valley die casting Analog Artists / Die-hard engineers stay passionate about their craft in a world gone digital
In a world consumed by digital things, some Silicon Valley people are dead --Stubborn people insist on the love of simulation technology.It sounds almost quaint and old.It's like they hang stubbornly on vinyl records and vacuum tubes.After all, the digital revolution has been widely celebrated, with devices such as cameras, telephones and televisions starting to use one to zero languages of computers every day.But the more digital the world needs simulation."Everything you live, eat, breathe, smell, hear is completely simulated," said Peter Henry, a simulation engineer at National Semiconductor .".The digital world receives analog signals and compresses them into code.Behind the scenes, every little bit, either one, or one zero.In the words of another national engineer, it is black, or white, properly named Nick Gray.In contrast, he says, "simulation" is a shadow of gray."The sound emitted from someone's vocal cords or musical instruments travels in a simulated wave.It is also simulated when the sound reaches someone's ear.It is digitized only when the sound is recorded on a disc or compressed to send to a wireless phone.Barry Gilbert, a researcher at chip maker analog equipment, said: "Behind these digital systems, there is a group of analog elements that blindly serve the king ."With the development of the digital field, simulation engineers often feelcasts.The public does not understand their work;The media did not want to write about it.Young engineers who graduated from college did not choose to specialize in simulation technology."This is definitely a path to choose less," said Erroll Dietz, senior design manager at Santa Clara National, one of the largest companies in the $20 billion M.a-Simulation business.After some computer meetings, the simulation engineers held a "dinosaur party," Peter Henry said ".A television reporter asked Brian Halla, chief executive, "isn't simulation irrelevant?"It's not just irrelevant," halhalarem said. "We are about to usher in the next analog revolution."All the digital computing power in the world is" worthless "unless these computers are able to receive and send analog signals to interact with the real world," Halla said."At the end of the day, the real world is simulated," Halla said .".15 or 20 years ago, it was said that everything that was simulated could be digitized.That's true.But even if the whole world is digital,The world signal will still be analog."Halla has inherited National's dynamic simulation business, built by Simulation designers who are known for their quirks.Signs of free-Thinking is obvious on the National Campus.On 1976, Bob Peters, brought by Vidara, maintained a cubicle full of documents ---Attracted the interest of the local fire captain.-He proudly said that he likes to drop his computer from the roof.(He denies that this last act is a protest against the digital world, though in one of his books he suggests, "If the computer continues to lie to you...Garbage from digital disaster!") National Staff Scientist Pease did do some consideration for the digital age.He uses computers and even maintains web pages on www.national.com/rap.Electronic Design News called Tom Redfern "a genius in the field," who joined National in 1971 and is now a researcher.For the audio group, Redfern has installed a "portal" in their compartment area, which produces equipment that enters speakers, amplifiers and other audio system products, featuring tall speakers and colorful photos of rock style.It turned out to be a popular gathering point."It's great to have a place to write when it's impossible to describe something," says Brendan Whelan, who his colleagues call "Elvis "."Whelan's photo is one of the pictures on the wall, although you don't necessarily know ---This photo shows his long hair blowing back straight, while Whelan is now shaved his head.Compared with most people in Silicon Valley, analog designers talk more about passion, art and creativity at work.Redfern talks about the excitement of sending the design to the lab, where it will be etched into silicon."You know you'll have something in your hand soon," Redfern said ."."This must be the feeling of the sculptor when he finished his work."Part of this sense of ownership comes from working in smaller teams.Although hundreds or even thousands of people will work together to create a microprocessor or a major software program, simulation engineers work in teams of four or six people."You will find that a lot of Sims want to be the only developer of this project," Erroll Dietz said ."."They are more like artists.It's hand-crafted.Many pure simulation layouts are done manually.Pat Brockett, executive vice president of the national analog products group, said the difference between digital and analog designers is "the difference between a person building a house with bricks, and a cathedral.But just because it's art doesn't mean it's elegant.They are as competitive as anyone in Silicon Valley.Pat Tucci, director of system product design, said: "I like to get into situations where there are really strong competitors and get market share from them ---A real son.Life of a stonemaker"You know your competitors," says Tucci ."."You can interact with them.You just want to beat them.This makes the party more interesting."They also have the pride and idealism of Silicon Valley."Silicon Valley is changing the way of life around the world," said Peter Henry .".His job is part of it, he says: "You walk into a stereo store where people are listening to what is pouring out of your pipeline .".Redfern said: "The ultimate climax is when people accept it, when people buy it, when companies make money."Money is a must," he added."This is not enough.You want your child to thrive and be accepted in this world."There is no doubt that engineers think their products are their children.Erroll Dietz is a big man who sticks out a meaty finger and between the two lines of his fingerprint there is a 1 feet that looks like dust.It's not.This is an "operational amplifier", a miniature device that can be used to amplify electronic signals from devices such as mobile phones to PCs, and it is one of the most common tools produced by analog designers.Dietz makes the smallest operational amplifier in the world.-It is called "Silicon Dust ";It's about the size of a letter printed on this page.Putting the amplifier under a microscope, you will see 50 tiny transistors that are not visible to the naked eye, appearing on Dietz and the colored circuit patterns drawn by two designers.His name and the names of his designers, Lorraine and Dawn, also appear in lower case letters.Artists like to sign their work.The device costs about 50 cents.Dietz, who, like many of his colleagues, is almost engaged in music, still plays tenor and soprano saxophone ---When his workaholic habits and loyalty to the two children give him time.He started building the Heath kit as an engineer, this isPopular method of making homemade radio.The Heath kit is no longer a victim of the digital revolution.Today's children, Dietz lamented that playing with computers is not making so many gadgets by themselves.According to simulation equipment company Barrie Gilbert, the art of simulation flourished in the years after World War II."World War II is an era of great innovation," Gilbert said .""If you are bombed every day like my hometown...You become creative."Simulation tools support technologies such as radar," Gilbert said.But over the next few decades, with smaller transistors making digital computers possible, hot young scientists have followed the money into the digital space."Everyone wants to do network programming," Dietz said ."."No one is willing to pick up the soldering iron to solve the problem."When people can do the job, the company will do anything to hire them.Let Gilbert build an 11-He is attracted by the Oregon people Design Center.National has small centers around the world, from Fort Collins, Colorado.To Bangalore, India, to the latest Delft, The Netherlands, which opened last year.For young people engaged in engineering, the simulation master beckons with the temptation of personality and fun.They didn't say they could keep the tide off the numbers.They don't want."I'm not an."Digital lobbyists," Gilbert said."I don't want to change the world, I don't want to get rid of numbers.It does something valuable.It changed the face of society.But when he added: "I just don't like to do this, he echoes the emotion of a mock designer everywhere."Digital phones are one of the most common machines using analog and digital technology.While digital technology makes mobile phones smaller, analog technology is still needed to capture and transmit people's voices.As shown in this simple wave, the simulation is a different range of air vibrations that produce sound.--Sound waves cause coil vibration in the microphone, converting sound waves into electrical signals.--The phone records the sound digitally in real time and compresses it into small packages sent in the air.When the other phone receives these packets, it expands them again.--The signal creates a different magnetic field around the magnet in speake, causing the diaphragm to vibrate, converting the electrical signal into the sound you hear.--Digital telephone technology can compress the sound of 8 people through an analog signal.