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There's an interesting thread on Cool Verification (http://www.coolverification.com/2009/02/dvcon-misfits-unite.html) about the number of papers at DVCon 2009 authored or co-authored by EDA vendors. There seems to be an assumption on the part of some posters that vendor involvement implies marketing presentations. Not necessarily so! I've certainly seen some conference presentations that were nothing more than recycled product pitches. But I've also seen many excellent case studies in which EDA vendors participated.
Let's be honest here - users don't have a lot of time to write conference papers and trade press articles. EDA vendors, and vendors of other sorts too, may provide the encouragement and assistance to make these publications possible. Sometimes we just provide guidance, sometimes we edit, sometimes we co-author, and sometimes we ghostwrite the whole thing. Don't assume that a user paper without a vendor's name attached didn't involve a vendor, and don't assume that one with a vendor name attached is unworthy of consideration.
In various Applications Engineering and Marketing roles for several IP and EDA vendors, I have published many conference papers and technical articles. More than 50 of these did not have my name on them; they were co-written without credit or entirely ghostwritten. No one has ever accused any of the credited authors of any of those publications of being a vendor beard or shill. I know how to assist my end users in publishing and presenting credible, highly technical material that doesn't involve any marketing hype at all.
The bottom line is that you should judge a technical paper, article, or talk by its content and not by its attribution.
The truth is out there...sometimes it's in a blog
Suffice to say that we want conference participation from EDA tool users, EDA tool vendors, whose who fall in the middle (such as Verilab, a user of tools but a vendor of services), and all sorts of collaborations among these groups except recycled pitches.
Hey Tom. I agree with your point that papers should be judged based on technical merits and not vendor attribution. I'm also certain that there will be many good papers at DVCon this year from both vendors and non-vendors alike. The main issue with vendor papers in the functional verification space is that they, by necessity, will be promoting some aspect of some vendor's tool flow. I don't fault vendors for that at all, and people using these tools will definitely benefit. User-generated papers (*not* the ghostwritten variety) have the ability to delve into topics that are likely off limits to vendors, such as taking an impartial look at competing methodologies. So, having papers from *both* users *and* vendors leads to a well-balanced conference. JL