It’s day #2 of DAC 2011 and I have to say that I’m having a wonderful time, not the least that yesterday I got to meet “The Woz” (Steve Wozniak – the co-founder of Apple Computers).
The thing is that, if I’m not careful, it sounds like all I’m doing is skipping merrily around having a good time. So before we proceed, I would like to note that my conference days typically kick off around 5:00am when I get up and begin working on the computer in a desperate attempt to get a head start on the day.
Each day of the conference usually commences with a breakfast event at 7:00am. Yesterday’s breakfast was hosted by the folks from Magma Design Automation. When they sent me the invitation a couple of weeks ago I immediately responded “Will bacon be served?” (You have to get your priorities straight.) When I was assured that this would indeed be the case, I replied that I would be delighted to attend.
During this breakfast meeting, the folks from Magma formally announced the availability of a Netlist-to-GDSII reference flow for GLOBALFOUNDRIES’ 28nm super-low-power (SLP) high-k metal-gate (HKMG) technology. When the guys from GLOBALFOUNDRIES gave their portion of the presentation, they made a great deal of the fact that they were using a “Gate-First” approach and explained at length the advantages this offered versus their competitors “Gate-Last” offerings.
I was sitting next to EDA veteran Gabe Moretti (www.GabeOnEDA.com). At the end of the presentation they asked if anyone had any questions, and Gabe immediately said “Isn’t it true that you will be using a ‘Gate-Last’ approach for the 20 nm node?” And they admitted that this would indeed be the case. I have no clue about the ramifications of any of this … I was just incredibly impressed that Gabe was so on top of things.
As an aside… and on the off-chance you were wondering, today’s breakfast was hosted by Accellera. It was a very nice breakfast. The sausages were particularly tasty and the scrambled eggs had mushrooms on top. But I’m sad to have to report that there was no bacon to be seen (a little tear is rolling down my cheek as I pen these words).
But we digress … following breakfast you can usually see me racing around the conference from appointment to appointment. I’m pretty much booked with meetings morning to evening on the hour every hour, and I’m learning lots of amazing “stuff” that I shall relate when the time is ripe.
On the other hand, I always try to make time for something special, such as meeting The Woz at the “Up Close and Personal with Steve Wozniak” session yesterday afternoon. During this event, which was sponsored by the folks at Magma, Stephen Gary "Woz" Wozniak was interviewed live on stage by San Jose Mercury News columnist Mike Cassidy. I was fortunate enough to have a front row seat.
To be honest you never know how this sort of thing is going to turn out. Sometimes you go to see someone who turns out to be a bit of a disappointment; happily this was not one of those occasions. Quite apart from anything else, Steve comes over as a really nice guy who has a passionate interest in educating kids. For example, I had no idea that he had spent 7 or 8 years teaching math to 5th Graders. I was also unaware that he had appeared on Dancing with the Stars. So this ended up being a really interesting session. Even better, afterwards I got to meet the man himself after his "interview."
Actually, when I come to think about it, I’ve been really lucky over the years, because I’ve had the opportunity to meet quite a few folks who were instrumental in changing the world with regard to technology.
For example, I once met Bob Frankston, who one of the guys who wrote the original VisiCalc
spreadsheet program, which was instrumental in Apple’s success. I also met Stan Mazor, who was one of the team who created the world’s first commercially available microprocessor – the Intel 4004. And I once spent a happy half-hour chatting with Chuck Moore – the inventor of the FORTH programming language. Not that any of these guys would remember me of course, but it’s still nice to think that I’ve “rubbed shoulders” with some of “The Greats.” Speaking of which…
Do you recall my Quaffing a beer with The Father of EDA
blog from a few weeks ago? This was about Pat Pistilli, who was instrumental in the evolution of the EDA industry. Well, I met up with Pat this morning and we’ve arranged to meet again to quaff a beer at the DAC reception this evening.
Yesterday evening Cadence and ChipEstimate.com
were kind enough to invite me to their DAC After Dark event at the Diamond Tower Ultimate Skybox to watch the San Diego Padres take on the Colorado Rockies. When I first heard the term “Skybox” my impression was that this was to be held in one of those glass-fronted boxes in the stadium itself. But as it happens we ended up in a super-luxurious penthouse suite overlooking the baseball stadium.
The food was great – I had a bratwurst to die for. And the view was outstanding, if not a little scary, because we were extremely high up – much higher than the main lighting towers as you can see in the photo above.
While I was there I was chatting to an old friend – Adam Traidman. In addition to being the General Manager of Chip Planning Solutions at Cadence, Adam is widely regarded as being one of the nicest and kindest guys on the planet. Anyway, we ended up swapping suggestions for books to read.
I couldn’t believe my ears when Adam told me he was unfamiliar with the Discworld series (see my Got Discworld?
blog). In return, Adam was surprised that I’d never heard of the America's Galactic Foreign Legion series, which he describes as being laugh-out-loud funny.
Anyway, to cut a long story short, this morning while munching on my breakfast sausages and lamenting the lack of bacon at the Accellera breakfast, I bounced over to Amazon and ordered three books:
- America's Galactic Foreign Legion: Book 1: Feeling Lucky
- iWoz: Computer Geek to Cult Icon: How I Invented the Personal Computer, Co-Founded Apple, and Had Fun Doing It
- Out of Character: Surprising Truths About the Liar, Cheat, Sinner (and Saint) Lurking in All of Us
You may think the last book came from nowhere, but I had seen a very positive review on it in Time or Scientific American or something and I’d added it to my Amazon “Wish List”. So by adding this to my order I went over the $25 mark, which qualified me for free shipping (that’s my excuse, and I’m sticking to it).
I’d like to chat a little longer, but I have to dash because the folks at Mentor are hosting an ESL panel in a few minutes. In addition to being an interesting topic, I hear that a rather good lunch is to be served. Call me “old fashioned” if you will, but if someone is giving free food away I think it would be churlish of me to refuse…
Watch this space…