System-level design (SLD) is considered by many as the next frontier in electronic design automation (EDA). SLD means many things to different people since there is no wide agreement on a definition of the term. Academia, designers, and EDA experts have taken different avenues to attack the problem, for the most part springing from the basis of traditional EDA and trying to raise the level of abstraction at which integrated circuit designs are captured, analyzed, and synthesized from. However, my opinion is that this is just the tip of the iceberg of a much bigger problem that is common to all system industry. In particular, I believe that notwithstanding the obvious differences in the vertical industrial segments (for example, consumer, automotive, computing, and communication), there is a common underlying basis that can be explored.

This basis may yield a novel EDA industry and even a novel engineering field that could bring substantial productivity gains not only to the semiconductor industry but to all system industries including industrial and automotive, communication and computing, avionics and building automation, space and agriculture, and health and security, in short, a real technical renaissance.

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