Dr. Alessandra Nardi Receives Marie R. Pistilli Women in Engineering Achievement Award


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Dr. Alessandra Nardi, software engineering group director at Cadence Design Systems, has been selected as the 2020 recipient of the Marie R. Pistilli Women in Electronic Design Award, a prestigious annual honor that recognizes individuals who have significantly helped advance women in electronic design. The award is named for the late Marie R. Pistilli, co-founder of DAC, who placed a high value on equality, diversity, and acceptance.

Dr. Nardi’s outstanding achievements include the creation of new research and development (R&D) methodologies for automotive applications, with an emphasis on functional safety and reliability. A computational software leader in automotive electronic design automation, Dr. Nardi spearheaded the Cadence Automotive R&D initiative based upon her vision for a holistic approach to functional safety, which involved embedding functional safety directly into the semiconductor development flow. In support of the initiative, Dr. Nardi developed a patent for the automatic design and verification of safety-critical electronic systems, and she managed cross-functional collaborations on the development of a functional safety flow for digital, analog, and mixed-signal systems-on-chip (SoCs) for semiconductor and system companies.

In addition to Dr. Nardi’s contributions to Cadence, she works to drive the development of the broader industry and ecosystem. For instance, Dr. Nardi is the chair of the Accellera Functional Safety Working Group and serves on the industrial advisory boards of the Association of Computer Machinery (ACM) Special Interest Group on Design Automation (SIGDA) and at Wayne State University. Moreover, she has spoken at several conferences including the Design Automation Conference (DAC), International Conference on Computer-Aided Design (ICCAD), and Custom Integrated Circuits Conference (CICC). She is currently serving on the technical program committee for the Design and Verification Conference (DVCon) Europe and previously served on these committees for the ICCAD and Design, Automation and Test in Europe (DATE) conferences.

In response to the award, Dr. Anirudh Devgan, Cadence president, said, “In all the years I've known her, Alessandra brings an extraordinary passion to all of the technologies she touches. She is a strong technical leader who is driven by innovation, and she is able to work with both customer and R&D teams and come up with unique solutions to address the ever-evolving nature of electronic industry. I am delighted to see her receive the 2020 Marie Pistilli Award.”

Before joining Cadence, Dr. Nardi spearheaded the technology for statistical static timing analysis and developed four other patents related to design-for-yield (DFY) and design-for-manufacturing (DFM) technologies. The patents covered some key features that ended up in the product that went to market. She also served as an R&D lead for library characterization, which showcased her ability to take on leadership roles across a broad range of technology areas.

Dr. Nardi was featured in an EE Times article, titled, “Women in Tech: 25 Profiles in Persistence.” The piece includes a detailed Q&A featuring direct comments from Dr. Nardi as well as testimonials from longtime key influencers in the EDA space including Dr. Devgan and Professor Alberto Sangiovanni-Vincentelli, the Edgar L. and Harold H. Buttner Chair of EECS at the University of California Berkeley.

Dr. Nardi holds a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Padova, Italy. After her post-doctoral work at Berkeley, she held various R&D lead positions in Magma Design Automation, Synopsys and Cadence. 

“I’m very honored to be presented with the prestigious Marie R. Pistilli Women in Electronic Design Award, and I’m very thankful to all those who have supported and encouraged me along the way,” said Dr. Alessandra Nardi, software engineering group director at Cadence. “Engineering is very satisfying because it’s quantitative, but it also requires creativity to problem-solve and define new directions or find new solutions. I’m passionate about technology, people and teamwork, and I enjoy sharing this passion with other women because I have an opportunity to encourage them to explore, get out of their comfort zones and strive for excellence.”

The Marie R. Pistilli Women in Electronic Design Award to Dr. Nardi will be formally announced and listed on the DAC award recipient website on Friday, July 24, during the virtual DAC conference. For more information on the Virtual DAC program and registration please visit: www.dac.com

About the Marie R. Pistilli Women in Electronic Design Award

Women have made important contributions and strides in the semiconductor industry for over 20 years. To recognize those who have dedicated time and effort toward these achievements, the Design Automation Conference (DAC) Executive Committee presents an annual award to honor an individual who has made significant contributions to help women advance in the field of EDA technology. The award is named for DAC’s former organizer, the late Marie Pistilli, who worked hard to further the advancement of women in engineering. Marie passed away in November 2015, but her memory and her legacy live on through her namesake award.

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