Reference Kits Abstract the Details
New technology follows an arc. If it’s something really new and different, then it typically starts with an inspiration or an insight into how to do something really hard. The focus of all effort is then on doing whatever hard thing makes the New Technology possible.
Users of the New Technology tend to be early adopters – folks that can take a novel data sheet, figure out what it all means, and design whatever is necessary to integrate the New Thing into a system.
For sensors, you might imagine the original ur-sensors (many, many years ago) as providing only analog data. And the sensor maker is heads-down perfecting how that data is acquired, how accurate it is, and how stable and resilient the sensor is. Everything else – converting the data
Cadence Acquires Forte
Here at Fish Fry, when big news breaks, we swim to it. When the EE landscape changes, we evolve, lose our gills, begin breathing air, and start walking on land. This is one of those weeks. When we got wind that Cadence was in the process of acquiring Forte, we jumped on the chance to get the goods on this groundbreaking news story. My guest this week is Craig Cochran (Vice President, Corporate Marketing at Cadence Design Systems) and we discuss the growing adoption of high level synthesis and how Forte plays into the Cadence system-level design flow. Also this week, we check out how the Hybrid Memory Cube aims to take out DDR, and how FPGAs can help you with your HMC heavy lifting.
How Much Better Does “Better” Have To Be?
Let’s say you’re shopping for a new car. (Congratulations.) You head down to your town’s Auto Row and start browsing all the dealerships. There’s the Ford dealer; next door is the Toyota dealer. Across the street you see the BMW dealer, the Chevy dealer, the Kia/Hyundai dealer, and so on. They all make fine cars, and you spend some time at each place, kicking the tires and slamming the doors.
Then, down at the very end of the street, you notice something different. There, under the overpass, is a man living in a cardboard box, holding up a hand-made sign that says, “Dmitiri’s Cars.” He gestures you over.
The Case For
There is some debate these days about teaching our kids to “code” and integrating software development into the mandatory curriculum along with reading, writing, and arithmetic. Many in our industry feel that this trend is misguided - including our own Dick Selwood, who recently wrote a piece making the case that programming is the wrong thing to be teaching. The arguments range from pointing to some of the very visible recent failures of software-based systems to worrying that programming is a passing fad that could leave our youth prepared for an obsolete profession.
I strongly disagree.
Software-based systems fail because modern software is the most complex creation ever attempted by humans. Programming is a multi-disciplined, massively-collaborative art that stresses every known attempt at complexity management, cooperation, verification, and human understanding. Software fails because nobody has yet figured out a way to make it never fail. And, the problem just keeps getting worse because, every single day, software becomes more complex and more difficult to create and verify.
Promise and Disappointment
It’s pretty good times and, well, not as great times as we might have liked for one of the wonder materials of our time: graphene. To get a flavor of the schizophrenic nature of what’s going on here, you needed only to go to two different conferences last fall: the Graphene Live portion of IDTechEx’s convention on the West Coast and the IEDM show on the East Coast.
First of all, let’s be clear: these are very different conferences. IDTechEx is an amalgam of various smaller shows, including the graphene one. It’s a commercial convention: presentations are done largely by companies with products to sell, and there’s a sizeable exhibit floor. Marketing content is high. Many of the presenters sell graphene or the means to produce it, so they will naturally be excited about its prospects. (“Excited” is a word I’d really like to see banished from all corporate communications of any kind.)
Fish Fry Takes on DesignCon 2014
The lights: Fluorescent. The carpet: Padded. The lanes: Routed. Where in the world could Fish Fry be? DesignCon 2014, of course. In this special DesignCon episode of Fish Fry, we launch ourselves into the multi-faceted world of electronic design with a couple of interesting interviews. My first guest is none other than Kilopass CEO Charlie Cheng. Charlie and I get down to the nuts and bolts of non-volatile memory, and Charlie gives me his take on where he thinks the technology is headed over the next few years. Next, I chat with Mark Toth (CadSoft) about CadSoft's ubiquitous EAGLE PCB Design Software, and I get the inside scoop on the results of their recent PCB design survey.