A View from the Top: A Virtual Prototyping Blog


The Future Does Need Us – Despite Virtualization at All Fronts!

imageIn  gearing up towards the Synopsys Synposium – our very first own virtual conference – I am thinking back to all the types of virtualization I am using myself. I am wondering how right Billy Joy was in his famous Wired Article “The Future Doesn’t Need Us”. Well, we have a long time to go, I think, and we as humans are not quite yet an endangered species, at least for a while.

So what types of virtualization was I involved in recently? Well, there is a bunch:

  • In day to day life at work I am involved in providing virtual representations of hardware to software developers and hardware verification engineers. This type of virtualization allows to work with a representation of the hardware a long time before the hardware is actually available. It provided real time to market savings.
  • We are re-modeling our house. With Google Sketchup we are using a full 3D model of the house to decide on how to decorate (see the upper left picture). Two effects kick in here. First, the world really is flat. It would have taken me a couple of weekends to become fully proficient on Google Sketchup’s modeling capabilities. It did cost me less than $200 to virtually hire a firm to provide me a fully functional, accurate model of the house within a couple of days. There are plenty of firms worldwide providing Google Sketchup services. The second effect is one of time and cost savings. Pre-viewing things virtually in the virtual house allow us to make decisions faster and to get highest quality at the end – we are avoiding surprises at the very end when for example the cabinetry is built.
  • I am using Facebook and LinkedIn pretty regularly. It allows me to keep – virtually – in touch with friends and colleagues.
  • I have run several virtual trade shows now – we started last year. They allow to reduce cost on all side. Vendors reduce show preparation and execution cost, attendees reduce travel time and cost and can be very selective in what they look at. The next virtual show we will be doing here at Synopsys is the Synposium from August 31st to September 2nd.

So, why am I optimistic that the future will need us after all? Well, with all virtualization the human element still remains at the core. All virtualization technologies reduce cost, time to results, improve the quality of the end result and make the interaction more efficient. But all the actual content comes from us – humans – and will come from us for quite some time. Even in a virtual tradeshow the most value can be achieved by actively interacting with the vendors present for instant messaging like communication. While Billy Joy argues successfully in “The Future Doesn’t Need Us” how robotics, genetic engineering, and nanotech are threatening to make humans an endangered species, I don’t think virtualization is contributing to this trend given that it just makes interaction more efficient. But then again, I may be wrong. Let me know what you think!

So see you next – virtually – at the Synposium, a Synopsys Virtual Event, to chat about the benefits of virtualization at our virtual system-level design booth. In addition, the virtual show will allow you to learn from the comfort of your desk about Synopsys EDA software, IP, prototyping and services used in semiconductor design, verification and manufacturing. Until then I am off doing non-virtual activities during my honeymoon 🙂

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