Taken for Granted

ESL, embedded processors, and more

“It’s a Schirrmeister!”

Filed under: Uncategorized — June 8, 2011 @ 12:58 am

One of my favourite episodes of Seinfeld is the one with the tag line “It’s a Ziggy”.   (The episode is called “The Cartoon“).  In it, Elaine draws a cartoon for the New Yorker that gets accepted, but it turns out she has subconsciously copied the joke in the cartoon from the comic strip Ziggy. Her boss, J. Peterman, played by John O’Hurley, recognises it almost immediately:

Peterman (returns) Flash of lightning Elaine I just realized why I like this cartoon so much.

Elaine: Oh! Do tell sir?

Peterman It’s a Ziggy!

Elaine: A Ziggy?

Peterman: That irreverence , that wit I’d recognize it anywhere. Some charlatan has stolen a Ziggy and passed it off as his own. I can prove it. Quick Elaine , to my archives.

I was reminded of it here at DAC 2011 in San Diego during Mentor Graphics’ ESL Lunch and panel discussion.  One of the panelists put up a slide showing the raising of design abstraction levels over the years and I immediately thought “It’s a Schirrmeister!”.  That is, created by my friend and colleague Frank Schirrmeister, then of Cadence (the Alta group of past fame and glory), now with Synopsys.

I actually wrote about this 3 years ago in this blog.   Unfortunately, people have not improved in giving credit to Frank.  Instead, this picture has become a meme of ESL, perhaps always to go uncredited.   But at least Frank invented a seminal tool for explaining the ESL transition!

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