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Battlestar Galactica vs. the IoT

“Out of the box is where I live.” – Lt. Kara “Starbuck” Thrace

Remember in the opening episode of Battlestar Galactica when a PR minion explains to a group of reporters why the faster-than-light spaceship has antiquated corded telephones, but no computers or networks? It’s a dramatic framing device that neatly clarifies why a futuristic starship looks more like a rusting WWII … Read More → "Battlestar Galactica vs. the IoT"

The Coming Disintegration

It’s an idea rooted in the very identity of the products that the semiconductor industry puts out: the integrated circuit (or IC). For decades, our job has been to take lots of things that used to exist as separate components – transistors, resistors, capacitors, and such – and build them all in close proximity on a single monolithic piece of silicon.

From our initial efforts, we achieved simple logic chips and analog circuits. Gates and op amps.

But then we got better at putting things … Read More → "The Coming Disintegration"

FPGA FAE Redux Paradox

Recently, a colleague sent me a note on LinkedIn asking about an article I wrote over a decade ago called “Renaissance FAEs” – celebrating field application engineers (FAEs) working for FPGA companies. I went back and read the piece again, and was struck by three things: 

First, the article is still just as relevant today as it was over ten years ago. 

Second, that is a very good thing because FAEs have been arguably the biggest defense the two big FPGA companies have against startups … Read More → "FPGA FAE Redux Paradox"

Three Radicals Walk Into a Bar…

“The young always inherit the revolution.” – Huey Newton

Karl Marx, Charles Babbage, and Adam Smith walk into a bar. 

After ordering drinks, the fathers of modern computing, socialism, and capitalism have a little discussion about the best ways to improve engineers’ productivity and efficiency. Babbage the engineer says that creativity and inspiration are key to innovation; that individual designers and inventors are the foundation of our technological progress. 

Smith says that competition improves the breed. When individuals and corporations compete … Read More → "Three Radicals Walk Into a Bar…"

Sensor for Shipping-Container Forensics

Industrial internet-of-things (IoT) applications have a better track record of providing solutions to real problems than consumer IoT applications have. So, today, as part of our occasional series on IoT applications, we talk about one such industrial implementation. To help nail down its relevance, let’s start with the problem.

Enormous quantities of goods are moving across the ocean at any given time. Standardized containers have revolutionized shipping, and so, today, anyone within sight of a major shipping port will be accustomed to ships loaded with containers as well as … Read More → "Sensor for Shipping-Container Forensics"

Interdependence Day

The United States celebrates Independence Day today. There will be fireworks, brass bands, barbecues, and all of the customary pageantry, flag waving, and folderol. Americans take the day off work, gather in crowded places, and generally make merry mayhem celebrating the birth of our nation. It’s a grand old time.

But, “Independence” is a bit of an unfortunate word choice. It originally meant self-governance and independence from the oppression of imperialism. The not-yet-United States declared their intent to separate themselves from the British Empire in … Read More → "Interdependence Day"

Can You Copyright Software?

“People who like eating sausage, and respect the law, should never see either one being made.” – John Godfrey Saxe

The one certainty in law is that it’s unpredictable. Yesterday’s laws didn’t anticipate today’s technical quandaries, so we call upon the courts to apply sober judgment and insightful wisdom. Did the Founding Fathers mean for us to stream recorded music via monthly subscription? Are the engineers making autonomous vehicles liable for their mishaps? And what do we do about APIs? Are they mechanical contraptions, works … Read More → "Can You Copyright Software?"

We Need to Talk!

What we have here is a failure to communicate. – Cool Hand Luke

The farmer and the cowman should be friends. – Oklahoma 

There are apparently a couple of silos in the EDA world that could use some breaking down. 

  • On one side, we have verification. This is a well-established discipline involving numerous EDA tools and a brief that compels verification engineers to make sure … Read More → "We Need to Talk!"

Intel One API

Intel released more information last week on One API – a “unified programming model to simplify application development across diverse computing architectures.” This obviously ostentatious claim evokes a firewall between the functionality of a software application and the computing hardware that is executing it. The most extreme interpretation would be that, using One API, a developer or team could develop code once and have it execute on anything from a simple MCU to a complex distributed parallel heterogeneous computing system, including CPUs, GPUs, FPGAs, neural network processors, and other specialized accelerators.

< … Read More → "Intel One API"

A Modem Bundled with Time

“The ultimate of being successful is the luxury of giving yourself the time to do what you want to do.” – Leontyne Price

There’s something to be said for good service. When you eat at a fancy restaurant or check in to a nice hotel, you expect exceptional service. That’s part of what you’re paying for, not just the creative antipasti and the fluffy pillows. When you take your Rolls-Royce in for an oil change, you’re treated better than at the Hyundai dealer. (McLaren owners don’t take their … Read More → "A Modem Bundled with Time"

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