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Posts Tagged ‘Ron Rohrer’

The Dictates of Fate: Andrzej Strojwas receives 2016 Kaufman Award

Thursday, September 29th, 2016

 


Dr. Andrzej J. Strojwas
, professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, has been named recipient of the 2016 Phil Kaufman Award for Distinguished Contributions to Electronic System Design.

Interestingly, this is the first year that the Kaufman award is being presented for contributions to Electronic System Design, not EDA. Very appropriate given that Strojwas’ contributions are in manufacturing and not design. Prof. Stojwas is CTO at PDF Solutions, which per company CEO John Kibarian has never been an EDA company. And with Kibarian serving as co-chair of the ESD Alliance, the organization formerly known as EDAC has now fully embraced its role across the entirety of electronic system design.

Besides this nod to EDAC’s ongoing evolution, the larger implications in CEDA and the ESD Alliance naming Andrzej Strojwas as this year’s Kaufman recipient are profound: The problems associated with electronic systems are not so much in the design these days, but in the extraordinary difficulties associated with manufacturing those designs. It’s really tough, as you all know, when the structures being manufactured are smaller than the wavelengths of light used to etch them.

Which bring us back to Dr. Strojwas. He has been CTO at PDF for 20 years. Back in the last century/millennium, the problems of manufacturing below 193 nanometers could only have been guessed at, yet the company was already working on the intriguing issues of capturing post-manufacturing data and somehow packaging it up to make it useful: How does the semiconductor supply chain glean vital information about the vagaries of manufacturing a real chip and send it back up to the designers so they can learn from the reality when they put pen to paper to design the next hypothetical?

This engineering of the engineering demands scientific curiosity, steely eyed attitudes towards the realities of physics and material science, and a large dollop of business savvy to navigate between the needs and demands of the foundries and the needs and demands of the designers. Let’s allow Dr. Strojwas to take it from here. We spoke by phone this week after his award was announced.

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Wally Rhines: just the 7th Inning Stretch

Thursday, November 12th, 2015

 

Joyful relief probably best describes this evening’s event at the Fourth Street Summit Center in San Jose where the glitterati of EDA gathered to honor Mentor CEO Wally Rhines with a long-overdue CEDA/EDAC-sponsored Kaufman Award. Joyful relief and a sense of delicious mischief.

One should have known something was up when the trio in the corner – during cocktails on the 7th floor overlooking scenic downtown San Jose – launched into a tango so compelling one was forced to look over to the source of the music. Surprisingly and not surprisingly, it included Bob Gardner on bass. Tango and all, the music sashayed its way through the lively mesh of conversation that defined the crowded room in that pre-dinner hour.

When enough yummy hors d’oeuvres had been consumed, and just the right amount of Jazz Cellars wine – the winemaker himself now serving as the Executive Director of EDAC – the gong sounded, doors opened at one end of the room, and huge clumps of happy revelers jostled into the adjoining hall to seek out their assigned tables and grab their chairs, all anticipating good food and great fun.

With at least 200 people in attendance, CEDA and EDAC did not disappoint. Of course, it’s hard to avoid a home run when the irrepressible Wally Rhines is at the center of the play, but this evening CEDA/EDAC delivered up something more akin to a grand slam.

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Aart de Geus: Smartest guy in the room

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

 

Several years ago, after a phone briefing about a new product launch, I received a call back from the PR counsel who had organized the meeting. She asked me if I had all the info I needed regarding the product and the company. I said yes, and offered a minor apology for asking too many pointed questions of the marketing manager during the interview.

She said, “Oh, that’s okay. Talking to you is like talking to Aart de Geus. It’s clear you both think you’re the smartest guy in the room.”

That comment has come to mind multiple times since then, for two reasons. One, you never really know what impression you leave with people until it comes out at some capricious moment. And two, Aart de Geus isn’t the smartest guy in the room, just because he thinks so. He’s the smartest guy in the room, because he really is the smartest guy in the room.

That’s particularly applicable today with the EDAC event celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the EDA industry about to commence this evening in Silicon Valley. Per the Consortium, a plethora of industry luminaries will be in attendance. Per this writer, none will be more luminary than Dr. de Geus. If you’re reading this, you’re probably pretty well versed in both the history of EDA and the history of Aart de Geus. Nonetheless, here’s the latter in a nutshell.

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Editor’s Notebook: ISSCC Mobs, Flash, and Dash

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

 

This week, a mob of more than 3000 people from all over the world has packed into the subterranean conference space of the San Francisco Marriott Hotel to attend ISSCC 2012, the 55th annual IEEE International Solid State Circuits Conference.

Getting there in time for the opening keynotes first thing Monday morning was easy – no traffic, thanks to the Presidents Day Holiday – but once you came down the escalators into the bowels of the Marriott, it was a total zoo. Of course, ISSCC always is.

As the granddaddy of all solid state conferences, it’s the place where some of the most historic circuit design announcements have been made over the years. Everybody wants to be there, and this past Monday nobody appeared to regret not having the day off – particularly during the plenary session when the cavernous hall was filled with thousands of people sitting in countless tidy rows, stretching off into the darkness. Even the keynote speakers commented on the impact of looking out across that sea of people. Yeah, ISSCC is really something.

This year’s keynotes included SanDisk co-founder Eli Harari talking about the history of Flash, a technology he said is now both ubiquitous and unstoppable, and well on its way to eliminating HDDs in its meteoric rise to success fueling the consumer electronics industry.

STMicro Senior EVP Carmelo Papa spoke of a critical synergy between energy consumption and semiconductors: More people and bigger cities in the coming decades will exceed all power utility capacity, he said, unless smart chips, bodies, homes, grids, and governments build together on the efficiencies and intelligent promise of IC-based systems.

In a similar vein, Renesas EVP Yoichi Yano promised MCUs, in combination with Flash, will ease a plethora of power-demand problems and will go a long way to making the world green, at last.

Finally,  Intel EVP David Perlmutter gave an emotion-packed keynote that laid out strategies for optimizing transistor-level power consumption, invoking all the usual suspects – smaller process technologies, 3D stacking, and heterogeneous multi-core devices. Perlmutter’s address was as close as it comes to a rousing stump speech and call to action for the uber-nerds of the semiconductor industry. It was fabulous.

Between keynotes, major awards were presented at ISSCC on Monday morning. Of interest to those in EDA, stalwart industry legend Ron Rohrer received the 2012 Gustav Kirchhoff Award, and UCLA’s Behzad Razavi received the 2012 Donald O. Pederson Award. Those who know Rohrer would not be surprised to learn that when he stepped to the podium to thank the IEEE, he first acknowledged SPICE-collaborator Larry Nagler, and then got a huge roar of laughter from the enormous audience when he admitted that Kirchhoff’s Laws are the only laws he has managed to obey throughout his life.

During a break in the 4-hour plenary session marathon, I dashed into the Press Room for a cup of coffee, a carb, and a chance to catch up with various colleagues. Dave Bursky was there – busy with his new enterprise, PRN Engineering Services, and continuing to astound by attending more conferences per week than anyone else in the industry.

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