ITC Nano-Blog

Welcome to the ITC 2016 Nano-Blog

Scott Davidson, ITC Marketing Chair and WebMaster, Nano-
Blogger

Blog Entry from ITC Student Blogger Allison Garcia, November 17

Hello everyone,

It was obvious that today was the last day of the conference because I saw many people pulling suitcases into session rooms this morning. People grabbed coffee and picked one last talk before heading off to the airport. I hope everyone had a chance to find a little bit more wisdom before they left. I know that I certainly did.

During the keynote, Ken Hansen, the CEO of the Semiconductor Research Corporation, described the possible directions he saw for research. One slide had an infographic of interlocking gears with “material science” in the middle and various branches of math, natural science and engineering spread around it. The teeth of the gears represented regions of overlap where interesting research has the potential to grow.

As a senior in college, I am in the process of figuring out where I want to start my career and what kinds of topics I want to learn about along the way. Universities give degrees in one field or another, rather than the areas where fields overlap. I am excited to graduate with my electrical engineering degree next May. However, after this talk I am also excited to explore the regions where my field blends into others. Who knows? Maybe someday I could explore material science or chemistry while still using my electrical engineering background.

ITC has taught me so much about the world of test and the people who call it home. Thank you for sharing your technical knowledge as well as your interesting personalities. I wish everyone safe travels on their way back home, wherever that may be. I hope you enjoyed your time in Texas because we certainly enjoyed having you here. I wish you luck in tackling your test challenges and I hope you bring back interesting stories for next year!

Blog Entry from ITC Student Blogger Allison Garcia, November 16

Today I added several things to my list of professional and personal goals:
1. Ask a really good question after a presentation.
Sometimes the question and answer portion of a talk seems like the last step before freedom for both the nervous presenter and the fidgety audience. But this morning I heard a question that perfectly summed up the main research idea and asked how to the next steps were likely to unfold. The presenter said, “Yes! That is a great question!” and two strangers from different companies and universities shared a moment of understanding. Someday I want to ask a question that shares in the researcher’s ah-ha moment and challenges them to go forward.
2. Present research at a conference.
This year I fulfilled my previous goal of being a co-author on a paper for ITC. I was so excited to sit in the audience and listen to my colleague present the group’s work. I was astonished that my individual contribution mixed with the thoughts and ideas of others to become a fleshed-out paper. I got to see the research process from start to finish. I hope to eventually take that one step further and be the lead author who conquers stage fright to present to a room full of people.
3. Be known for my work but remembered for my character.
Today we reflected on the life of Edward J. McCluskey. When you search his name on Wikipedia, you learn that he “developed the first algorithm for designing combinational circuits.” But listening to the stories from the people who had the honor of knowing him made me realize that his legacy extends far beyond the Quine-McCluskey algorithm. He challenged students to help them reach their potential. He organized his workshops in unconventional ways to force people to interact. He told jokes that have been shared and re-shared, much like his textbook that has been passed on by the generation of engineers who loved it. All of these things and more have caused him to be remembered for his character. I hope to take Ed’s example and live a life that matters.

Blog Entry from ITC Student Blogger Allison Garcia, November 15

Happy ITC Test Week, everyone! As a native of the Dallas/Fort-Worth Metroplex, I welcome you to my part of the world. Thanks again to Scott Davidson for giving me the opportunity to write a student perspective of ITC on this blog. I want to give a shout-out to my fellow first time conference attendees! Anyone else feeling a tad overwhelmed? To all of the experts out there, feel free to wander down memory lane back to your first conference at any point in my post. This blog will be right here when you get back.
The keynote address by Mentor Graphics CEO Wally Rhines gave me some insight into the history of the test community. I am really impressed by the masters in this industry who tackled big problems without the ATPG software we take for granted. It was interesting to see the events that necessitated the test techniques that are so common today. It was cause and effect in action. I was really struck by the idea that the perception of test has been transformed over the years from overhead to be reduced to value-adding data to be explored. I think my world shifted a little bit with that revelation, and I feel even more excited to be involved in test.
After that, I had fun wandering around the exhibit floor and looking at all of the new test technology. I learned a thing or two at my summer internship and I am doing my best to build on my understanding. That is certainly a work in progress, so thank you to everyone who told me about their products.
It was a beautiful night to be sitting outside under the twinkling string lights at the Ashton Depot Welcome Reception. You know how the song goes, “The stars at night are big and bright, deep in the heart of Texas.” I found both the food and the conversation fulfilling. Today might be my first day at ITC but I already feel welcomed into the test community. Thanks, everyone!

