You would probably have learned more about Ajoy Bose by reading his biography than by attending Jim Hogan’s gentle exercise in collegiality on Tuesday night, March 1st, in Silicon Valley. The conversation between these two giants of EDA, hosted by EDAC as part of DVCon week, was consistently unstructured, whimsical and seemingly without outline.
The next day, I sat in a coffee shop and struggled to find a handle with which to write a coherent summary of the previous night’s random access memory album. But that handle would not reveal itself.
Then I happened to glance over to a nearby table where another caffeine addict was buried in a book: The Man Behind the Microchip. I asked the addict who exactly was the subject of the book and the answer came back: Robert Noyce.
So Robert Noyce is the man behind the microchip, I pondered. The only man behind the microchip? Like Steve Jobs invented the iPod/iPad/iPhone? Or Thomas Edison invented the electric light?
No wonder, I realized, it was hard to get a handle on the previous night’s Hogan/Bose interview. They didn’t do anything. Robert Noyce did it all. And without help. Hogan and Bose did nothing, and ergo had nothing to offer their audience.
These two were not part of a vast conspiracy of contributors, all adding their particular drips and drops of innovation into the trickle of technology, that rolled into a small creek of creativity, that ran into a moderate-sized stream of science-turned-engineering, which poured into a roaring river of real change, which crashed into a seething sea of twenty-first century digital life.
Of course, that’s nonsense. Robert Noyce did not do everything, and Hogan and Bose did not do nothing.