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What I'm Thankful For - The Geek Version

Comments(1)Filed under: Low power , conformal, thanksgiving, monty python, moore's law, vnc

Here in the US, it is approaching Thanksgiving.  Traditionally at this time of year, people gather with their families and give thanks for their blessings over the year.  Or at least that’s what the Hallmark Cards show.  Blogs will traditionally be full of these kinds of happy, joyful thoughts.  But not this one.  While I am, of course, thankful for my health and my family (even if my daughter does think I’m a goober), this is an industry blog.  So, let’s run through what this geek is thankful for:


I’m thankful that Moore’s Law continues to work.  My first chip was about 16k transistors.  My last one, in 2000, was about 2.5M.  Now there are sub-blocks that big.  And with the advance of Moore’s Law comes new and interesting challenges.  Back in the day, we never worried about power or SI or multi-corner or Silicon Virtual Prototyping or any of that stuff.  Every process node shrink brings new and interesting challenges – how to architect, how to verify, how to design, how to …  Thanks to Moore’s Law, the job is never boring and probably never quite done.


I’m thankful for the invention of the Internet (thanks Al!), for all the collaboration tools and all of the timewasters, and, most importantly, for the invention of VNC.  Way back in the dark ages of chip design, you had to physically be at your workstation to do stuff.  And when you’re as poor a typist as I am, you would inevitably have errors in your script that would cause it to crash at 2am.  The only way to check that it was still running was to drive into the office and see if the damn thing was still running.  Or to never leave.  VNC changed all that, eliminating the early morning drives.  And greatly improving my social life too.


I’m thankful for Monty Python on YouTube.  ‘nuff said!


I’m thankful for technology and all it brings me.  My first record (yes record) was the Eagles Hotel California (I’m not really sure why I’m admitting this).  20 minutes a side, flip in the middle.  My daughter has never even seen a record playing.  Just the other day, she was complaining that her iPod was too small at only 4G.  Of course, I nodded sagely, and said something about the March of Technology.  She muttered something that I didn’t quite catch, but anyway I digress.  Now my entire collection – greatly expanded from that rather poor start – is now stored on a server and streamed to my stereo via a Squeezebox.  Very nice.  And when I travel, as I do frequently, I carry a fair amount of my music on my mp3 player, which I listen to through my noise cancelling headphones.  Thanks to technology, I may still feel the ill-behaved six year old’s knees in the back of my seat, but I can’t hear the little monster.


I’m thankful that I work with a group of scary smart people – not just smart in their field, but also incredibly imaginative in new and different ways people need our technology.  A great example is with low power equivalence checking.  On the surface, EC with low power is just more of the same – do the gates match the RTL?  But when you start to consider domain crossings and the impact of constant optimization and clock gating across domains, the problem gets much meatier.  As it turns out, the Conformal team already thought of those issues and more.  Oh, and the stuff they’re working on today…


Finally, I’m thankful that we have a pretty vibrant high tech industry, and I am a part of it.  Honestly, I have no useful skills outside high tech – I can’t swing a hammer, I can’t grow anything to save my life, and I’m a klutz.  If the magic time machine deposited me 200 years back, it wouldn’t be long before I starved or was run out of town on a rail.  After all, a village really only needs one idiot.  But instead, I get to work with very smart people who are designing very cool products.  I get to travel around the world, talking to smart people about their ideas, and how Cadence can help realize them.  And I get to write about it.  Not a bad gig at all.


I hope you have a happy Thanksgiving if you’re in the US.  If you’re not, I hope you have a nice quiet week without being bothered by those of us who are celebrating.



By Sharon on December 11, 2008
I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

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