ITC begins for me – I land in Fort Worth

Your blogger is in Fort Worth, ensconced in the comfortable Omni Hotel. Getting up at 3 am for a 6 am flight out of SFO is not my favorite thing in the world, but 101 is not crowded at 4 am. Yet.
Look for your blogger, Scott Davidson, hanging around the Fort Worth Convention Center. You can tell me from my “I’m retired, I don’t have to write a trip report” smile.
Thing to look for in the convention center: hats. Lots of hats.

Introductory Blog from ITC Student Blogger Allison Garcia

Hello ITC Community,


My name is Allison Garcia and I am a senior at Southern Methodist University. The ITC blogger you all know and love, Scott Davidson, thought it would be great to have a student perspective on the conference, so here I am. I am in the home stretch of my electrical engineering degree, and I am excited to attend my first ITC. I’m a bit sad I missed the Disneyland fun last year, but having a major international conference right in my backyard is exciting in itself.


My introduction to test engineering began after my sophomore year when I wandered into Professor Jennifer Dworak’s office hoping for a summer research position. That summer I learned about stuck-at faults and cell-aware faults and became pretty familiar with the documentation for commercial EDA tools. This past summer I worked as a product and test engineering intern at Texas Instruments. I found myself learning about production testers and the cost factors for analog testing. After my two summers of serendipitous job assignments, I can’t claim that I chose the test life; instead, the test life chose me.


I hope to see you all in Fort Worth this November for ITC. Check back for more insights from a first time conference attendee. Until then, I would love to hear any stories you have about why you love test engineering or insider conference tips.

****

From Scott: Welcome Allison! She’ll be blogging before and during ITC, to give us a student perspective.

Catchup Blog – The Advance Program

Now that Allison has shamed me into writing something again, I should talk about the Advance Program, or AP. It is your go-to source for information on ITC, including the program, registration, tutorials, workshops, parties, keynoters, posters, the corporate forum and parties.
To create it takes input from the ITC Steering Committee and Program Committee. The version up today, (9/26) is pretty complete, but if you are an author doublecheck your paper entry.
This year we have moved from our custom too to EasyChair, which required some getting used to and required me learning Python to create the Word version of the program the old tool did automatically. But there are lots of advantages, not the least of which is the availability of the schedule directly without you having to open the big pdf file for the AP. Here it is. Or click on the ITC Program button on the home page.
And I’d be remiss in not reminding you to Register Now! Do it soon for a big early registration discount. I’ve put the registration fees onto the Registration Page so no surprises. (Scroll down for it.)BTW, if you are not an IEEE member, you’ll see that the non-member rate is greater than the member rate + an IEEE membership. So you can maybe convince your boss to pay for a membership to save money. Win, win, win.
See you at ITC! At the parties!

The Joy of ITC Papers

ITC paper submissions have begun rolling in. They are a trickle now, soon to become a flood. I still remember deadline night when I was Program Chair 12 years ago. I sat with my laptop as midnight approached, and every time I refreshed the program submission screen another six, ten or a dozen papers appeared. The very best part was that they were all so interesting. Back then I could only look at the keywords and abstracts to assign them to the Area Topic Coordinators, but I wanted to look more closely at each one.
If you are an academic, you know all about writing papers. But many of the most interesting papers I’ve read and heard are by engineers telling their testing story. Do you do something a bit better than anyone else? Have you used test to debug a design problem and save the day? A lot of the ITC audience finds this kind of paper really exciting.
I know, I’ve done one. It was about a failure that most consistently showed up when the computer was sitting at the Solaris prompt. It was a story, it was a mystery, and it was fun to relate.
Share your stories and mysteries with ITC and submit a paper today.
Well, you’ll never do it today, you’ll do it on the deadline, April 11. But we’re happy with that.

#itctestweek

I’ve taken over the ITC twitter account (look on the bottom of the home page for a link also.) My first tweet was about us being open for paper submissions. The next will be about this new blog entry.
Please retweet if you follow us, and follow us if you don’t. And let me know what you’d like to see.

