I just got back from DesignCon 2017, the premier conference for chip, board, and systems design engineers held annually in Santa Clara, CA. This year did not disappoint. With so many design engineers from Silicon Valley and all over the world, you can be sure that the latest technologies were being discussed for high-speed digital designs.
What was hot?
- 112 Gbps PAM-4. Speeds are ramping up and 112 Gbps is legit.
- DuoBinary Signaling. Another modulation format that might just get you more speed.
- DDR4 & DDR5. Especially with a focus on equalization and more formal statistical simulation methods.
- Chiphead. He always made time to stop for pictures.
What was not?
- PAM-8. This higher order modulation suffers from an even further reduced Signal-to-Noise ratio. Doesn’t look like a prime candidate for the next wave of innovation.
- Silicon photonics. Progressively moving ahead, chip-to-chip optical links are closer to being a serious technology contender. No end to the reign of the electrical backplane for the foreseeable future.
- USB Type-C. Interest in USB 3.1 on its own is very last year. Now the talk turns to the wider adoption of USB Type-C physical layer as a way to bundle USB/Thunderbolt3/DisplayPort signaling. One connector to rule them all…
- The weather. It rained the whole week.
My colleague, Heidi Barnes, won DesignCon Engineer of the Year. You might remember her from my previous post, Underwater hockey playing design engineer. It was great to watch her in the Panel Discussion with previous winners, Mike Steinberger (2015) and Eric Bogatin (2016). Heidi was on the DesignCon planning committee and also presented many papers at the show (you can download them here).
As for Keysight EEsof EDA, we had a great show. Last year we launched SIPro & PIPro, two new EM analysis solutions, which work inside Keysight ADS to provide transient circuit simulation and channel simulation technologies for analysis of high-speed serial links and memory systems. This year we met with many of our customers who have already adopted SIPro and PIPro, and incorporated it into their flow.
We just released ADS 2016 Update 1, incorporating new Mesh Domain Optimization (MDO) technology, which reduces simulation time even further, by more than 2x compared to the initial release, for SI and PI analyses.