ESC Silicon Valley: A semester-worth of embedded education in 4 daysWhether you're a newbie embedded systems designer or a seasoned professional, be sure to attend ESC Silicon Valley in San Jose, April 26-29. The show will feature classes, speakers, and panels looking at new technologies, opportunities, and problems that will be coming at you in the near future, as well as classes reviewing the basics of embedded systems design in the light of evolving technologies.
You can't afford to miss this conference if you need to be inspired, or if your idea of fun is a good argument or just an idea-laden discussion.Food for thought - and action
Important elements in all learning eenvironments, including the ESC, are teachers whose experiences provide useful guidelines on what students need to know to succeed and teachers who inspire their listeners with their visions of the future.
For visionary inspiration at ESC Silicon Valley, you can go and listen to conference keynote speaker Dr. Michio Kaku. A theoretical physicist and author of popular science books such as Hyperspace, Visions, Parallel Worlds, Beyond Einstein, Einstein's Cosmos and Physics of the Impossible, his goal in life is to help complete Einstein's dreams of a "theory of everything," a single equation that will unify all the fundamental laws of physics.
For practical guidelines on how technologists and technology companies can survive hard economic times, there is ESC keynoter Richard Templeton, president and CEO of Texas Instruments, who will have a lot of real-world experience to communicate. Operationally, he guided TI during the worst downturn in semiconductor history, while maintaining the company's strategic investments in R&D and advanced manufacturing.Learning by doing - and by kicking the tires
Classes, blackboards, books and lectures are respected, traditional ways to learn embedded systems design and ESC Silicon Valley has all of these. But nothing tops real-world hands-on experience. ESC Silicon Valley offers several ways of getting this kind of experience.
First, there is an expanded Build Your Own Embedded System (BYOES) program with two tracks, one based on the use of a development kit for the Intel Atom and one based on a Freescale development kit and a set of classes to attend associated with each kit.
The Intel track is based on a development board featuring Intel's Dual Core D510 Atom Processor, which features HyperThreading (HT) technology and supports four execution threads. In addition, the board will be running Microsoft's Windows Embedded Standard 2011 (codenamed Quebec). A host of Microsoft development tools are also included. By attending the series of BYOES classes over the course of two days (ESC-105, 125, 165, 205, 225 and 265), you tailor your kit to meet the specific needs of your application. And all the hardware and software is yours to keep!
In the second (unrelated) BYOES track, those of you who participate will receive Freescale's Tower System, a modular, reconfigurable development platform that is yours to keep at the end of the conference. The Tower System employs a simple concept--you snap together the components that are right for your end application. Modules include MCU/MCU, memory, sensors, USB, Ethernet, WiFi, and so on. The classes within this track (ESC-305, 325, 365, 405, 425 and 465) will help you customize the tower and write the code needed to make the modules operate efficiently.
TI's eZ430. Texas Instruments will also be offering hands-on experience in two classes: a teardown of TI's eZ430 Chronos Wireless Watch Development Tools and a Chronos Workshop. In each class, the first 125 attendees will receive one of the integrated, wearable wireless development systems for the CC430 microcontroller in a sports watch format.
All conference attendees will be entered into a drawing to win one of five MSO2024 digital oscilloscopes. Offering up to 200-MHz bandwidth and 1 GS/s sample rate on four analog and 20 digital channels, the MSO2024 scope provides advanced debug features, including the ability to trigger and decode on I2C, SPI, CAN, LIN, and RS-232 buses.A chance to debate and discuss
Because an important part of any educational experience is the chance to debate and discuss with your peers what you have learned, we are providing a number of opportunities for this vital activity, including:
"SFT-6: A no holds-barred debate on standalone CPUs vs. processor-in-FPGA development." In this lively debate, Clive "Max" Maxfield will explain why the embedded-in-FPGA approach is likely the way to go, while Jim Turley will patiently explain why Max is off his rocker. Max, currently working for TechBites, is a well-known engineer/consultant/writer/speaker in the programmable-logic space. Jim is an outspoken analyst at Silicon Insider covering microprocessor technology.
"SFT-8: Are Open Standards and Common Design Methodologies Enough to Put an FPGA in YOUR future?" Platform approaches by many vendors are helping to bring hardware programmability into the forefront of embedded design, combining the high-speed parallel processing performance possible in FPGAs with traditional processor based systems. In this panel moderated by Richard Nass, Director of Content/Media, EE Times Group, panelists representing ARM, Wind River, MontaVista Software, Code Sorcery, and Xilinx will discuss use models, applications, as well as what's new and what's coming from the industry for overcoming design challenges and opening new opportunities for embedded systems.
