As you may recall, a few months ago I was invited to give the keynote presentation at the forthcoming FPGA Forum, which is to be held in Trondheim, Norway, on Tuesday 14th and Wednesday 15th February 2012 (see my blog I’m pining for the Norwegian fjords). Well, believe it or not, things just got even more exciting!
Quite apart from anything else, this is going to be a great opportunity to meet friends that I’ve previously known only via the Internet, including Sven-Åke Andersson, the creator of the Designing an FPGA from Scratch blog (Click Here for more details) and Erik Åstrand, founder of Vanserum Vision, which specializes in robotic vision inspection systems (Click Here for more details).
Also, I just heard from the organizers that the conference program is really starting to fill up. They slipped me an advanced copy showing that there are going to be all sorts of interesting talks, many of which “tweak” my personal “hot buttons” such as:
- Using FPGAs to perform algorithmic trading on the New York Stock Exchange
- OpenCL and hardware accelerator development for FPGAs
- Next-generation devices that combine dual-core ARM processors with programmable FPGA fabric
- New tools and techniques for building run-time reconfigurable systems
- Quantifying the effects of radiation environments on SRAM-based FPGAs
- …and many more…
Remember that this is just a teasing tempting taste of things to come – I’ll let you know as soon as the final schedule has been tied down. Actually, I believe that there are still a few slots open and that there is still time for you to submit additional papers and/or book exhibit space. [If you are interested, contact Espen Tallaksen (firstname.lastname@example.org
) for more details.]
Of particular interest to me was when I saw the description of my own keynote presentation, which reads as follows:
Everything that can be invented has been invented… or so thought Charles H. Duell, who was the Commissioner at the U.S. Office of Patents in 1899. Fortunately for us, no one listened to Mr. Duell, otherwise we wouldn’t have gone on to create things like vacuum tubes, transistors, and silicon chips; and spaceships, smartphones, and tablet computers.
The strange thing is that people continue to have a tendency to think “This is as good as it gets.” When the first FPGAs arrived in the scene in the early 1980s, for example, many engineers said that these components would only ever be useful in the context of implementing slow, simple logic functions. However, today we have devices running at hundreds of megahertz containing the equivalent of 20 million ASIC gates. Does this mean that we have finally reached the point where we can say “This is as good as it gets”?
In his presentation, Max will consider many aspects of technology, from 2000-year-old steam engines to 200-year-old mechanical control systems to the latest-and-greatest in today’s FPGA technologies and some thoughts on what we might expect in the years to come…
I must admit that this sounds quite exciting – I for one cannot wait to hear what I have to say about all of this (grin). And, in addition to all of the other goodies, I’m also looking forward to hearing the final talk by Geir Førre, who is the president and CEO of a company called Energy Micro
. I hear that Geir had a big success creating low-power wireless chips and is now into his second start-up developing low-power microcontrollers.
But wait, there’s more, because this is where things start to get even more exciting… but first let me set the scene…
In my earlier I’m pining for the Norwegian fjords
column, I waffled on (as is my wont) about a number of things, including the fact that one of my all-time heroes is the Norwegian explorer and writer Thor Heyerdahl. In 1947, Thor and five companions sailed a balsa raft from South America to the Polynesian islands. This epic voyage took them 101 days and they covered over 4,300 miles before smashing into a reef at Raroia in the Tuamotu Islands on August 7, 1947.
Their trusty raft is now located in the Kon-Tiki Museum
in Oslo, Norway. The museum is also home to permanent exhibitions about Thor’s other expeditions and exploits, including Ra, Tigris, Fatu-Hiva, Kon-Tiki, and Easter Island.
The original Kon-Tiki raft in the museum
When I was first invited to speak at the FPGA Forum I thought “Wow! Now I will finally be able to visit the Kon-Tiki museum!”
Sad to relate, however, Trondheim and Oslo are hundreds of miles apart, and it was becoming harder and harder to justify the time and expense of a side-trip to Oslo to visit the museum, until…
A few days ago as I pen these words, I received an email from Jim Torresen, who is a Professor in the Department of Informatics at the University of Oslo
. A couple of years ago, Jim was involved in establishing a new FPGA/VHDL course at the University. And guess whose book forms “An important part of the syllabus”
(Jim’s words, not mine). Yes! You are correct! It is The Design Warrior’s Guide to FPGAs
by yours truly! Click Here
to see the course web page (of course you have to be able to read/speak Norwegian to understand it, but just knowing that they use my book as part of the course certainly made my dear old mom very proud).
Anyway, the point of all this is that Jim has invited me to make a stop-over in Oslo after the FPGA Forum to give a talk to the department (students and faculty) on “A topic of my choosing.”
I think Jim must have a second degree in psychology, because saying I can talk on a topic of my choosing is like offering candy to a young child (grin).
I’m hoping my talk will draw a packed house like this…
I certainly hope that this isn’t my view from the podium
So now that I’m going to visit Oslo on official business, who could possibly blame me from taking a brief excursion to visit a cultural establishment like the Kon-Tiki Museum?
All joking apart, I fully realize how incredibly lucky I am to be presented with opportunities like this. And to think that when I was at high school, at a parent-teachers evening, the teachers told my parents that I was a complete idiot who would never make anything of himself (seriously). It just goes to show that I’m not as stupid as I look (I know, I know, you are about to say something like “Well, who could be?”
aren’t you? [grin])
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