose processing was very important, digital
signal processing would eventually become one of the major emphases of the
electronics industry. This work resulted in the CATHEDRAL series of silicon
compilers, which are regarded by many as the first operational demonstration of
silicon-based high level synthesis for signal processors. This
work was very influential, both in industry--for example, the successful Pyramid
design system developed internally by Philips was inspired by CATHEDRAL--and
commercially, where Mentor Graphics eventually commercialized the technology and
called it DSP Station.
As early as 1990, Hugo understood the emerging
importance of what we now call systems-on-silicon, the use of core-based design,
the importance of re-use, and the rapidly growing role of embedded software.
He initiated research on hardware/software co-design, leading to the
definition of the CoWare design methodology, and the eventual creation of the
company CoWare, now one of the leading contenders in the growing market for
hardware-software interface synthesis and C/C++-based design. Finally, his work
on developing software for DSP processor-core design has also resulted in the
creation of Target Compilers, a company focusing on the development of re-targetable
So, as you can see from these few examples, Hugo has
led the electronics industry with his vision and his insight, from his own Ph.D.
work at the device level, to circuit design and simulation, to symbolic layout
and compaction, NORA CMOS, PLA optimization, silicon compilation for signal
processing, hardware/software co-design, the importance of memory and
communication architectures in processor design, and embedded software. Always
one step ahead, pushing the envelope, and yet still working to transfer the
technology to practice, either within a large corporation or via a new start-up
company, and always a team player. By all criteria, Hugo is clearly a very
worthy recipient of the Kaufman Award.
However, I would also say that first and foremost, Hugo is an educator.
I know this is the aspect of his career that he is most proud of. His vision and
his deep understanding of technology and its implications, along with his
ability to clearly and persuasively articulate his ideas, have made him an
inspiration and mentor to many generations of students. Second, he is a designer
and third an EDA researcher and developer. I believe, in fact, it is primarily
for the way he has integrated all three of these aspects of his career that we
are honoring him here tonight. In the time I have known Hugo-- I first met him
when I was a student at Berkeley over twenty years ago now--he has always been
one of the most optimistic and inspiring people in our field, with an infectious
passion for the challenges in design, and in design technology, that he has
always been able to articulate so well. From NORA, to the Cathedrals,
to the Holy Trinity, and The Gap. As Jan Rabaey told me, "His
lectures on digital circuit design that were so compelling, inspiring, and
challenging that I abruptly decided to change directions, and to pursue
integrated circuits rather than the control systems I was originally inclined
towards. The choice of a research adviser after that was clear, and Hugo has
been my main mentor and motivator ever since."
Hugo is a very modest person, and in that regard I
would like to share with you part of a note Hugo sent to me after I
congratulated him on receiving this award. In his usual modest style, Hugo was
quick to acknowledge the impact the other Kaufman Award winners had had on his
own development and career:
"Herman Gummel inspired us (Roger Van
Overstraeten, Robert Mertens and myself) here in Leuven with his enormous
insight in devices and his enthusiasm and willingness to talk to a simple
postdoc from Europe at ISSCC 70-71. Of course Don Pederson shaped my life and
way of thinking and became a friend for life; Jim Solomon inspired everybody
with his enormous creativity, his pure engineering common sense and his Silicon
Valley way of life; Carver Mead shaped a lot of our courses and taught us that
dreaming is not forbidden; and Ernie Kuh taught us that in the end, basics make
all the difference. This is something that seems difficult to convey to the 'digikids'
in our classrooms today."
So, in summary, on behalf of Mrs. Kaufman, EDAC, and
all present here tonight, I am both pleased and honored to be able to present
the Phil Kaufman Award to Professor Hugo De Man, who has played a central role
in creating the EDA industry, through his research and his entrepreneurial
vision, but perhaps most importantly through his inspirational educational
style, his infectious optimism, his leadership and his modesty, and so through
his example to his students and his colleagues throughout the EDA community.
Hugo, we are all very grateful to you.