European Design and Automation Association






EDAA Charter

EDAA Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient of 2006

EDAA Lifetime Achievement Award 2006
for Professor Robert K. Brayton,
University of California at Berkeley


Every year, the European Design Automation Association, EDAA, main sponsor of the DATE event (www.edaa.com), honors an individual  who made outstanding contributions to the state of the art in electronic design, electronic design automation and test of electronic systems  in his or her career.

This time, the jury has selected Robert K. Brayton, University of California at Berkeley, to receive the EDAA Lifetime Achievement Award 2006. The award will be presented at DATE 2006 in Munich.

Robert Brayton received a BSEE degree from Iowa State University in 1956 and the Ph.D. degree in mathematics from MIT in 1961. From 1961 to 1987 he was a member of the Mathematical Sciences Department of the IBM T. J. Watson Research Center. In 1987 he joined the EECS Department at Berkeley, where he is the Cadence Distinguished Professor of Engineering and the director of the SRC Center of Excellence for Design Sciences. He has authored over 400 technical papers and 9 books.

In his work at IBM he made fundamental contributions to three key areas of design automation, circuit modeling, simulation, and synthesis. His paper describing the Brayton-Moser function to model non-linear circuits published in 1964 is still considered a centennial paper in that area. With his profound mathematical background, he was instrumental in the development of  circuit simulation as it is today. As Jochen Jess, professor at the TU Eindhoven, The Netherlands, and last year’s laureate, states: “He was the main inspirer of the IBM group (comprising Hachtel, Liniger, Willoughby and Gustavson) that pioneered all essential features of modern circuit simulation: modeling of nonlinear circuits, sparse matrix handling (only preceded by Tinney and Walker in the late 50's), variability analysis of the Jacobian, dynamic step size control under discrete integration - all essential to handle large strongly nonlinear circuits. Almost all other work in that area owes to those results although SPICE is so much more popular.” At IBM, he also developed methods for the efficient calculation of partial derivatives and sensitivities that are still in use for optimization in modeling.

Even more impact had his groundbreaking work in logic synthesis. Again Jochen Jess: “The basic scripts of ESPRESSO were developed at IBM under his guidance. Also, multilevel logic synthesis was first effectively mechanized as the "YLE", the "Yorktown Logic Editor" written in APL, then later transferred to Berkeley, re-engineered, improved and re-coded in C to become MIS and SIS.” The importance of this work can hardly be overemphasized. As Andreas Kühlmann, Cadence Fellow and Director of Cadence Berkeley Labs, puts it: “All his work on Espresso, MIS, SIS, etc. created a whole new branch in our industry and taught many students, not only at Berkeley, the basics of synthesis and verification. Despite its age, SIS is still used by many as a research and education platform for logic synthesis. Its code basis created the basic infrastructure for multiple commercial tools that are available on the market today.” And Hugo DeMan, Senior Research Fellow at IMEC, Belgium, adds: “Bob is a very modest person but a giant in science. It is correct to state that without him, logic synthesis and thus the whole RT-level design, so crucial for semiconductor industry, would not be what it is today.” - “How math created an industry!"

With Robert Brayton, the EDAA honors one of the main pioneers and intellectual fathers of design automation both as a science and as an industry.

Last updated: January 30, 2006. Page maintained by Rolf Ernst