EDACafe Weekly Review December 18th, 2017

Looking Back on 2017
December 18, 2017  by Bob Smith, Executive Director

This year, the ESD Alliance fully embraced all that the electronic system design ecosystem has to offer with a host of absorbing networking events, participation at industry events and so much more.

Andrzej J. Strojwas, Keithley professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, was feted at the Phil Kaufman Award dinner and ceremony in late January, a great way to kick-off the year.

Dr. Andrzej J. Strojwas, Keithley professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, accepts the Kaufman Award from Shishpal Rawat, IEEE-CEDA president (at left), and Grant Pierce, chairman of the ESD Alliance board and CEO of Sonics.

However, our first event of 2017 was a panel on RISC-V, a captivating discussion on the possibilities of an open source processor. It was bookended two weeks ago with a panel on cognitive computing at San Jose State University, both organized and moderated by Jim Hogan of Vista Ventures. That evening closed out our 2017 events calendar. We are grateful to Jim for his continued support of the ESD Alliance and for bringing to the forefront new topics our community wants to learn about.

The CEO Outlook in April was deemed a success and we’ve been encouraged to do it again in 2018. Another successful evening was “Empowering Leadership with WIT and WISDOM” co-hosted by ANSYS, the ESD Alliance and SEMI. Julie Rogers, our director of marketing and operations, wrote a recent blog about it in this space.

Photos of all the 2017 events are found on the ESD Alliance website at: www.esd-alliance.org

We had plenty of news on the member front. Grant A. Pierce, CEO of Sonics, was elected by the Board of Directors to serve as its chairman, while Mentor was acquired by Siemens, and later in the year, Mentor, a Siemens Business, acquired Solido. We welcomed several new member companies this year, including CAST, EDDR Software, Helic and SoC Solutions, now part of Silvaco.

Happy Talk: CEOs, Celebrity, Seasoning
December 14, 2017  by Peggy Aycinena


It’s an honor and a pain to interview a CEO
, particularly the CEO of a publicly traded company.

An honor, because the CEO’s organization has decided your track record as a journalist warrants a few minutes of time with the company’s leadership. A pain, because the more highly paid the CEO, the larger the organization, the bigger the market cap, the less unvarnished the truth you’ll hear during the interview.

It’s guaranteed, while interviewing a high-flying CEO, that you’ll hear that everything is great with the company. The customers love the company’s products, can’t live without them, and assist and insist on helping the company produce its next release.

The Future: EDA Hiring faces Headwinds
December 14, 2017  by Peggy Aycinena


The leading EDA recruitment guru, Mark Gilbert,
regularly sends out info about job openings to his extensive contact list. In a recent such email, I took the time to read the job descriptions in detail and was amazed. These openings are so technical and so unique, I had to call Mark.

“These job requirements are so specific,” I said when he picked up, “surely there can’t be more than a few dozen people who fill the bill. How do you ever find them?”

Mark laughed: “You’re right. There are so few matches for these companies, given their job requirements and the correct combination of skills they’re looking for. For me to fill one position, I can look at several thousand resumes. And each resume is incredibly comprehensive.

“But I’m looking for the one guy that has this and that skill, but not the other. Yet there are very few people who have those qualifications.”

#55DAC 2: Teams tackle deep learning in DAC design contest
December 13, 2017  by Sharon Hu - General Chair DAC55 and a professor in dept of CS and Engineering at Univ of Nortre Dame, Indiana


When it comes to tackling leading-edge design challenges in fun ways, there’s no better place than DAC. For DAC 2018, we’ve created a System Design Contest targeting machine learning on embedded hardware.

If you think this is too leading edge for a design contest, you’d be mistaken: More than 100 teams registered for the contest. You can find a full list of the teams here: http://www.cse.cuhk.edu.hk/~byu/2018-DAC-HDC/teams.html

So how does the contest work:

Teams had the choice of using a Xilinx PynQ-Z1 FPGA-based development system or an NVIDIA Jetson TX2 development system, as well as software and deep-learning tools kits. Xilinx and NVIDIA donated boards to support the efforts.

Drone maker DJI donated a data-set that included more than 100 video clips with full annotation of the bounding box for the tracking object (a person or car).

The teams built either FPGA- or GPU-based systems to track people and vehicles from consumer drones using deep learning methods running on advanced embedded systems platforms. A hidden dataset is used to evaluate the performance of the designs in terms of accuracy and power consumption.

Recently, we had the opportunity to interview Grant Imahara at the Arm TechCon 2017 Conference in Santa Clara, CA.

Grant is the celebrity engineer spokesperson for Mouser Electronics, the leading global New Product Introduction (NPI) distributor. Grant is an electrical engineer, roboticist, and television host. He is best known for his work on the television series MythBusters, where he designed and built numerous robots and specialized in operating the various computers and electronics that were utilized to objectively test myths. More recently, Grant has partnered with Mouser Electronics in launching its Empowering Innovation Together program, where he hosts webisodes and contributes blog posts and articles.

Grant visited our EDACafe exhibition booth at Arm TechCon for an interesting interview that covered many topics, including his relationship with Mouser Electronics.

Interview with Grant Imahara at Arm TechCon 2017


EDACafe: Can you discuss your relationship with Mouser Electronics and what you do with the company?

Grant I: I am Mouser’s celebrity engineer spokesman, which is kind of funny because generally speaking, engineers are not the rock stars and don’t often get the recognition we deserve for all the amazing things that we do. Mouser said, “Let’s take a person who is a known face from TV, who is also an engineer and make them our spokesperson.” So, here I am.

DownStream: Solutions for Post Processing PCB Designs

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