"SFT-12: The State of Embedded", a wide-ranging informal panel discussion that will include Jack Ganssle, Dan Saks, Niall Cooling, principal and director of Freehas Ltd., and no doubt many of the developers who will be in the audience.Learning and relearning from the pros
The best teachers of any subject are usually the professionals with long-term experience who have the ability to communicate what they have learned with insight and a healthy dose of humor. At ESC these pros teach in over 24 carefully tailored design tracks.
Some of our valued presenters are ESD columnists Jack Ganssle, Dan Saks, and Michael Barr; regular contributors to ESD and long time ESC participants David Kalinsky, William Gatliff, Christian Legare and Jean Labrosse of Micrium, David Kleidermacher of Green Hills, Dave Stewart of In Hand Electronics, James Grenning of Renaissance Computing, Robert Oshana of Freescale Semiconductor, Caltech's David Hawkins, and IBM's UML evangelist Bruce Powel Douglass.
A small sampling of the classes they will be teaching: firmware
flaws; coding Standards; RTOS
basics; adopting C++, managing firmware;
structuring code for real time; product failures in the field; signal
processing; software testing and muilticore
There is also plenty to learn from ideas and strategies that a wide range of new lecturers and working engineers will be presenting, including:
"Zigbee Smart Energy Profiles (ESC-200)," taught by San Juan Software's Drew Gialason, which will cover the basics of the various wireless Zigbee software stacks and Zigbee's Smart Energy Profiles, as well as designing energy-efficient home and building network systems.
"Agile Sensor Design for the Smart Grid (ESC-240)," by Richard Newell, Senior Principal Product Architect at Actel who describes the design of an intelligent sensor based on a state-of-the art FPGA with embedded microcontroller for use in smart energy grids.
Power Efficient Motor Control (ESC-400)," a class
conducted by Brad Landseadel, President, Power and Control Design, in
which he will address the need to drive control efficiency up to
improve system-level efficiency while simultaneously driving component
count, costs and complexity down.
a Connected Device With Open Source Software (ESC-347),"
from Arlen Nipper, president and Chief Technology Officer of Eurotech,
Inc., who will describe how to apply open source and Java-based
middleware tools to virtually any networked and connected embedded
device for fast development, quick time to market and an extended
product life span.
"Common Mistakes and Lessons Learned in Software Testing (ESC-267)," taught by Mark Kraeling, Product Manager, GE Transportation. He will detail some common mistakes and lessons learned in embedded software testing, how to avoid these mistakes, and some real-world solutions to these issues.<>"Fundamentals of Testing Embedded Systems (ESC-404)," by Gina Bonini, Technical Marketing Manager, Tektronix, Inc., takes attendees through the latest debug techniques for complex embedded systems by performing a series of guided, hands-on exercises, using a mixed signal oscilloscope to validate and troubleshoot operation of a 16-bit parallel bus and I2C serial bus.
"7 Deadly Sins of Slow Software Builds (ESC-303)," taught by Usman Muzaffer and Erin Curtis of Electric Cloud, in which they delineate how to and how not to design build scripts and Makefiles for maximum parallel performance, covering what doesn't work, why, and how to make things better today without starting over (and without spending money). >
"Just Say No: Compile-time Enforcement of Hardware Semantics (ESC-202)," presented by Stephen Dewhurst, President, Semantics Consulting Inc., [on how to enforce extra-language and hardware-specific constraints at compile time, causing whole categories of common errors to simply disappear from your code. ]
"Best Practices of Top-Gun Engineering Managers (ESC-406)," by Ronald Collett, CEO, Numetrics Management Systems, who goes into detail on the methods and techniques engineering managers use to differentiate their design team's execution-to-schedule excellence by calibrating to best-in-class industry competition.
MCU Performance with an RTOS & Middleware (ESC-203),"
taught by Nilesh Rajbharti, Product Manager, Renesas Technology
America, which will be on the tricks of the trade he has learned to
incorporate more functionality into a system and do so within a shorter
schedule and a tight cost budget.
Finally there is the Fifth Annual Multicore Expo, which will be co-located with ESC Silicon Valley and will provide Expo attendees with three days of dedicated multicore technology training options and multicore-related exhibits.