Category Archives: Webinar

The Origins of Silicon Valley: Why and How It Happened (and Tech Predictions)

Organized by the SE Michigan Computer Society Chapter
Speaker: Paul Wesling, IEEE Life Fellow, H-P/Tandem (retired)
Meeting Date: Tuesday, April 6, 2021
Time: Presentation at 3:00 PM (PDT)
Cost: none (via WebEx)
Summary: Silicon Valley is commonly acknowledged as the tech capital of the world. When most people think of the Valley, they probably recall semiconductors, personal computers, software, biotech and self-driving cars. How did Silicon Valley come into being, and what can we learn? The story goes back to local Hams (amateur radio operators) trying to break RCA’s tube patents, Stanford “angel” investors, the sinking of the Titanic, WW II and radar, and the SF Bay Area infrastructure that developed — these factors pretty much determined that the semiconductor and IC industries would be located in the Santa Clara Valley, and that the Valley would remain the world’s innovation center as new technologies emerged and a model for innovation worldwide.
This talk will give an exciting and colorful history of device technology development and innovation that began in Palo Alto in 1909. You’ll meet some of the colorful characters — Cyril Elwell, Lee De Forest, Bill Eitel, Charles Litton, Fred Terman, David Packard, Bill Hewlett, Bill Shockley and others — who came to define our worldwide electronics industries through their inventions and process development. You’ll understand some of the novel management approaches that have become the hallmarks of its tech startups. Many of these attributes can be found, to greater or lesser extent, in other technology hubs; however, the SF Bay Area has five generations of experience, as well as a “critical mass” of talent, making it difficult for others to catch up. The key attributes will be illustrated and analyzed, for consideration by other tech hubs.
Then Mr. Wesling will briefly discuss the key technologies that he expects to be the most important during the 2020’s, including autonomous vehicles, virtual and augmented reality, artificial intelligence, and industrial IoT and analytics.

Bio: Paul Wesling has observed the Valley for decades as an engineer, executive, resident, and educator. He received degrees in electrical engineering and materials science from Stanford University, then worked locally at companies including Lenkurt Electric, Sperry-Univac, and Amdahl, joining Tandem Computers in Cupertino in 1985. His assignments included advanced technology reliability, mainframe testing, design of multi-chip module prototypes, and managing an NSF grant for the development of multimedia educational modules. Paul retired from HP in 2001, then served as “Mr. IEEE” for the San Francisco Bay Area for 10 years. He is a Life Fellow of the IEEE. As vice president of publications for the IEEE Electronics Packaging Society for 22 years, he supervised four archival journals and a newsletter. He received the IEEE’s Centennial Medal, the Board’s Distinguished Service award, the Society Contribution Award, and the IEEE’s Third Millennium Medal. He edits the IEEE/ASME/SEMI Heterogeneous Integration Roadmap for prediction of technology directions in electronics packaging.

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Storage Interfaces for Computer Systems

Speakers: Amber Huffman, distinguished Fellow and CTO, Intel; Jai Menon, Chief Scientist, Fungible; Grant Saviers, Digital Equipment Corp (retired); Tom Gardner, moderator
Meeting Date: Tuesday, May 11, 2021
Time: Presentation at 1:30 PM (PDT)
Cost: none
Summary: The Valley is the home of the hard disk drive industry. Its companies, products and technologies have been the subject of much historical interest. The history of their attachment to systems is the little-explored subject of this webinar. The focus is primarily on disk drives (SSD and HDD) and their control, but much of the history is common to other storage devices like tape. Storage connects to systems thru layers with interfaces between the layers that have evolved over time — smaller size, lower cost and higher performance. Early on, “dumb” interfaces evolved in the market from the wide interfaces of dominant mainframe and minicomputer interfaces, e.g., DEC RP0x, SMD, etc. Over time, the interfaces became smarter, serial, and sponsored by industry consortia (e.g., SCSI, SATA, NVMe), while at the same time function moved around in the various layers (e.g. RAID, Caching, etc.) Four industry participants will share with you their experiences in making storage work with computers.

Bio: Amber Huffman is a distinguished Fellow and Chief Technologist in the IP Engineering Group at Intel Corporation. Huffman has devoted her career to I/O and memory interfaces since joining Intel in 1998 with her early work focused on Serial ATA (SATA) technology. A respected authority on storage, memory and IO architecture, she defined, created and drove the NVMe storage standard including forming and chairing the NVM Express (NVMe) Workgroup and continues to chair the board of directors for the NVMe Workgroup and the Open NAND Flash Interface (ONFI) Workgroup. Huffman earned a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering from the University of Michigan and a master’s degree in electrical engineering from Stanford University and has been granted more than 20 patents in storage architecture.

Bio: Jai Menon is the Chief Scientist at Fungible, a pioneer in data-centric computing. Previously he served as CTO for multi-billion dollar Systems businesses (Servers, Storage, Networking) at both IBM and Dell. At IBM, he impacted every significant IBM RAID product between 1990 & 2010, and he co-invented one of the earliest RAID-6 codes in the industry called EVENODD. He was also the leader of the IBM Research team that initiated and drove the creation of the industry’s first, and still the most successful, storage virtualization product. Jai holds 53 patents, has published 82 papers, and is a contributing author to three books on database and storage systems. He is an IEEE Fellow and an IBM Master Inventor, a Distinguished Alumnus of both Indian Institute of Technology, Madras and Ohio State University, and a recipient of the IEEE Wallace McDowell Award and the IEEE Reynold B. Johnson Information Systems Award.

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