Art Critic Robert Hughes produced a difficult documentary in 1980 that assaulted the mind and eye with images and ideas associated with modern art, the visual arts of the 20th century. Now 35 years later and well into the 21st century, Hughes’ concept of things that are both new and shocking is more compelling than ever. This little essay is peppered with a few things which I think encapsulate The Shock of the New circa 2015.
Let’s start with the upcoming Trip to Mars. Last month it was announced that 100 people had been chosen from a field of 200,000 candidates worldwide to start to prepare for a one-way trip to Mars, slated to launch in 2024. Come’on, really? A one-way trip to Mars? It may sound like a way-cool nod to someone’s pluck and courage to be chosen for the trip, not to mention the technological tour de force needed to get the vehicle and passengers there — but do we honestly want to admire anybody whose death wish includes a long freaky trip to a planet that cannot support any of the life forms we’re aware of, including us? Really?
DVCon is coming to San Jose from March 2nd to 5th. If you have any doubts about going, you should spend 12 minutes watching my interview [YouTube link below] with DVCon General Chair Yatin Trivedi of Synopsys and Technical Program Committee Chair Ambar Sarkar of Paradigm Works. The sheer joy these two gentlemen and their team are bringing to the work of organizing the upcoming event is totally evident there. And as they explain so well, these days that joy is not just limited to DVCon San Jose.
Now Yatin and Ambar, and many like-minded volunteers, are spreading the good works of the conference around the globe with DVCon Europe and DVCon India, newly launched companion events that debuted in 2014. Both were sell-out successes, according to Ambar and Yatin, and will now provide two additional opportunities each year for design and verification engineers to network, learn, and contribute. An impressive outcome of the efforts of so many, as noted enthusiastically in the interview.
Lauro Rizzatti, formerly VP of Marketing at verification-centric EVE, thought he was going to move to Oregon last year and retire, but he was wrong. Instead he is busier than ever, hard at work both in the EDA tech sector and in the larger world of venture capital.
Lauro is consulting with Mentor Graphics to promote the company’s ever-expanding presence in the world of emulation, and he is also involved with the Oregon Angel Fund, a group of investors led by Eric Rosenfeld and former SpringSoft USA President Scott Sandler, also busy residents of Oregon.
Mentor is one of the top two emulation companies in the world, along with Cadence. Synopsys also has a foot in the door of that market thanks to their 2012 acquisition of EVE, which brings us back to Lauro. It was after his year spent at Synopsys following the acquisition that he ‘retired’ to Oregon. Clearly, however, it was a waste of his 30+ years of experience in verification to not have him continue contributing to the conversation around that technology, hence his consulting work at Mentor.
I had a chance to talk with Lauro about all of this in a recent phone call, a discussion in which he celebrated the green of Oregon while also gently chiding the endless rain that makes that lushness possible.
Despite the international hype over the rich and famous of Silicon Valley, the truth is far less glamorous. In fact, I would estimate that for every gazillionaire that’s celebrated for having “won” in the tech sector in Northern California, there are a good half million people behind him or her that have not. That have not “won” big, but have simply showed up for work each and every day in the Valley, labored away intelligently year after year, and lived out lives of quiet contribution — not quiet desperation — implementing ideas, engineering better bits of this system or that, and helping to direct business decisions and market strategies deep within the organizations that reside here.
These are not the people who are in the headlines of the lay press, the business press, or the lead story in tech pubs. And even though it seems these lesser heroes are supposed to read the stories in the press and pubs about their more successful colleagues, they probably don’t. They don’t believe the hype. They don’t believe Steve Jobs invented the iPhone. They don’t believe the streets of Silicon Valley are paved in gold.
Let the games begin. Deep Chip has re-upped its request for tool user experiences — “your most recent EDA/FAB/FPGA/IP user horror/success story” — while at the same time SemiWiki is also asking for “honest reviews directly from the people who use the tools”.
Coincidence? Maybe, but amusing nonetheless and here’s the most amusing part: Both DeepChip and SemiWiki are willing to post tool users’ feedback as anon. That, however, is where the similarities appear to end.
If you’re a software developer or a hardware designer who likes to work at the beach, in the mountains, or anywhere other than in your cubicle, HP announced this week a set of products that are going to be of more than just passing interest. On Monday, the company debuted two members of its second-generation ZBook family of mobile workstations that include an impressive list of features.
The ZBook 14 and ZBook 15u come with 14-inch and 15.6-inch displays, respectively, fifth-generation Intel core processors, AMD FirePro 3D graphics, optional touch-screen displays, and 10-point multi-touch HD screen option on the ZBook 14, as well as up to 16GB of operational memory and 1.25 TB of storage to service the workstations’ HP Z Turbo Drive capability.
I saw these two mighty mites at the Intercontinental Hotel in San Francisco in late November during an NDA Press Tour, and although journalists are sworn to skepticism, it was hard not to be impressed. These laptops are indeed “sleek and stylish” as the manufacturer says, but they’re also incredibly lightweight and sturdy.