Volunteering

As you might guess, putting on ITC takes a lot of work. We have a great conference management partner in Courtesy Associates, but the steering committee, program committee and subcommittees do most of the work for free. (Once in a while we get a good dinner out of it.)
We need help! For Program, there are two good ways of helping – writing a paper, or volunteering to review a paper. You know how to submit a paper, we’ll publish a way of volunteering as a reviewer soon.
And we need help in everything else. I’ve put up a link to a Volunteer Page which describes opportunities and gives a link that will open up an email with places for your name, email, affiliation, and volunteer preferences. We’ve got two so far, Exhibits and my favorite, Marketing.
What kind of help do we need in Marketing? Do you love Twitter and Facebook? You can take over the ITC Twitter and Facebook accounts.
Do you think the design of our web page could be better? We’d love to hear suggestions backed up by a commitment to do some work. The current page is written using Ruby on Rails – if you happen to know this we’d like to hear from you.
Are you a Photoshop expert? No, we don’t need you to replace the General Chair with a picture of Donald Trump (though it would be fun to see) but we do need better buttons than the ones I’ve designed. And if you do graphics design as a hobby, we have plenty of opportunities.
But we won’t stop there. If you’d like to help with something else, drop us a line using the Marketing volunteer link on the Volunteer Page . I’ll make sure it gets to the right place.

ITC 2016 Paper Submissions now Open

We’ve just opened ITC for paper submissions, and you’ll notice that things have changed. We’re using EasyChair for program development this year. It is easy to use (I’ve tried it out and it took me only minutes to learn) but you will need a new user id and password.
The old Program Site is still there, but you won’t find much use for it.
If you have any questions use the Contact Us buttons on the bottom of the ITC home page.

The 2016 Call for Papers – October 26, 2015

I just posted the 2016 Call for Papers from 2016 Program Chair Li-C Wang of UC Santa Barbara. On the home page I had to be formal, here I can tell you why you should write and submit a paper.
The obvious reason is to have your work be part of the literature of our field, and to see your name in print. Those of you who have done this before don’t need any reasons from me. But lots of you haven’t.
One objection is that my boring old everyday work isn’t something anyone else cares about. That’s not true. The growth in the problems we face in testing means that many of us are inventing new techniques and facing new problems every day. Some of the most interesting papers I’ve seen have been about solving a very specific test problem. One of the topics we are looking for is the case study. I’ve done a few myself to very positive response.
Another problem might be getting approval from your company. If your company sells test hardware and software, establishing your expertise (while not doing a sales pitch) should be a good reason for a paper. If not, you are probably looking for test engineers or the like. Establishing your company as a place where interesting and challenging work gets done could help. And sending you to ITC is cheaper than an ad.
To be clear, this doesn’t involve soliciting for candidates at ITC. We frown on that. It just puts your company on the radar of interested job seekers.

Two other problems: you’ll have to write it or worse (*shudder*) present it. I can talk about that also, if anyone is interested. Send feedback!

2016 Exhibits – October 21, 2015

Spent way too much of last night updating the Exhibits Page with 2016 exhibitors so far – 34 of them. Click on the Exhibits link above to see their logos, each with a link to a page we create for them. That page has a link to their web sites. Already signed up exhibitors – I have your description from 2015. Please send me updates of your descriptions and contact information. Revising your page is fast and simple. I added links to the Exhibits List and Floorplan also. If you want to reach all those Texas Test Engineers, and have not signed up yet, sign up now to get a good spot on the floor.


I’ve added a mailto link to my name above in case you want to send a comment for posting (you can be the first) or ask for information. You can also use the Contact Us links on the bottom of the page.

Revising the Web Site – October 17

Just added a new banner for 2016 and a new picture to the ITC Website. The picture is of the twice-daily Fort Worth stampede of their herd of long-horn cattle. It’s fun to see.

Never fear – the stockyards are not next to the Fort Worth Convention Center or the ITC Conference Hotels.

I’ll be adding the call for papers soon, as well as adding the 2016 Exhibit Hall Floorplan. We have a bit more space next year, but we have lots of exhibitors signed up already, so if you want to show your wares at next year’s show, sign up soon.

Next Year in Fort Worth

Hope everyone had a good trip home. Next year ITC is November 15 – 17 in Fort Worth. Hope to see you there. The website will be changing real soon to reflect it. Thanks to all the exhibitors who have signed up already. If you are involved with a company who might be interested in exhibiting, head on over to the Exhibiting at ITC tab or fill out the Exhibitor’s Signup Form.
In the next few days the web pages will be updated with our new banner, a picture from Fort Worth, and some updates. Stay tuned.
Feedback always welcome!

Panels 2 and 3

I didn’t get to go to either of these. If anyone has a write-up they would like to share, please send it to me – Scott Davidson and I’ll post it.

