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Comment Re:Going by the data in the summary... (Score 2) 372

It originated with modern semiconductor industry in the 1950s. Semiconductors are the purest materials on the face of the earth and for some reason they preferred percentage purity over parts-per-million purity. The materials folks still say things like "seven-nines" but most device engineers I know talk in terms of impurity density per cubic centimeter (and will say it in terms of an exponential, for example, "this sample has 10 to the 13 per cubic centimeter phosphorous".

Comment Re:The title is misleading (Score 4, Informative) 161

It doesn't actually rule out WIMPs, it just (for the most part) rules out WIMPs with specific characteristic. Much larger, more sensitive detectors (both Xenon and Argon) are on the drawing boards for future searches.

Just like supersymmetry, it is very hard to actually rule something out.

Comment Re:wait, wut? (Score 4, Informative) 134

"Warp Drive" as a concept should not be patentable. If it were, then someone could claim a patent on all faster-than-light travel.

What *is* patentable is a specific implementation of the warp drive concept. Someone else could build a warp drive in a different way, but they couldn't copy your design.

That's the main idea behind patents, although it is partially corrupted now.

Comment Re:1000 engineers (Score 1) 128

I see what you're getting at and I don't disagree. However, as you know this stuff is really complicated and you need to be specialized in your career to be effective.Most of these jobs are for Electrical Engineers, a few could be also held by people who studied Computer Science or Mechanical Engineering. I'm an Analog/Mixed-Signal Engineer and while I know Verilog and how to run verification tools, I'm frankly not as competent at those roles as specialists are. It is the way of the world.

I agree you could retrain a product engineer to become a verification engineer but a company would rather bring in a fresh out from India on an H1-B.

Comment Re:1000 engineers (Score 5, Informative) 128

One organizes many contributions using any number of industry-standard design methodologies. Designing airplanes and cars uses even more engineers.

I suspect NVIDIA is slightly exaggerating and are counting the contribution of many "overhead" engineers that provide value for the whole engineering organization, such as people who work on design tools, design kits, methodology and the like.

You're right, there are many repeated subunit but each unit needs a team to be optimized.

For a chip this complex you need:

Logic Designers (who come up with high-level models for the chip and define the instruction set / hardware interface)
Front-end engineers that write Verilog and/or VHDL (I have no idea what NVIDIA uses)
Implementation engineers (who do place and route and parasitic extraction)
Verification engineers (who use various tools to see if everything is as it should be)
Packaging engineers (who work closely with vendors to develop a custom package for the chip/module)
Module engineers (since we have 3D stacked memories on this device the module engineering is far from trivial)
Thermal Engineers (3D modules typically have very complex thermal requirements)
Signal Integrity engineers (since we're going so fast just getting a signal from point A to point B is hard)
Analog/Mixed Signal engineers (for clocking, serial I/O development)
Integration Engineers (for modeling how to put all this together)
System Engineers (for figuring out if this is all going to work)
Software Engineers (for low-level software dev)
CAD Engineers (for developing and maintaining an appropriate computer-aided design flow)
Foundry Engineers (for working with the foundry on the physical production of the wafers... anything this big and complex will need process customization)
ESD engineers (for figuring out and implementing an ESD strategy)
Library Engineers (for customizing and optimizing the standard cell library used in the chip)
Product Engineers (for solving production problems as they arise)
Test Engineers (for developing and implementing tests to show the chip is working as expecting)
Application Engineers (who work with early adopters to integrate this chip into their systems)

and on and on and on...

As you can see, an army of engineers is required for a chip this complex to see the light of day. On simpler chips, many of these roles can be played by the same people, but in a chip this big, they need to divide the work or it would never get done.

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