February 24, 2003
Virtual Snow Day
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Geek Fest in the Age of Aquarius
What's fair is fair. If the entire Eastern Seaboard gets to shut down on account of weather, why should those on the West Coast have to venture out to earn a living? Besides, this is the Age of Connectivity. So stay home, log on, tune in, and find out what's up in the world around you.
Let's start with Craig Barrett. He's CEO of Intel Corp. and he hosted the Intel Developer Forum Conference at the San Jose Convention Center. It doesn't matter that you weren't there because, wherever you are in the world, you can see him delivering his keynote address. It's archived. It's on-line. It's free for the viewing. And it's pretty cool.
But in the Age of Irony - the corollary to the Age of Connectivity - you can't just watch Barrett speak. You gotta critique what he's saying and how he's saying it.
Intel CTO Patrick Gelsinger starts out by welcoming the 4000 attendees to the “The Greatest Geek Fest on Earth” and then introduces Barrett as the “Convergence Cowboy.” (Now, that's really less about the technology that Intel's promoting and more about the CEO as Celebrity. Because on top of everything else, this is the Age of Celebrity - and CEOs, like it or not, are indeed Celebrities.) So Barrett gets underway and takes well over an hour to discuss convergence in computing and communication and along the way hints at a pretty interesting syllogism:
- Technology's good - great, even.
- The world is excited about technology.
- Excitement is tantamount to happiness.
- We're driving technology.
- Therefore, we're good because we're propelling the world to happiness.
Clearly, others might have a different take on Barrett's message, but this is a Snow Day - tantamount to a Free Day - and so my conclusions are just as valid as anybody else's. At least for today.
What else does Barrett say? Well for starters, he's got a pretty big bucket for what constitutes “technology.” Geophysics and railroads and Internet cafes are all “technology.” But, making shoes or butter or tilling the fields is also technology. In fact, technically speaking, any human endeavor is “technology” if it uses the human intellect to monitor, control, or alter the surroundings.
But when Barrett says “technology,” we all understand what he means. He means computing platforms that have “Intel Inside” and drive IT, manufacturing, distribution, or communication infrastructures. But that's okay. We'll let Barrett have a Snow Day, too. That's his conclusion and it's just as valid as anybody else's. At least for today. Besides, this is also the Age of Relativity - along with the Age of Connectivity, Irony, and Celebrity - and so everybody's opinion counts.
but happily have an “insatiable demand” for more digital music, video, and games.
He talks about the infamous “last mile” of connectivity between the Internet pipe and the private home and how, today, the costs for that last mile are more effectively addressed in Japan than in the U.S. He presents a fast-paced video clip full of CyberProfound house beat and excited voices from countries as diverse as Peru, Taiwan, Thailand, India, France, Vietnam, Brazil, Russia, Jordan, Chile, Australia and the U.S. all proclaiming their need and passion for “technology” and the improvements that pursuit of same will bring to their people, their culture, and their lives.
He chastises the American Press for being the “most down on technology” out of the Global Press, and for being out of sync with the rest of the world. He reviews revolutionary and evolutionary developments in technology over the last 50 years, discusses Moore's Law, and admires “smart engineers who will create the next revolutionary and evolutionary advances.” He extols the virtues of content creation and distribution for a plethora of digital media. And, of course, he speaks at length about the convergence between computing and communications being addressed by Intel and other such visionary organizations.
benefits of compute-intensive visualization systems that address the needs of users from genome researchers to financial market analysts. And not surprisingly, through all of this, he manages to mention many of the latest silicon platforms coming out of the complex Intel R&D organization.
By the time Barrett wraps up, it's clear that this is way more than a keynote address. It's an attempt by Barrett and the entire Intel Marketing Team to exhaustively touch on every aspect of life that Intel is probing into - which is nothing short of computing “Anytime, Anywhere, with Any Device.” It doesn't get much more bold, inclusive, or time consuming than that. Even in the Age of Aquarius.
But why believe me? You, too, should take a Snow Day, click here, and find out for yourself. Your conclusions will be just as valid as mine or Barrett's. And that's a good thing.
Meanwhile, the technical gurus at Synopsys and Cadence and Magma are out there, as well, with their keynotes from last week's VirtualDacafe. They're also archived, on-line, and available on demand. If you're partial to EDA, their presentations are also well worth a visit and a Snow Day.
Cadence's Ted Vucurevich addresses “Nanometer Design Changes Everything”
Synopsys' Raul Camposano discusses “EDA and Manufacturing: The New Chapter in the Textbook”
Magma's Ron Roher reviews “The Evolution of Gate Modeling”
Their talks can all be accessed at
Meanwhile, back in the Age of Irony
One of the Intel Developer Forum speakers was apparently stuck on the East Coast due to the snow and a cancelled flight, and ended up being a no-show for a Tuesday afternoon panel. Given the circumstances, it's hard not to ask, “What's the problem here?” Why in the Age of Connectivity, Virtual Reality, and Streaming Media should a simple blizzard negate the oldest adage of them all - The Show Must Go On.
On the other side of the globe -- EDA in India
Thanks to STMicroelectronic's Gautam Awasthi - an Electronics Engineer working with ST (India) in its Strategic Marketing Division - for providing articulate answers to a variety of questions regarding EDA and the semiconductor industry in India.
Awashti starts: “India as a country is poised to become a major SoC and EDA player - both in terms of the development as well as in terms of the market.”
Although Bangalore may be the best known, there are many up-and-coming technology centers in India including Noida, Hyderabad, Madras, Gurgaon, and Mohali. The major EDA vendors and semiconductor companies have made substantial investments in all of these areas.
Meanwhile, the “brain-drain” which occurred in India in the early 1990's is now being experienced by the Americas and Europe. Experienced engineers are returning back from these continents to India. Although I have no specific data or figures with respect to the exact numbers of returning talent - with the increasing numbers of design houses cropping up in the sub-continent (even with the economic downturn), indications point towards a new breed of U.S./U.K.-returned entrepreneurs.
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-- Peggy Aycinena, EDACafe.com Contributing Editor.
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