Presentations set to cover everything from system design to physical design, with 5 special sessions addressing the IoT, nanometer design, machine learning in EDA, ReRAM technology, and system-level design of multicore systems.
This time of the year is awash in magic. If you want to be part of that, unlocking more of your own internal magic, you have three choices.
Numbers 1 and 2 reside in San Mateo on the outskirts of Silicon Valley, while Choice Number 3 requires you be a wizard, that you find Platform 9-3/4 at Kings Cross Station in London, take the Express Train from there to the shores of a mysterious loch in Scotland, and study for years under the tutelage of Hogwarts Headmaster Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore. An interesting experience from start to finish, no doubt, as Dumbledore is “the epitome of goodness and knows just about everything.”
At first glance, Choices 1 and 2 may not seem quite as thrilling, but they’re certainly more accessible to both muggles and wizards alike. Choice Number 1 can be found at 1700 South El Camino Real in San Mateo, Suite 100, and boasts the legendary (and late) Dale Carnegie as Honorary Headmaster. If you don’t recognize the name, here’s some help from Wikipedia: “Dale Harbison Carnegie (1888 to 1955) was an American writer and lecturer and the developer of famous courses in self-improvement, salesmanship, corporate training, public speaking, and interpersonal skills.”
His legacy to the American business community included numerous self-help books and a series of schools where you can still learn the skills Dale Carnegie codified: How to believe in yourself, channel your inner magic, and emerge a self-actualized leader full of confidence and vim.
If Dale Carnegie seems a bit too mid-century modern here in the 21st, or you weren’t born a wizard, then Choice Number 2 pushes far forward as the best of the three. Choice Number 2 also includes a school and a headmaster, but only requires a 6-week commitment and a few thousand dollars to produce an outcome that’s positively exhilarating compared to the calm, clean-cut cache of the Carnegie course.
Housed in an 8-story building, with classrooms at street level and dorm rooms in the floors above, Choice Number 2 is Draper University at 44 East Third Avenue in San Mateo. The Headmaster is the founder of the Academy, Timothy Cook Draper, and believe me when I say he is neither as enigmatic as Professor Dumbledore nor as dispassionate as Dale Carnegie.
Instead, Tim Draper is straightforward, passionate about his mission, and clearly willing to risk his reputation on the idea that he can turn anyone into a hero. That his school can release the inner magic of self-confidence that produces self-actualized, aggressive, out-reaching, success-seeking, push-the-envelope heroes capable of outpacing any Hot Wizard from Hogwarts or Cool Cat from Carnegie.
A recent early morning phone call to Germany to speak with DATE 2015 General Chair Wolfgang Nebel re-enforced the idea that it’s going to be a lot of fun next March in Grenoble, if your idea of fun is new ideas and exploring frontiers.
Dr. Nebel said the conference is deep into its evolution away from being a pure EDA conference with associated exhibition, and is moving instead towards being a conference focused on applications of embedded systems and microelectronics. DATE 2015 is set to reflect that change by showcasing two special-topic days, one about IoT and one about medical applications.
“This IoT thing’s been around for a long time,” I said impolitely, “but suddenly it’s got a trendy name as if it’s just been discovered. What do you think we’ll be calling it in 5 years?”
Dr. Nebel chuckled and said politely, “That requires one to be very speculative. Perhaps by then, it will be a completely connected world and we won’t need a name at all, the concept will be so ubiquitous?”
I asked which topics would be included in the special day on medical applications.
Dr. Nebel responded, “There will be sessions looking at drivers for health-care innovation in three different areas. The first will be wearable computing for medical applications, meaning sensors that people will carry around with them as part of their clothing or directly attached to their bodies. These devices present challenges of energy supply and other such things. The second area will be implantable devices into the human body, and the third area will be diagnostics supported by medical devices.”
Things are really heating up in automotive design and innovation. Last week, the Bosch ICCAD keynote about self-driving cars was covered here, and this week it’s Zuken’s latest automotive-related announcement regarding the launch of E3.HarnessAnalyzer and the acquisition of software IP from Intedis.
Per the company: “E3.HarnessAnalyzer complements Zuken’s automotive technology portfolio formed around the E3.series [Electrical wiring, control systems and fluid engineering software] and Cabling Designer. E3.HarnessAnalyzer, based on an existing Intedis product, is a powerful tool for viewing and analyzing harness drawings in the standard HCV container data format, which combines KBL (physical data model) and SVG (vector graphics) data. The tool supports efficient collaboration through powerful analysis, redlining, and version-compare functionality [and] provides ease-of-use for sharing comprehensive harness design models and documents with internal or external project teams.”
When I spoke to Zuken reps in Germany about all of this during a phone call in early November, my first questions were about Bosch, having just heard the ICCAD keynote that week, and Mentor Graphics, a company that’s had a foot in the auto-harness market for many years.
Reinhold Blank, Zuken Business Director for Automotive, responded promptly.