DesignCon is like drinking from a firehose. No where will you find a higher density of SI/PI/EMI experts, all in one place. This year, there are over 100 technical presentations, spread over 14 parallel tracks in seven sessions over two days, plus events in the Chiphead Theater, five panel discussions, eight education tutorials by Keysight and three keynote speeches. And, there’s a tradeshow with almost 200 exhibitors. I’m exhausted just counting all these up.
The challenge for me is always fitting in the talks I want to attend, remembering where I am presenting, visiting the companies on the show floor that have interesting products and having time for the spontaneous hallway chats when I bump into old friends.
All this means, it’s important to manage my time at DesignCon. Here are some my recommendations of what I am looking forward to attending at DesignCon 2017.
Tuesday, Jan 31:
The first day of DesignCon is usually devoted to intensive training programs. In years past, I’ve done boot camps on Essential Principles of SI, High Speed Serial Links and S-parameters.
This year, I am doing an SI boot camp off-site with Mentor Graphics as a hands-on workshop. Registration is full so you can’t sign up, but there is another event on-site you should check out.
Pragmatic Signal Integrity is an SI boot camp from the Signal Integrity Software guys, Mike Steinberger, the 2015 Engineer of the Year winner, Todd Westerhoff and Don Telian, of SIGuys. Even if you have experience with SI or have taken one of my classes, it’s always valuable to see other’s perspectives and these guys are very experienced. This is an all-day event, presented in Ballroom G.
As your lunch break, check out Zoltan Cendes, TURNING SIGNAL INTEGRITY SIMULATION INSIDE OUT, in the Mission City Ballroom at 12:00. Zol and his brother, Nick, were the founders of Ansoft, and creators of HFSS, which became the gold standard for 3-D full wave simulation. They were acquired by Ansys in 2008. I had the honor of working with Zol and his team years ago. Whatever he chooses to talk about will be insightful.
After lunch, 1:30 pm, If you are looking to take a break from the SiSoft tutorial, you might check out, TUTORIAL: 32 TO 56 GBPS SERIAL LINK ANALYSIS AND OPTIMIZATION METHODS FOR PATHOLOGICAL CHANNELS, with Al Neves, Jack Carrel, Heidi Barnes and Mike Resso. If you are looking for a more advanced look at physical layer modeling and analysis of channels, this is probably a good place to start. These are four industry experts who I respect a lot, offering some of their experience. They are in Ballroom D.
Tuesday late afternoon is the time for panels. This year, there are two I want to attend, but they are both at 4:45 pm on Tues:
PANEL: THE CASE OF THE CLOSING EYES - 400G SIGNAL INTEGRITY, is usually a full house with standing room only. This is a freewheeling, opinion packed discussion on the state of the art, and beyond in the world of high speed serial links, led by Ransom Stephens, who never holds back his opinions. This will be in Ballroom E.
PANEL: BRIEFING FROM THE IEEE P370 WORKING GROUP: ELECTRICAL CHARACTERIZATION OF PCBS AND RELATED INTERCONNECTS AT FREQUENCIES UP TO 50 GHZ, is an overview of the new IEEE P370 working group establishing recommended practices for de-embedding techniques and fixture design for interconnect characterization. Full disclosure, I will probably attend this panel, as I am the panel moderator. This will be in Ballroom G.
Wednesday, Feb 1
8:00 am: COST-EFFECTIVE PCB MATERIAL CHARACTERIZATION FOR HIGH-VOLUME PRODUCTION MONITORING. Materials characterization is one of my interests, and I always learn something new listing to Yuriy Shlepnev. Ballroom A
9:00 am: REPLACING HIGH-SPEED BOTTLENECKS WITH PCB SUPERHIGHWAYS, is an interesting proposal to use rectangular copper waveguides which should have much lower loss due to their high surface area. Maybe worth checking out, in Ballroom F.
10:00 am: BACK TO BASICS: THE ONSET OF SKIN EFFECT IN CIRCUIT BOARD TRACES. Full disclosure, this is a paper my graduate student, Tim Wang Lee, is presenting based on work we did with Yuriy Shlepnev. Come ask Tim some hard questions. In Ballroom D
11:00 am: A NEW CHARACTERIZATION TECHNIQUE FOR GLASS WEAVE SKEW (PART 2). I will present this paper, with Bill Hargin from Nanya, one of my graduate students and colleagues from Cisco. I’m going to show a technique to quantify glass weave skew and an important artifact we discovered which might account for why other numbers reported in the industry vary so much. In Ballroom C
3:00 pm: DIGITAL POWER MANAGEMENT AND POWER INTEGRITY ANALYSIS AND TESTING. This is presented by two of my colleagues’ from Teledyne LeCroy describing a new scope analysis tool and technique.
4:00 pm: EUREKA!: CLEVER ITEMS AND THEIR ORIGINS. This promises to be an interesting presentation in the Chiphead theater.
Thursday, Feb 2
8:00 am: A UNIFIED PROBE LAUNCHING PATTERN DESIGN FOR MATERIALS CHARACTERIZATION UP TO 40 GHZ, with Jim Drewniak of MST. I’ve used Jeff Loyer’s SET2DIL test pattern a lot and am a big fan of standardized launches for microprobes. These can dramatically reduce the design effort and fixturing required for low cost but high bandwidth measurements. I can’t wait to see what Jim is proposing. Ballroom F
9:00 am: THE FASTEST PAM4 SIGNAL EVER GENERATED. The name says it all. Pete is going to show 380 Gb/sec with a PAM4 signal. This is a Nyquist of 95 GHz! In full disclosure, this is presented by Pete Pupalaikis, one of my Teledyne LeCroy colleague. Ballroom G
10:00 am: NEW TECHNIQUE TO QUANTIFY DIFFERENTIAL P/N GLASS WEAVE SKEW FOR EFFECTIVE SYSTEM DESIGN. This is another one of my interests and I am anxious to see what method they are proposing. The industry can use a few good, robust methods to characterize glass weave skew. Ballroom F.
11:00 am: A GENERIC TEST TOOL FOR POWER DISTRIBUTION NETWORKS. Most of us involved in PDN characterization are bilingual, equally comfortable in the time and frequency domain. Pete and Istvan are going to present some techniques for using the same fixtures for both frequency and time domain characterization. Ballroom G.
12 noon: Engineer of the Year award. Mission City Ballroom. There are many great candidates this year. We’ll see who wins!
2:00 pm: UNDERSTANDING VERTICAL RESOLUTION IN OSCILLOSCOPES, Pete Pupalaikis. Full disclosure, I work with Pete at Teledyne LeCroy. If you are confused about effective number of bits, this is the place to see the light. Ballroom D.
3:00 pm: ENGINEER OF THE YEAR PANEL DISCUSSION, in the Chiphead Theater. Suzanne Deffree will lead the discussion with me, Mike Steinberger and the newly honored 2017 Engineer of the Year. Bring your questions.
When I am not in a technical session, I will be walking the show floor and hanging around the Teledyne LeCroy booth, 733, and the Signal Integrity Journal Booth, T2. Please stop me in the hallway or at one of the booths and say hey!