Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Computer research due for course correction

Research due for course correction lists several research directions for computer design, including
  • What's the right granularity for parallelism?
  • 1,000 CPU multiprocessor reference system for academic research (RAMP)
  • "CMOS killer" and CMOS rejuvenator technologies
  • wireless convergence and management
  • new software engineering approaches for higher productivity and quality

Fascinating, stimulating stuff. It will keep us engineers busy for a long time. :-)

Friday, February 24, 2006

Analysis & Solution of the American Engineering Crisis

OK, the post's title is grandiose, but it caught your attention. Humorous, satirical, but with a big grain of truth:

"Americans, it seems, have also grown too lazy to bother obtaining an electrical engineering or computer science degree.

How this surprises anyone is beyond me. You can float through four years of undergraduate classes sucking beer out of co-eds' navels, pick up your philosophy degree and then head to law school. Or, if you're one of those pathetic young Democrats, you can pretend to work hard at your politics classes, shoot a few rounds of golf for the school team and then whore yourself for millions in Washington. Less ambitious types can work hard enough in a grade inflation rich system to interest a Fortune 2000 company, flag down an MBA and then spend thirty or so years collecting a nice paycheck.

You'd have to be a real expletive to try and succeed in the difficult engineering and science classes"

America can lick the Asian peril by training Mexican smarties

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Trends in semiconductor technology | Gabe on EDA

Trends in semiconductor technology | Gabe on EDA

Great summary by Gabe of an IBM talk on the big technical challenges to scaling CMOS further. Some of the points that caught my eye:

  • silicon CMOS is viable for at least 10 years down to around 22 nm range
  • Power & leakage management are essential
  • next generations of CMOS will change to metal gate and high k dielectric materials. Hey, doesn't the "M" in CMOS stand for Metal, anyway? Why did we start using polysilicon gates and still call it CMOS? Should be CPOS!
  • Yield variability is addressed in three categories: lot-lot, regional systematic, and local systematic. ... The real challenge is the local random variations. Because of the atomic scale of the devices, all effects are a function of small number statistics.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

NVIDIA should acquire ...

And now, for a business interlude in this blog, What would Jen-Hsun Do?

Jen-Hsun Huang is the CEO of NVIDIA. In NVIDIA's last earnings conference call, management announced the intention to make more acquisitions. The article that I've linked to is a survey of the markets that NVIDIA competes in, and offers a theory as to which company NVIDIA should acquire. Interesting reading! Is he right? Check back in 2007.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

One In Two PCs Won't Run Vista's 3D Interface

One In Two PCs Won't Run Vista's 3D Interface, i.e., those with integrated graphic controllers lack the 3D power for Microsoft's new OS user interface.

Sounds like a good omen for discrete GPU vendors like NVIDIA and ATI!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Geeksta rappers rhyme tech talk

EETimes.com - Geeksta rappers rhyme tech talk

This is funny! I must be in the 1 percent of 1 percent of the tech community that appreciates this stuff. Jump to page 3 if you want to get to the lyrics.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Panelists: ESL is promising but still needs work - 2/9/2006 - EDN

Panelists: ESL is promising but still needs work - 2/9/2006 - EDN is a nice survey of what some companies are doing for design above RTL abstraction.

The article acknowledges that the systemC flow has holes. It was interesting to read that people are translating RTL to SystemC. What do you call synthesis in reverse? Abstraction? It sort of makes sense if you get a huge simulation speedup, but robust synthesis and verification from SystemC to RTL would help productivity much more. That is still out in the future for the general case.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Digital designer's plight debated at ISSCC

EETimes.com - Digital designer's plight debated at ISSCC is just full of ideas on the future of careers in circuit and logic design.

I was surprised that there doesn't seem to be that large a market for digital circuit design, as "clever" techniques like domino logic prove to be too power-hungry.

There will be opportunities in mixed signal circuit design or for "those engaged in synthesis and place and route". That's fine by me, as the latter is my area of expertise.

Friday, February 03, 2006

U.S. designers still the best (for now), CEOs say

EETimes.com - U.S. designers still the best (for now), CEOs say is a thought-provoking survey of CEOs perspective.

Note the difference between quality and quantity, number of engineers vs. number of good engineers.

Also interesting is the comment that overseas engineers' salaries are catching up to the US. Good for them! (and for us!)