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Maxim Integrated - Integration Nation
Dennis Feucht

An Instrument on a Chip? Some Emerging Instruments & the China Factor

Dennis Feucht
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CameronRobertson
CameronRobertson
10/1/2018 12:00:08 AM
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Re: Fab model has changed
I resonate a lot with whatever D Feucht  has said here - I personally think that without the human brain, we would not have any of these diagrams or systems at all. Yes a computer can calculate in bigger numbers and faster, but without someone who has first programmed it to do so, they would just be a big hunk of nuts and bolts and components. At the end of the day, we have to remember who is the master and who is the servant in this arrangement...

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Brad Albing
Brad Albing
6/11/2013 11:04:34 PM
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Re: Fab model has changed
@D Feucht - re [6/11/2013 7:21:06 PM] - that was it - it was the blogs by Brian that I was remembering that I was blanking out on. No wonder it all seemed familiar.

It was http://www.planetanalog.com/author.asp?section_id=519&doc_id=559889 and http://www.planetanalog.com/author.asp?section_id=519&doc_id=559963

 

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Brad Albing
Brad Albing
6/11/2013 10:59:00 PM
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Re: Trend in Integration
That sounds got. I await the blog on the Z-meter eagerly.

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D Feucht
D Feucht
6/11/2013 7:21:06 PM
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Re: Fab model has changed
Brad - Brian Bailey has brought in this topic in his articles. The fact that the brain does so much more than digital computers (though digital computers can do some things the human brain cannot, excepting the brains of idiot-savants), tells me that we do not need multi-GHz computing to perform more powerful computing functions. We simply haven't figured out how to use the technology we have with computing concepts. It is new concepts, not higher performance of old parameters, that is the intriguing avenue of exploration to me.


Here's an analogy. Barrie Gilbert discovered (or invented - he would agree that invention is discovery) translinear circuits in the 1960s. It was there to be discovered and required no improvement in the performance parameters of transistors (or any other circuit components) to achieve. Yet the discovery resulted in improvements in circuit performance. Something like this is bound to happen for computing, with the von Neumann (or Harvard architecture) bottleneck wrung as tight as it is nowadays, with multi-level caching in microprocessors.

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D Feucht
D Feucht
6/11/2013 7:09:29 PM
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Re: Trend in Integration
My present series on an instrument on a chip is a prelude. Later, another series of articles will go into more detail, using the Z meter as an example. To my knowledge, no IC company has come out with a Z meter on a chip, yet it should be achievable.

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Brad Albing
Brad Albing
6/6/2013 6:12:13 PM
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Re: Fab model has changed
@Dennis >>Our brains are marvelous "computers" running on millisecond processing elements. This seems familiar. Wasn't s/o else discussing the human brain's ability to do amazing computations thru some parallel electrochemical processes that we didn't quite understand? Thought I read that somewhere....

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Brad Albing
Brad Albing
6/6/2013 6:07:40 PM
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Re: Newer, but better?
@Barry >>We could argue about the analog quality of today's digital 'scopes relative to the Tek 'scopes of the later '80's, but that takes too long. Not so - we've got all the time and space you need right here. You write it and we'll make sure it sees the light of day.

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Brad Albing
Brad Albing
6/6/2013 6:05:17 PM
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Re: Trend in Integration
@Dennis - >>...suggesting that perhaps the integration expansion path... is to start efforts to build things that have large-integration advantages. I look forward to this blog. When can we expect it?

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D Feucht
D Feucht
6/5/2013 10:17:50 PM
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Re: Fab model has changed
There seems to be a different kind of Moore's Law at work here. I do not have the statistics but I wonder if the cost per transistor has hit bottom and is now coming up, especially when reduced MTTF at smaller scales is taken into account. Of course, the mitigating factor is the greater speed. But is speed everything? Our brains are marvelous "computers" running on millisecond processing elements. Perhaps new paths need to be explored conceptually about what to do with a million transistors.

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D Feucht
D Feucht
6/5/2013 10:06:01 PM
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Re: Newer, but better?
Barry - Being steeped in the old Tek culture, I cannot agree more. All that is said or hoped for regarding the prospects for greater integration rests on the assumption that there will be engineers who are excellent at circuit design. I cannot say that the trend in the Trilateral world is toward greater engineering acumen. It will also take some time for the developing world (in which I now live) to produce the future Barry Gilberts, Bob Widlars, Howard Vollums and {your electronics hero here}. On the other hand, there still are some really good analog engineers around (some of them from Stanford U., even!).

It is quite possible to improve on the reduction of power in the output amplifiers of former H-P pulse and function generators (especially PGs) given the same output specs. I'll not take that detailed subject up here, though it is worked out in my Instrumentation Notebook, a future book project. If this is of particular interest, get ahold of me by email and I'll scan that notebook page.

Scopes are not up to the quality of the old ones. The people who designed in the past had a certain passion - a certain personal investment - in achieving perfection that is lost in a who-cares society. There is no real argument about this. I remember one guy at Tek who would occasionally be found in the early morning by arriving employess waking up from having fallen asleep at his desk. Nothing great was ever achieved by casual dabblers.

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