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Title: Perspectives on and EDA Career

Dr. Robert Brayton

From the University of California at Berkeley, CA


Dr. Robert Brayton - Univ. of California, Berkeley, CA


Professor Brayton described his two-part, 47-year career in EDA, starting out in the Mathematical Sciences Department at IBM Research in Yorktown Heights NY. Back in 1961 there was essentially no EDA, and Brayton initially worked on theoretical methods for nonlinear circuits. He described the current technologies used back then including transistors, computers, memory, and writing technical papers. After a few years at IBM he got involved in EDA through circuit simulation and trying to answer a question of why a 6-transistor circuit was taking so long to solve numerically. This work (with Gary Hachtel and Fred Gustavson) evolved into the IBM ASTAP-II program (a SPICE-like simulator), using a new formulation of circuit equations, sparse matrix solving, and stiff numerical methods. Later he got involved in logic synthesis, initially through trying to understand and program a method for mapping logic into a complex circuit family. This led to more work on exotic circuits and eventually a very productive summer of work on logic synthesis with colleagues Alberto Sangiovanni and Gary Hachtel. This work led to the MIS/SIS logic synthesis systems at UC Berkeley where he moved to in 1987. Work in logic synthesis continued for many years and led to related methods in formal verification and the VIS formal verification system.

More recent efforts were in multi-valued logic synthesis and the MVSIS system and the current system, ABC, for sequential synthesis and verification being developed with his colleague Alan Mishchenko. He ended up his talk by citing a number of factors that led to his successful career - choosing the right jobs, choosing talented and knowledgeable colleagues and students, having a lot of luck, and getting into areas early. His advice when asked what he thought would be the next relevant area to work on was to not take his advice - he has been wrong too often - but to work on things that stir your passions.

Biographical sketch

Robert Brayton received the BSEE degree from Iowa State University in 1956 and the Ph.D. degree in mathematics from MIT in 1961. He was a member of the Mathematical Sciences Department of the IBM T. J. Watson Research Center until he joined the EECS Department at Berkeley in 1987. He held the Edgar L. and Harold H. Buttner Endowed Chair and is currently the Cadence Distinguished Professor of Electrical Engineering at Berkeley. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, and a Fellow of the IEEE and the AAAS. He received the 1991 IEEE CAS Technical Achievement Award, the 1971 IEEE Guilleman-Cauer award, the 1987 ISCAS Darlington award. In 2000, he received the 2000 CAS Golden Jubilee and the IEEE Millennium Medals, the 2002 Iowa State University Marston Medal, and in 2006, the IEEE Emanuel R. Piore, the ACM Kanallakis and the EDAA lifetime achievement awards. In 2007 he received the EDAC/CEDA Phil Kaufman award. He has authored over 450 technical papers, and 10 books in the areas of the analysis of nonlinear networks, simulation and optimization of electrical circuits, logic synthesis, and formal design verification.

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