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The Rest Is History


I recently fielded some questions on the evolution of Electronic System Level design. The questions started me thinking about how ESL is being applied today and what effect some of the historical assumptions might be having on ESL’s perceived use cases. It’s interesting that we are at a point to consider historical assumptions about ESL. Looking it up, Wikipedia claims that the term ESL ... » read more

Start The Revolution


By Jon McDonald “Know thyself.” That advice is promoted in so many different forms it's hard to know where it started. I have been involved in a number of projects recently in which these words would have greatly simplified the project flow. “Simplified” is probably not quite the right word. The issue in this case is not to simplify the project, but to properly understand, characterize... » read more

Making Time to Do It Right


By Jon McDonald Change can be a very difficult thing. Most organizations I talk to about adopting system-level design know it’s a worthwhile investment. They believe it will have a positive return. They genuinely want to improve their processes, but believe they don’t have time to invest in making the change. In a recent conversation I heard an excellent encapsulation of this thinking. It ... » read more

Making Time to Do It Right


By Jon McDonald Change can be a very difficult thing. Most organizations I talk to about adopting system-level design know it’s a worthwhile investment. They believe it will have a positive return. They genuinely want to improve their processes, but believe they don’t have time to invest in making the change. In a recent conversation I heard an excellent encapsulation of this thinking. It ... » read more

Garbage Or Treasure?


By Jon McDonald “Garbage in, garbage out” is a very appropriate axiom to keep in mind as you consider what kind of system-level modeling to invest in. Unfortunately this can be complicated by considering another piece of wisdom that often applies as well: “One mans trash is another’s treasure.” What might be an inappropriate abstraction for one type of analysis may be very accepta... » read more

Why Should A Decision Be Delayed?


By Jon McDonald Way back in college when I first learned about “delayed binding” I was absolutely ecstatic. In its most general interpretation this is not just a software concept. It’s a way of life. The important part of the concept is to understand that a decision or an action should not be taken until it needs to be taken. This is a relatively simple concept with very broad implica... » read more

Garbage Or Treasure?


By Jon McDonald “Garbage in, garbage out” is a very appropriate axiom to keep in mind as you consider what kind of system-level modeling to invest in. Unfortunately this can be complicated by considering another piece of wisdom that often applies as well: “One mans trash is another’s treasure.” What might be an inappropriate abstraction for one type of analysis may be very accepta... » read more

Simple Economics


By Jon McDonald I was watching one of the MIT OpenCourseWare videos the other day. It was one of the lectures on Computer Science. I believe it was Prof. Robert Gallager who made a statement that really got me thinking: “Increasingly, system computational complexity has little impact on cost because of chip technology.” From a hardware perspective I initially had a bit of trouble with t... » read more

The Best Abstraction


By Jon McDonald The other day I was asked what would be the best level of abstraction to model at for system-level design. This is a question I get, in one form or another, far too often. It reminds me of an old quote attributed to Lincoln, slightly updated and applied to this subject: “One model can answer some of the questions all of the time, and all of the questions some of the time, but... » read more

Keep The Silos


By Jon McDonald I’ve had a couple of conversations recently in which software developers expressed that they have little interest in working with hardware or systems developers. The general sentiment seemed to be “when [a place commonly regarded as extremely hot] freezes over” they might consider it. Perhaps for those living in northern climates there may be a possibility of this freeze,... » read more

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