How exciting - I've just been asked to give the keynote presentation at next year's annual FPGA-Forum, which is to be held in Trondheim, Norway.
I love how every day brings something new and exciting. Sometimes this can be as simple as an interesting quote I’ve not previously heard, or perhaps a tidbit of trivia that tickles my fancy, or maybe a joke that makes me laugh out loud. And then there are times when – out of the blue – someone calls to say…
...well, let’s take today, for example. I just received a call from Espen Tallaksen in Norway on behalf of the FPGA-Forum Program Committee. Espen asked if I would like to give the keynote presentation at next year’s annual FPGA-Forum, which is to be held in Trondheim, Norway, on Tuesday 14th and Wednesday 15th February 2012.
Wow! How exciting – although I’ve been to Denmark and Sweden a couple of times, thus far I’ve never been fortunate enough to visit Norway, so this will be a real treat.
I just took a stroll through the Wikipedia. Did you know that archaeological findings indicate the area currently constituting Norway has been inhabited since at least the 10th millennium BC? Or what about the Human Development Index (HDI), which is a comparative measure of life expectancy, literacy, education, and standards of living for countries worldwide. Were you aware that from 2001 to 2007, and then again in 2009 and 2010, Norway had the highest HDI in the world?
Of course Norway is famous for many things – especially its great explorers – such as Roald Engelbregt Gravning Amundsen (often referred to as "the last of the Vikings") who led the first group of humans to reach the Geographic South Pole on December 14, 1911.
And then there’s my personal hero – the Norwegian explorer and writer Thor Heyerdahl. In particular, I am in awe of his 1947 expedition across the Pacific Ocean from South America to the Polynesian islands on a raft called the Kon-Tiki that was constructed out of balsa logs. Thor and his five companions sailed the raft for 101 days over 4,300 miles across the Pacific Ocean before smashing into a reef at Raroia in the Tuamotu Islands on August 7, 1947.
I first read Kon-Tiki the book many years ago (along with all of Thor’s other works) when I was a teenager, but I had never hoped to see any videos of this incredible feat. Then, last year, I purchased a copy of the book for my father-in-law, who loves to sail. While searching for the book I discovered that Thor and his team had carried a film camera on the trip with them, and that the film they took was later made into an award-winning documentary (Click Here to see the DVD on Amazon). So I immediately ordered the DVD and watched it with my father-in-law … and it was absolutely amazing.
The original Kon-Tiki raft is now on display in the Kon-Tiki Museum in Oslo. I just checked on Google (isn’t the Internet wonderful) to discover that Oslo is about 500 kilometers (310 miles) from Trondheim, which is where the FPGA-Forum is to be held. I don’t care. I really want to see the Kon-Tiki in real life. Somehow I intend to make this happen.
But we digress… again from the Wikipedia I discover that Trondheim (of which I’ve seen references in numerous books) is the third most populous city in Norway. The “pin” in the image below shows Trondheim’s location on the map. Also, you can just see Olso in the bottom right-hand corner of the country.
Trondheim – which looks to be absolutely beautiful as shown in the picture below – lies on the south shore of the Trondheimsfjord at the mouth of the river Nidelva. The city is dominated by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), SINTEF, St. Olavs University Hospital and other technology-oriented institutions.
Speaking of fjords, Norway has some of the most spectacular vistas in the world. If you perform a search for “fjords of Norway” on Google you’ll see what I’m talking about.
Of course as soon as someone starts talking about Norway and its fjords, I cannot help myself from thinking about Monty Python’s Parrot Sketch in which John Cleese purchases a “Norwegian Blue” that turns out to be less lively than he had hoped. When he returns the parrot to the pet store saying “This parrot is no more,” Michael Palin responds “No, it’s just pining for the fjords.”
And then, of course, we have the aurora borealis (or the northern lights), named after the Roman goddess of dawn, Aurora, and the Greek name for the north wind, Boreas. I’ve heard that – if you are lucky with regard to the day and time – you can see mind-bogglingly spectacular displays in Trondheim.
I just bounced over to take a look at the FPGA-Forum’s website, but it’s all in Norwegian and I have to admit to being a tad “rusty” in that tongue. We can only hope that they expect me to give my talk in English, otherwise I shall be obliged to perform it in mime – now that would be a keynote to remember!