How to Write a DAC Research Paper Introduction

How to Write a DAC Research Paper
Each year, the DAC Technical Program Committee issues a Call for Contributions for research
paper submissions. In addition to the Call for Contributions document, the following guidelines
offer some brief suggestions for the form and content of research paper submissions. This
document addresses research papers. However, DAC also encourages User Track papers, panel,
tutorial, and special session submissions. You should determine whether a User Track paper,
panel, tutorial, special session, research paper, or embedded systems research paper is the best
way to convey your message to the DAC audience. There are separate deadlines for various kinds
of submissions. Special session, panel and tutorial proposals must be submitted by October 19,
2010. User Track paper submissions are due January 11, 2011 and research paper and embedded
systems research paper submissions are due November 18, 2010. If you would like further
information regarding DAC submissions, visit the website at or call the DAC office
at 303-530-4333.
Research Papers
This document overviews criteria and procedures used for paper selection, and provides guidance
on how to write a paper to increase its chances of acceptance. DAC research papers and
embedded systems research papers are presented in the majority of the sessions in the technical
program (there are also tutorials and special invited paper sessions). Papers are presented either
as a short presentation (15 minutes – 12 minutes presentation, three minutes questions) or a long
presentation (30 minutes – 25 minutes presentation, five minutes questions).
All DAC research papers are judged on the basis of the full paper which is submitted for review.
Full papers are a maximum of six two-column pages and should be structured in the normal
way for a conference paper – title, space for authors, abstract, categories and keywords,
introduction, background (including comparison with other approaches), detailed description of
concepts, experimental results, conclusions and references. Previous DAC proceedings contain
numerous examples of research papers and can be consulted for reference.
NOTE: To satisfy the criteria for a blind review process, the Call for Contributions at states that "any references to the author(s) own previous work or affiliations in
the bibliographic citations must be in the third person." Also, for the blind review process, do
NOT list the names or affiliations of any of the authors anywhere on the paper, except in
the references section if citation to prior work is required.
Example: Shenoy and Dutt presented a method for listing self-referential citations in [5].
[5] P. N. Shenoy and N. Dutt, How to write a research DAC paper, 2009. (Available at
Key considerations for a DAC Research Paper
DAC encourages papers from both industry and the research/academic community. It also
encourages papers from both the EDA tool industry as well as from the designers that use
those tools. It judges papers on equally high quality criteria, but the paper review process
will look at some different details depending on the kind of paper:
• Tool papers have at their core novel algorithms or novel algorithm implementations for
important problems facing leading edge electronic design automation. These may address the
problem at any level of abstraction (from high-level blocks down to the bare transistor). They
can cover both design implementation (for example, physical layout or logic synthesis) and
design analysis (for example, signal integrity analysis, rule checking, functional verification,
circuit simulation).
N.B. Methodology papers and Design papers must be submitted as User Track papers for DAC
2011. Please refer to the User Track call for papers and paper submission guidelines. The paper
submission and review process for User Track will be treated separately to encourage the
design community to participate at DAC.
DAC has 15 subject categories, organized into topic areas. Each of these has several subthemes
described in the Call for Contributions. Please consider which category best fits your paper
submission, so it can be assigned to the appropriate subcommittee for review. The categories are
listed on the Call for Contributions document
DAC Research Paper Selection Process
The DAC Technical Program Committee determines the selection of research papers to be
included in the DAC program, as well as their placement in the conference schedule. The
Program Committee is organized into a set of subcommittees which focus on the various topic
areas involved in design and design automation. These are reasonably close, but not necessarily
identical to the categories in the call for papers. Papers which are assigned by authors to the
wrong categories may be reassigned by the program committee chairs and subcommittee chairs
to the subcommittee best able to review them. The TPC chairs may also move papers in order to
resolve conflicts of interest with subcommittee members.
Each subcommittee will select the best papers submitted with limits determined by the overall
numbers of submissions, the capacity of the DAC schedule, and the number of papers in each
area. In recent years, acceptance rates for DAC papers have been about 20% - for example, in
2010, 148 papers were accepted from 607 submissions, a 24% acceptance rate.
The Program Committee and its subcommittees will look at the following in selecting papers:
Quality of the technical contribution (design, method, research) described in the paper.
Originality of the concepts used and described (whether tools, methods or design).
Advances over previous approaches should be reflected in significant improvement in
results. Comparisons with other approaches are important to justify the degree of
advance claimed.
Significance of the results obtained – by measurable quantitative criteria (runtime for
tools, optimality of results, time for design process steps, simplification or automation of
manual effort, etc.)
Degree of experimental validation of the concepts. Use in real designs or widely accepted
benchmarks with measurable criteria for results is highly desirable, if not essential.
A good discussion of limitations of the approach and concepts, and possible areas for
future improvement.
The quality of paper writing, use of English, organization and clarity of presentation.
The decision to consider the paper and topic for a short or long presentation will be based
in part on the significance of the work described and the amount of time required to
present its content.
Although papers of equally high quality are desired for research papers and User Track
papers, the detailed criteria used to judge these papers will differ.
Once a paper has been accepted, the subcommittee organizes it into an appropriate theme
session and these sessions are then scheduled over the duration of the conference.
