Sunday, July 25, 2010

Career Change

Since 2007, I had been developing a PDP-11/70 emulator using Virtex-5 FPGAs for Quickware. The QED970 system is composed of several boards designed to be compatible with legacy hardware specifications. Designing a replica of a 1970's machine revealed a lot to me about the way it used to be; I can hardly imagine designing entire boards with LSI and MSI components to be a Floating Point Unit. An entire generation of computer scientists learned PDP-11 Assembly: now it's like Latin. So I gave an old soul to a new machine, where now?

For the few months before June I went traveling: first in Mozambique and South Africa for an Adventure and then in Israel to be with my family and apply for a position at Brightsource doing accelerated computing work. I was very impressed with the company when I visited last fall. I believe that Brightsource's approach to engineering better solar power plants will be successful at achieving grid-parity with coal after a few iterations of the design. This spring I went back to Israel fully intent on building a supercomputer for designing solar power plants.

I came back to the USA by way of San Francisco, to visit friends and go to a wedding. Instead of working on supercomputing, I have decided to move to California and make interactive stories and educational games for the iPad. This is a wide departure from where I thought I would be. The timing is right and I think anyone with a sense of "the next big thing" see a future where paperbacks will be quaint like vinyl, with an underground scene who "just miss the feeling of paper in my fingers." I'm starting the company with good people and we are going to make the highest quality children content available. In a few years the big heavy backpack full of school-books will be obsolete.

I fully intend to continue posting to this blog about accelerated computing and semiconductors. I haven't given up on developing a spreadsheet system that runs on GPUs and FPGAs. I just want to be able to fund it myself. I think that I'm also going to be more open about my accelerated computing ideas on this blog now too, I'm trading the fear that someone else will steal on of my ideas for the fear that I might never fully express them.