The Wednesday and Thursday Keynotes

Andrew Kahng (Wednesday) and Bill Bottoms (Thursday) gave forward-looking keynotes based on their ITRS work. The Internet of Things impact is that most net traffic won’t be people to machines (the original case) or people to people (the case now) but machines to machines. This is the Era of Heterogeneous Integration. The driving force is the demand for real time data all the time.
Bill said that he’s make his slides available. I’ll post them as soon as I get them.
Not much mention of test – except that IoT devices will have to test themselves while running, and degrade gracefully. I suppose we can divide devices into those whose failure won’t matter much (like picture frames,) those which are more critical, like refrigerators, and those whose repair will be a pain, since they are inaccessible.
No one mentioned the impact of the single point of failure of these things – connectivity. I’ve already done a Last Byte about how in the future your connection going down will be like your electricity going out today. But I’ve not seen any real analysis of this. I trust it exists in the right journals.

The 2015 ITC Reception

The reception was a great night on the lawn in perfect California weather.


The reception.


The Beach Toys, a great Beach Boys Tribute Band.


And only the Rooses were brave enough to dance. And they danced well!

Plenary Keynote – Brain-Inspired Computing by Karim Arabi, Qualcomm

I’ve read a lot about this subject, and this talk was about the most enlightening treatment of the subject I can recall.
Dr. Arabi identified four stages of brain-inspired computing.


  1. Multiple Cores, Heterogeneous Cores. Similar to the different modules found in the brain.

  2. Deep Learning.
  3. Approximate Computing and In-Memory Computing
  4. Neuromorphic Computing and the Training of Neuromorphic systems.

About 90% of data processing will be done in the cloud, but 10%, such as understanding a scene well enough to adjust a camera to take an optimal picture, will be done on the edge in a mobile device.
Two interesting points for me. First, memristors seem to be excellent vehicles for modeling neurons, much better than regular transistors.
Second, he explained why deep learning has started to work in the past five to seven years. The answer is the availability of massive computing resources and massive amounts of data. He mentioned that people used to keep their photographs private, now they are posted. Interestingly, an image he used to illustrate GPU image processing was the woman in a hat that was a part of every announcement of a SIGGraph conference back when I was in graduate school, many decades ago. Then digitized images were precious, now there are more than you can possibly use.
Lots to think about.

The Monday Panel

The Monday panel, on whether 1149.1 is on its deathbed, was a bit less controversial than I’d have thought. The consensus of the panelists was that IEEE 1687 would take over in the long run. The consensus of the audience? I’m not sure.
Still, considering that 25 years is an eternity to our field, maybe a better topic would have been why is 1149.1 so healthy? I was part of a roadshow that helped push JTAG back in 1989 – to a massive lack of interest, I must say. That was a pre-Web world where we still worried about overhead, had lots of board test ATE companies, and simpler I/Os. Yeah, boundary scan never replaced in-circuit test (and the board test engineers I knew back then never thought it would) but the people on the committee did a pretty good job.

Welcome

This blog is a bunch of observations about ITC in the Disneyland Hotel this year. There is no comment feature, but please send comments and contributions to
Scott Davidson, with title ITC Blog. I’ll assume it is okay to publish your contribution. If you want an alias, please include it with a note to use it instead of your email.

Background

Background on me. This is my 36th consecutive ITC. I’ve done lots of activities – reviewed papers, presented papers (one this year,) been on the Program Committee, been Program Chair, been General Chair, been on panels, organized and chaired panels, given a tutorial, and founded some workshops. I’ve also been an exhibitor.
As you might guess, ITC is my favorite conference by far. Over the years I’ve been inspired by it, and have gotten lots of ideas from papers and exhibits. Why not send in your number one ITC-inspired moment or idea?

ITC 2015

This is ITC’s fourth year at the Disneyland Hotel. Next year we are moving to a place to be announced at the Plenary Tuesday morning – but you can get an idea if you look at the back cover of your Final Program. (Hint: it is involved with cattle.) The weather is great, as usual, and Disneyland is jammed with 60th Anniversary celebrations. If you want to eat at Downtown Disney, best to make reservations.
If you are new to Disney, and won’t have time to go into the park, you can get souvenirs at some of the stores near the hotel. (Okay Disney people, I expect 10% for this little ad, in small unmarked Disney Dollars.)

Our first ITC activity for all is Panel 1, Is IEEE 1149.1 on its Death Bed? At 4:45 in Magic Kingdom Ballroom followed by a reception at 6:30 in the Mark Twain Room and Terrace. See you there.