By Zhuo Li, 57th DAC General Chair, and Harry Foster, 57th DAC Vice Chair

As the industry heads deeper into 2020, it’s obvious that the research and application of AI/ML architectures and solutions will continue to accelerate. In fact, a simple metric to support this claim can be measured by examining the number of AI/ML architecture and system design papers that were recently submitted for review to the 2020 Design Automation Conference (DAC).  In 2018, 56 AI/ML architecture and system papers were submitted for review. That number grew to 92 submitted papers in 2019, and a jaw-dropping 194 submitted papers in 2020. In other words, AL/MI architecture and system design research is growing at an 86 percent CAGR! Perhaps this should not be too big of a surprise considering that McKinsey & Company recently reported that the AI semiconductor total available market will grow at 5x the rate compared to the non-AI semiconductor market. But AL/ML research wasn’t limited to only hardware architectures for DAC submissions. We also saw impressive growth of AI/ML algorithms and methodologies applied to traditional EDA problems, ranging from lithography hot spot detection to physical design and implementation. 
Today, cloud services have matured through the rapid adoption of AI solutions driven by the need for voice and image recognition solutions, as well as near-real-time fraud detection for business transactions. But there are many emerging problems beyond the enterprise that will require AI solutions, such as the need to optimize spectrum bandwidth dynamically for efficient 5G operation, analyzing humongous set of data for immediate risk analysis and response for cyber security, as well as achieving higher levels of autonomy in automotive. At any rate, AI/ML will be a key component in this year’s DAC program. And in terms of design, we have added a new AI Pavilion to the exhibit floor to complement our RISC-V Pavilion and Design Infrastructure Alley. Bottom line? This year will be remembered as a pivotal year in terms of AI/ML research and solutions related to the microelectronics industry.  Keep planning, stay healthy – 19 weeks before the 57th DAC in San Francisco, CA.