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Express Yourself
  • About

    This blog is all about PCI Express: the wonderful ways that it enhances the products around you, the challenges designers face in implementation, and how the specification is evolving to make PCIe Express an even more useful protocol. I'll also examine how the other specifications, such as NVM Express, SATA Express and SCSI-Over-PCI Express (SOP) are leveraging PCI Express. If there is a topic that is of interest to you, feel free to "Express Yourself" by offering your insights on this blog.
  • About the Author

    Scott Knowlton

    I started out my career as a chip designer in a variety of industries and it’s likely that a few, of the more than 30 designs I’ve been responsible for, are still floating around somewhere in outer space. My IP career started at Synopsys in 1997 and over the last 15 years, I have seen tremendous changes in the semiconductor industry’s perception and adoption of IP. I started working on PCI Express in 2003 when Synopsys was getting ready to launch our first PCI Express IP solution. Since then, I have been managing the DesignWare PCI Express IP product line through all of the changes in the specification and the industry as it moves towards becoming the de-facto interconnect standard. I received a B.S.E.E from the University of Michigan (M Go Blue!), am an avid red wine drinker (love California reds) and use English as a second language when my fluency in sarcasm just doesn’t get the job done.

    Richard Solomon

    I’ve been involved in the development of PCI chips dating back to the NCR 53C810 and pre-1.0 versions of the PCI spec so have definitely lived the evolution of PCI Express and PCI since the very beginning! Over the years I have worked on variations of PCI, eventually moving on to architecting and leading the development of the PCI Express and PCI-X interface cores used in LSI’s line of storage RAID controller chips. For the last ten plus years I've also had the honor of serving on the PCI-SIG Board of Directors and holding a variety of officer positions. I am still involved in PCI-SIG workgroups and I present at many PCI-SIG events around the world. Back before the dawn of PCI, I received my B.S.E.E. from Rice University, and hold over two dozen U.S. Patents, many of which relate to PCI technology.

Burgers in Grenoble???

Posted by Richard Solomon on November 30th, 2013

Yes, I said “burgers” and not “burghers” but more on that in a bit… I have to apologize for the lateness of this posting, I didn’t realize until I was writing the last one that I had NOT actually typed this up.  So here I’ve been wondering why no burger/burgher cracks have been showing up in my inbox and it turns out that the main reason is this blog post has only been in my head until now.  Sigh.

Anyway, it all began with the 2013 IP-SOC Conference.  Some time back I submitted an abstract to talk about M-PCIe, and in October I found out that it was accepted.  I was pretty excited both by the opportunity to regale a whole new audience with my geek engineer jokes, and by what would be my first trip to France.

The World Trade Center in Grenoble - Site of IP-SOC 2013

IP-SOC is a unique event in that it’s completely devoted to topics relating to IP-based design.  Obviously that’s right up our alley here at Synopsys, and we actually had 3 different papers accepted for presentation – plus a keynote speech.  (No, no keynote for me!)  We also had a booth showing off our M-PCIe demo and highlighting a wide variety of IP core offerings.  Here’s the booth after we set it up and before the show opened:

The Synopsys Booth at IP-SOC 2013 (Before hours)

The conference is modeled along the lines of what I think of as a classic scientific conference – where the primary content is in a paper written and submitted while the presentation is more to get people interested in the paper itself.  Consequently, IP-SOC presentations are quite short – maybe 20 minutes per speaker, so you have to get in a lot of information quite quickly and yet not leave the audience with their heads spinning.  In all honesty I didn’t exactly have that idea in my head when I submitted my abstract.  I’m much more used to a model where the presentation stands alone. 

One big advantage to the high degree of focus IP-SOC has is that virtually all of the audience is actually interested in your topic.  So while overall the event felt small in attendance, the attendee interest made up for most of that.  Incidentally, IP-SOC allows the public to see presentations afterwards, so you can actually click through to view the Synopsys presentations: mine on M-PCIe, Manuel Mota’s on Analog IP, and Johannes Stahl’s keynote on Virtual Prototyping.  I’m not sure why Srikanth’s presentation on verification isn’t linked, but he had good turnout for his session and a lot of interest.  I hadn’t met Manuel or Srikanth before but we all got along well and Manuel kept up a running French cultural translation for Srikanth and me :) 

I mentioned in my last posting that I didn’t get a chance to visit any of the French offices of Synopsys, but that didn’t stop them from turning out to help with the event!  Philippe, Didier, and Fabienne toted what seemed like a ton of gear out to the conference center, not to mention set up much of the booth, and stood there to answer most questions – and help translate for those that needed my expertise.  Srikanth sent along this photo of part of our crew – I think I was mid-wisecrack when the flash went off so I look even goofier than usual ;)

Philippe, Srikanth, Richard, and Didier near the end of IP-SOC 2013

The whole Synopsys France crew was absolutely great to work with, and they went out of their way to take care of us out-of-towners.  That finally brings me to the promised explanation of the title of this posting…  The conference was Wednesday and Thursday, so Wednesday night after the end of show hours the local folks invited us out to dinner.  They took care of reservations and transportation, getting the group of us out to a nice little restaurant somewhere in Grenoble.  Luckily for me (and I’m sure by considerate planning) there was an English menu, so I had no trouble navigating my order.  One of the first things that caught my eye though at the top of the menu was a hamburger – and I confess I suspected either a trick or a cultural assumption at play.  Determined not to fall into the stereotypical American eater, I resolutely ignored the burger and picked a chicken dish.  You can probably guess where this is going – three out of four French people at our table ordered the burger!  Apparently it’s a specialty of the house – and because it’s made with foie gras it’s NOT an American hamburger, it’s gourmet fare :)  Oh well, maybe next time.

All in all, a good event – the Synopsys presentations all seemed well-received, and I hope we’re invited back next year.  Thursday night as the locals headed home I relied on TripAdvisor to steer me to a unique restaurant with a truly awesome flaming beef dish – which I will post a picture of only on request…  So there’s one more incentive to add a comment below and to subscribe to ExpressYourself .

Thanks for reading!


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