For additional information, contact:
Nikil Dutt
Technical Program Co-Chair
Email: [email protected]
Soha Hassoun
Technical Program Co-Chair
Email: [email protected]
48th DAC WACI Call For Papers
Wild and Crazy Ideas (WACI) at DAC 2011
Submit a paper to the WACI track at DAC and demonstrate your long-term vision! The WACI track will
feature novel (and even unproven) technical ideas that create a buzz and get people talking. The aim of
WACI is to promote revolutionary and way-out ideas that inspire and generate discussion among
conference attendees. WACI paper submissions are due before 5:00pm MT, November 18, 2010.
How does a WACI paper differ from a regular submission? A typical DAC paper explores a specific
technology problem and proposes a complete solution to it, with a full table of results. In contrast, a WACI
paper would present less developed, but highly innovative ideas related to areas relevant to DAC.
What makes a WACI paper?
A description of a genuinely forward-looking, radical and innovative idea in the area of electronic
design or electronic design automation. Controversy is good, incrementalism is bad.
A write-up of no more than two pages.
A logical exposition of the idea accompanied by insights or back-of-the-envelope calculations that
show the promise of the proposed concept.
Fewer experimental results than a DAC paper – just enough to demonstrate a proof of concept of
your idea! If you have complete results, you probably want to submit a research paper.
WACI accepted authors will be required to submit a short video that highlights the main
contributions of the paper. The video should be submitted concurrently with the final
version of the accepted WACI contribution, and is due with submission of the final paper.
Please see the DAC website for details:
Break the mold, shift the paradigm, and think outside the box. But do avoid clichés: we
are looking for true innovation!
WACI YouTube Video Teaser Guidelines This year, WACI requires the authors of all accepted papers to submit a short video that highlights the main contributions of the paper. The video should be submitted concurrently with the final version of the accepted WACI contribution, and is due with submission of the final paper. The video may be posted on the conference front web page and used as a publicity tool to promote attendance at the conference. We list below some guidelines relating to the content of the video, as well as on the production of the video. Guidelines on video content 1) The goal of the video is to be a teaser for the WACI session's attendees. It should be approximately 30 seconds to 1 minute in length, and should be no longer than 2 minutes. 2) The content should provide the motivation for the research and present some high level intuition for the proposed solution, and explain to the attendee why the talk will be interesting. No details need to be provided, nor results. In other words, the conference presentation should be an accurate report of the research, and the video may be simply evocative of the research without actually describing it. Remember that the purpose is to tickle the curiosity of potential attendees! 3) If a software tool or a prototype or a gadget is being developed as part of the research, it would be great if it were included in the video, even if it is still under construction at the time of the shooting. The scenes in the video could be simply a talking head mixed with shooting of the tool/prototype, or could show objects or a demo that can provide some intuition for the project. Alternatively, another possible format could be a third‐party interview of the authors of the paper. Make sure the video is interesting – for example, a video clip of a person reading a section of the paper is likely to be boring! Guidelines on video production 1) Audio matters. Although the users are "watching" a video, the audio really conveys most of the information. Some guidelines: Use an external microphone, and place it as close to the speaker as possible. A lapel mike is good, but even a table mike placed close to the speaker will minimize extraneous sounds and room echo. Eliminate extraneous background sounds. Filming indoors is best, and if there are outside noises that will distract the viewer, close the windows and doors. If you do film outdoors, make sure you get a take with no extraneous sounds. Cars, sirens, construction sounds, a TV in another room, etc. all distract from the message you are trying to convey. 2) Use a tripod! Though cameras do have good stabilization now, camera movement is often very distracting. 3) Make sure the subject is well lit. Make sure the subject has lots of front lighting compared to the rest of the scene. Try not to film with an open window in view of the camera, as this may set the exposure too low, and make the subject hard to see. The type of lighting is not that critical with current video cameras, as they will generally set an acceptable white balance automatically. That said, daylight fluorescents seem to work well. If your camera has a manual white balance, try using that for to get a good setting..If you have the software and capability, shooting in front of a "green screen" is good, because you can control the recording environment (lighting, audio), then add a different background later. Minimize visual distractions. Just as extraneous audio can detract from the presentation, so can external visual cues. Make sure, for example, that the background doesn't have something flashing or otherwise distracting. You want to keep the viewer focused on the main message..Advanced note on lighting: More lighting generally decreases video noise. When you encode for YouTube, you are using an MPEG encoding, which is a motion‐based encoding. Noise appears the same as motion to the encoder, so you will either get a lower quality or larger file. Reducing noise (more light, less extraneous movement) means a better image with a smaller file. 4) Look at the camera and smile! Using a script often helps to keep you "on track" as you talk to the camera. If you do use a script, place it as close to the camera as possible so you are looking towards the camera. Moving away from the camera a little (use the zoom) will minimize the angle between the script and the lens. If you can do the talk smoothly without a script, great. Remember ‐ there is a stop button on the camera, so you can do this in multiple takes if you prefer and edit it together. Most computers these days have some rudimentary editing software that will allow you to append multiple clips. Don't be afraid to do multiple takes. It's hard to get a smooth video in one take. Even the pros have blooper reels. 5) Last, but not least, be enthusiastic! The goal is to make the viewer want to come to DAC to hear the rest of your story. Project your enthusiasm for the topic onto the video. For some examples from 2009, go to