June 05, 2006
Will Blog for Food
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Dr. Saturno's research at San Bartolo in Guatemala over the last decade was profiled in National Geographic in January. He says that the marvelous and sophisticated mural he unearthed in a complex of buildings at San Bartolo - it depicts the Mayan creation myth - dates from a far earlier period in the history of the Maya than experts would previously have believed possible.
Saturno's discovery and subsequent work at San Bartolo has made many experts re-consider when the Classic Period of the Maya actually took place. Instead of falling between 300 CE and 900 CE, perhaps the Classic Period of the civilization was already underway by 100 BCE - the date of the San Bartolo mural.
Saturno also talked at length about his work with commercial satellite imaging to map and predict the locations of other Mayan sites in Central America and Mexico. He said the Maya used a lot of lime-based 'paving' to create their cities and those materials have had a lasting effect on the flora of the area in the vicinity of the population centers - even today, 1500 to 2000 years later. Those areas can be distinguished from their surroundings, even if the structures themselves are buried, because the coloration of the flora is different as seen from space.
During the Q&A after his talk, Saturno agreed that the effect on climate and life forms that we suffer from in the modern era due to the 'paving' over in huge metropolitan areas could have been predicted had we better understood what appear to be the negative affects of the Mayan metropolitan areas on their environments and populations.
05/15 Cocktails with ARC & Toshiba in San Jose
The ARC/Toshiba Press & Analysts event was heavily attended today. Standing at the back of the room and counting, I figure there must have been at least 75 people there, plus a camera crew, a stage upfront complete with bar stools and executives from ARC International, Toshiba, and Cadence, and big screen TVs for those of us in the back who were straining to see.
I arrived late because of my coffee with CAST, so things were fully underway when I reached the Silicon Valley Capital Club on the 17th floor of the Knight Ridder building in downtown San Jose. There's no posher venue in all of Silicon Valley, so not surprisingly, the food laid out in the back of the room looked exquisite.
People standing in the back with me - other folks who had also come in late - were busy looking through the materials we'd been handed, just as I was. The CEO of ARC was up in front talking. Head honchos from Toshiba were there. A Senior VP from Cadence was there. They were speaking, answering questions, and looking in command of things.
In back, we figured out that ARC and Toshiba assembled this meeting in order to announce a “strategic collaboration intended to grow the worldwide semiconductor industry's adoption of configurable technology.” Toshiba has signed up for a multi-year license to use ARC's ARChitect processor configurator. The companies say they're also going to work together on a new version of ARChitect that will be custom suited to Toshiba's MeP Media embedded Processor. Cadence was on hand to endorse the news and to say this is a very, very good idea.
During Q&A, a question from long-time journalist Nick Flaherty went something like this: Why does Cadence need to be here? Isn't the key thing here the MeP ARChitect announcement? Will there be room in all of this for Magma, Synopsys, or Mentor Graphics?
The answer from ARC went something like this: We've aligned ourselves with Cadence because we value people who see problems the way we do. The technology is only as good as the problem you solve, so for us it's important to partner with people who really understand the problem. The meat of the thing is to flesh out the problem. And leaders, by their nature, aren't afraid of competition.
Hmm, I thought - that sounds great. A guy standing next to me whispered, “I think this is just a licensing announcement. This is a heck of a gathering for ARC just to announce a customer.” “Who's complaining,” I asked him. “Look at this food. Look at that view!”
After the Q&A, taping, and general session concluded, everybody in the room was invited to adjourn to the balcony of the Club to enjoy food and beverage and ambiance. The balcony overlooks all of the Silicon Valley. It was spectacular out there this afternoon, plus they had a jazz ensemble and waiters passing around wine and great appetizers. What a life we in the Press have, I thought. There were a lot of other journalists out there partaking and imbibing who looked like they agreed with me.
05/15 Coffee with CAST in Santa Clara
You gotta give it to Hal Barbour, president at CAST, for enthusiasm and joie de vivre. Have you ever seen a guy so excited about life, technology, or IP? I only had 45 minutes for coffee with Hal at the Double Tree Hotel this afternoon, along with the executives from Cortus, SA, who together are announcing a new line of 32-bit microprocessor cores they're calling the APS family of cores, which stands for Advanced Processing Solution.
CAST and Cortus are making their announcement this week because they're in town - Hal from the East Coast and the folks from Cortus in from France - to attend the In-Stat Spring Processor Forum. Because I was in a hurry this afternoon, and therefore can't read my own handwriting from our meeting, I've decided to take this canned quote from Hal right out of the Press release I was handed at the hotel:
“We've helped hundreds of designers succeed with 8051s and other controllers, and that market's clearly continuing to grow. But some systems just need more horsepower. Those designers have had little choice but to live with the technical and business overheads of an advanced 32-bit processor without actually using all of its capabilities. Now these APS cores provide an excellent 8/16-bit upgrade solution, and we're excited to be bringing them to existing and new CAST customers.”
You know, I don't really care that this is a canned quote. I can actually see Hal Barbour saying this - in fact, if my scribbled notes could be deciphered, I think he did say it. I also think that rather than sell IP, CAST ought to try to bottle and sell Hal's enthusiasm. It's contagious.
Unfortunately, although I was offered a meal by my hosts, there was no time. Paul Lindemann of Montage Marketing, who orchestrated the meeting today, did however slip me a chocolate chip cookie as I was hurrying away. I gobbled it down en route to my next stop of the afternoon.
05/08 Breakfast with Xilinx in East Palo Alto
Have you been to the new Four Seasons Hotel on 101 at University Avenue in Palo Alto? That's one fancy place - understated, sleek, quiet, and a great venue for Xilinx to hold a “Media Summit” and announce its new 65-nanometer Virtex-5 family. The breakfast buffet was elegantly presented, and it was a hoot to check out the conference facilities and watch the carefully choreographed event unfold.
Unfortunately, I could only stay until 10:30, so the parts of the summit that I caught were only the 30-minute welcome from Xilinx CEO Wim Roelandts and the 60-minute technical presentation detailing the new product and the new ExpressFabric technology from Xilinx.
Everybody from Xilinx was very dressed up, as were folks from partner companies standing along the back wall - including Synplicity, Mentor, Magma, and VMETRO - who were there to present, as well.
By the way, have you ever noticed that editors and journalists seem to hail from a different fashion planet than high-tech execs? The Press frequently look like they've slept in their clothes, or got dressed in the dark because the tie (if there is one) often doesn't match the shirt or the jacket or the slacks. Be that as it may, high-tech execs seem to be able to look past this small eccentricity on the part of the Press and be courteous to journalists nonetheless.
So, back to the Xilinx event: Xilinx says that customers are asking for higher performance, lower power, lower system cost, and a shorter design cycle. Guess what - Virtex-5 LX FPGAs are set to satisfy all of those requests. They're doing it through innovations in the process, the architecture (that's the ExpressFabric part), the hard IP (lots of stuff there), the packaging, and new design tools that play nice with tools from Synplicity, Mentor, and Magma.
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-- Peggy Aycinena, EDACafe.com Contributing Editor.