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 What Would Joe Do?

Archive for August, 2014

Fall Schedule: Let the games begin

Thursday, August 28th, 2014


With the advent of September, the fall conference season begins. Here are some upcoming meetings you may want to attend.

* DesignCon China – September 2-5 – Shenzhen
Last year close to 13,000 attended ICC-China. Expect even more to attend this year.

* Mentor Graphics Forum – September 3 & 5 – Shanghai & Beijing
Keynote will be given by Mentor CEO Dr. Wally Rhines, followed by President of ARM Greater China Allen Wu talking about the next 10 billion chips to be manufactured in China.

* IDF14: Intel Developers Forum – September 9-11 – San Francisco
Intel CEO Brain Krzanich will give opening keynote, followed by lots of talk about the IoT.

* PCB West 2014 – September 9-11 – Santa Clara
The most important conference of the year for board designers.

* Mentor U2U Automotive – September 10 – Dearborn
The debut of a new Mentor User2User event focusing on one of Mentor’s favorite core competencies.


ShakeAlert vs. QuakeFinder: Predicting the Big One

Monday, August 25th, 2014


Thirty two hours ago, the earth let loose here in Northern California delivering up a 6.0 earthquake 5 miles southwest of Napa in the heart of the wine country. It was the biggest earthquake we’ve experienced in the region since the 1989 Loma Prieta quake, which was a 6.9 on the Richter scale.

The thing about earthquakes is that they come on you suddenly, which is scarier than hell. Nonetheless, at a Sunday afternoon party yesterday in Silicon Valley, where the earthquake was felt even though the epicenter was 80 miles away, a Bay Area native said, “We may not know an earthquake’s coming, but I’d still rather live here than in places where they’ve got tornadoes. Now those are really scary!”

Ironically, on local radio this morning a geologist based in the Midwest was being interviewed about yesterday’s South Napa quake and concluded by saying, “You know, we may have tornadoes in our area, and they are pretty darn scary, but I’d far rather live here than where you guys are. At least we have warning when a tornado’s bearing down on us!”

But is that implication true? Is there no such thing as a warning prior to an earthquake? Well, for those of us who live in Earthquake Country, we are beginning to think [hope] differently.


SIGDA PhD Forum: a Perspective on the Future

Thursday, August 14th, 2014


SIGDA is ACM’s Special Interest Group on Design Automation. They do lots of great stuff including organizing workshops and conferences, distributing and maintaining tool benchmarks, supporting the ACM Transactions on Design Automation, and perhaps most importantly, encouraging graduate students to pursue productive careers in EDA by way of the University Booth and PhD Forum at DAC.

This year’s SIGDA PhD Forum was held Tuesday evening, June 3rd, in San Francisco at DAC. Basically a large poster session, Room 104 in Moscone Center was packed from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm with students, professors, and industry colleagues. It’s well-known that grad students come running whenever there’s free food, so given that a buffet dinner was part of the evening’s entertainment it’s not surprising there was a lively turnout for the event. However, grad students also love a good competition and the PhD Forum had that as well.


Carpe Diem to Nanu Nanu: Keeping it all inside

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014


Amidst this terrible summer of death in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, Ukraine, Gaza, Sudan, Syria and Iraq, how can we be so narcissistic as to mourn the death of an entertainer, a man who did nothing more than ham it up on stage and in front of the camera?

I’ll tell you how. It was Robin Williams. A man who was far more about the wistful, sun-and-fog-filled spirit of the Bay Area, than he ever was about the glitz and gluttony of Hollywood. A product of this region, a neighbor, and a most-beloved native son, he was our Robin Williams. Someone who reflected our eclectic tastes, our egalitarian nature, our breezy weather, our naughty frantic energy, and the boundless opportunities here to stretch one’s imaginations, talents, and zany innovations to the limit.


EDA in Moscow: Business as Usual, the Glue that Binds

Thursday, August 7th, 2014


Ten years ago, numerous hardworking folks in EDAC struggled long and tenaciously to get EDA software removed from a host of restricted-overseas-commerce lists. For those efforts several members of the EDAC community were honored, while sighs of relief were breathed that the industry would not be foolishly restricted by the U.S. Government from exporting their agnostic-to-end-use software.

After all, why would electronic design software have anything to do with communications, avionics, surveillance, ground-based mechanized weaponry, or surface-to-air missile guidance systems, let alone a host of other electronic junk? ‘Just because we made it, doesn’t mean we want it to be used by the bad guys for evil purposes,’ the EDA industry said. And added, ‘Heck, we just produce the stuff. We’re not responsible for how it’s used.’

Of course, that’s not to say that restrictions and guidelines for international commerce have not applied to both EDA and IP. In September of last year, I attended an evening seminar hosted by EDAC that, thanks to the articulate intelligence of Cadence Group Director for Export Compliance and Government Relations Larry Disenhof, outlined in detail the complexities and convoluted guidelines that business folks in the United States must adhere to if they want to stay legal and in business when participating in overseas trade.

It all seemed highly confusing and fraught with the dangers of inadvertently operating outside the lines of what the U.S. Government considered appropriate behavior. Nonetheless, Disenhof offered hope that if companies paid close, close attention to the shifting sands of international relations – pretty much on a daily basis – they would be okay when it comes to obeying the law.


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