Posted by Richard Solomon on June 1, 2018
You’re probably thinking “Wait a minute Richard, it’s not May anymore!” which is why I titled this “May 32nd…”
What, you’re not buying off on me adjusting the calendar? Darn. I guess I just have to admit to being late with my promised follow-up from May’s PCI-SIG European Developers Conference. Sigh.
The good news is that this year’s conference was VERY well attended! If this event is any indicator, then Europe is shaking off any hint of a reputation for not being very silicon-oriented, or not very cutting edge. There was a ton of interest in PCI Express, particularly from folks doing designs for Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, with a heavy emphasis on use in automotive applications. I expected high interest in the PCIe protocol sessions, but I was a bit surprised by the level of interest in the electrical sessions. If I’m honest, I was completely SHOCKED by the interest in PCI-SIG compliance testing – this isn’t a topic a lot of folks get excited about. In hindsight, given the audience had a heavy automotive focus, it makes perfect sense they’d be interested in the details of the PCI-SIG’s compliance program. There were lots of questions on electrical testing, so I was glad to have help answering those! (I’m not ashamed to admit I’m much more of a protocol guy than an electrical guy!) PCI-SIG might have to consider doing a compliance workshop in Europe if this level of interest is widespread.
Fortuitously, the presentation I was doing on behalf of Synopsys (in the Member Implementations track) was titled “PCIe Designs for Automotive Applications” so that turned out to be a very popular session.
As always, I found Munich to be an enjoyable place, and actually before the event started I had some free time on the weekend and managed to make it out of town for some sightseeing.
Of course I ate way too many different and delicious schnitzels, sausages, etc. A small group of us coming back from a tour even found a good “fast food” place in the train station – sausages, hamburgers, and French fries with about 20 different types of sauces. Hmmm, now I’m feeling hungry for some reason…
Anyway, after having gotten so much interest in automotive applications for PCI Express, I’m motivated to put together something more on that topic. Stay tuned for a future ExpressYourself perhaps – but you know me by now, don’t exactly hold your breath!
Speaking of automotive, oddly enough when I landed back in the US and shook off my jetlag and food coma, I found that my colleagues over in Synopsys’s processor IP group were releasing a new version of their EV6x embedded vision processors with automotive certification features. These processors are sold as synthesizable IP, so they don’t have a PCIe interface delivered with them, but of course they bolt right up to the Synopsys PCIe controller. There are so many cool things being done with vision processing these days, but as an end-user one of my favorite is the 360-degree cameras in cars. These take a camera image from each side of the car and combine them to synthesize what looks like the view from a drone hovering over the vehicle.
If I had some more free time, I’d try and sweet talk my way into a development system to play with. Definitely check out the EV family if you’re interested in any kind of embedded vision processing!
Speaking of checking out, before you check out for the weekend, remember that next week is the PCI-SIG Developers Conference in Santa Clara. Please come by the Synopsys booth and say “Hi” – I’ll see if I can’t arrange some special goodies if you tell the booth staff that you read ExpressYourself 😀
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.