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Post-ESC Impressions


I had a good trip to Embedded Systems Conference, spending several hours on the expo floor, giving two talks in the general conference, and chatting with a bunch of colleagues.  Here’s a rundown on what I found noteworthy:

  • Keynote by T.K. Mattingly – I could listen to a former astronaut during the golden age of NASA for hours on end so I enjoyed this thoroughly.  One of the things he said that resonated with me was something he had heard from a launchpad engineer (not quoting quite right): “this is not going to fail because of me.”  Takeaway: in big engineering projects, you may not understand everything that is going on, but you should know your role and do it well, simple as that.
  • Expo floor – Show seemed smaller by about 30% this year.  Adjoining hall that was packed with vendors in years past was unused.  Floor traffic on Tuesday seemed light, Wednesday much better.  NI’s booth is always amazing.  Visual acquisition, signal processing, and robot control using a trendy game for inspiration.
  • With regard to multicore, CriticalBlue’s Prism tool was a standout.  The ability to perform ‘what if’ modelling of expected performance gain on different parallelization scenarios is very compelling.
  • My talks: Gave two “Debug Tools, Technologies & Techniques in the Multi-core Era” and “Case Studies in Software Optimization of Multi-core SMP”.  Both talks were decently attended, about 20 per, which was a big question mark going in with the financial crisis and all.

Regarding my talks, here’s the gist of what they are about and what I’d consider to be the compelling portions of each:

  • Debug Tools … – Survey of software development tools & techniques for debug of multi-core.  What is compelling: I suspect several in the audience learned something either about a new tool or a new technique to which they had not been exposed previously.  There is no silver bullet, one tool solution to multicore debug.  Instead you need to apply a number of techniques and tools to the problem.
  • Case Studies … – Review of the Threading development process and application of it to two real world applications.  What is compelling: attendee sees steps in the process making sense as it guides what is done in the optimization of the application.  For example, the initial performance analysis helps you learn the application and feeds into what portion you should focus on for optimization.  It may seem obvious, but seeing it on a real application, not a toy program is quite nice.

Best regards, Max

date Posted on: Monday, April 13, 2009 at 7:42 pm
Category Uncategorized.
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