"Students are in great position to solve some problems because they are untainted by the knowledge of what can't be done," said Ray Ozzie, Microsoft's chief software architect in Cairo, Egypt.
Ozzie was there for a Microsoft student competition designed to help meet the United Nation's Millennium Goals.
Over the past year, students have participated in local, regional and online competitions which are based on nine categories: Software Design, Embedded Development, Game Development, IT Challenge, Robotics and Algorithms, MashUp, Photography, Short Film and Design.
Compare that optimism to what the EDA industry is facing. A panel at DAC entitled "EDA in Flux " Should I Stay or Should I Go?" will review the current job situation in EDA and provide a historical perspective for previous recessions.
But things are really not that bad. It just is a matter of perspective.
A user track at DAC takes on the topic of "Front-End Power Planning and Analysis". Moderated by Sun Microsystems, it will have representatives from NEC, Cisco, Texas Instruments, Atrenta, Intel and STMicroelectronics present case histories of how they tackled the power analysis in their designs.
That's a start.
And a Low-Power Coalition Workshop on Sunday, July 27 will discuss the Low-Power Coalition (LPC) as defined by Si2 and published as a power-aware reference flow recommended to the industry. The panel will discuss "What's Next," and a selection of advanced tools wull be presented to improve power-aware design.
Asking "what's next" is better than "what now?".
And at the upcoming NIWeek, there will be plenty of innovation in the robotics area where power management considerations are always at the top of design decisions. Indeed the robotics competitions for students and the academic program at NIWeek might be just as interesting as the Microsoft competitions held in Cairo.
The point is to make engineering fun at an early age.
As Microsoft's Ozzie, who has been in the industry for 30 years and programming for 40 years, said about students: "They don't know how we have tried to solve problems in the past; and have new ideas and can take advantage of the latest technologies available. They think about things in a markedly different way and that gives them the opportunity to do things that people my age would not attempt."