ISSCC 2018 [Catharsis]

Pick your favorite post rock song. Something calming, but melodic. Experient a bit. Don’t know what post-rock is? Throw it into Youtube and see what you get. Maybe a little electro focused. Sweet, syrupy synths covering you up and making you feel warm and safe. That’s how I feel right now, so that’s how I want you to feel reading this.


This week is the 2018 version of ISSCC, the premier circuit design conference across the world. It’s my third year attending, and the first year I’m attending as someone on the non-academic side. There was plenty of cool stuff, and seeing the designs people pump out year and year is quite inspiring. I don’t really want to write about the designs just yet though, there’s still a day left and I’d prefer to let a few of my thoughts calibrate first. I’ve already accomplished all that I set out to do though, so let’s talk about that.

Way back in August, everyone I knew was telling me to just hurry up and make a decision goddamnit. It was a particularly stressful time me, and I did a lot of things without looking at the big picture. I’m not going to claim to have learned from that at all - really, the opposite. I’ve turned out alright over the past 6 months or so, so clearly everything I did was a well-thought out and reasoned manuever1. Regardless of how we got here, there were many people who deserved an explanation, and I didn’t quite get to address all of them. The big three were: my professor, the professor I’d be working with, and the person who planned on funding it all.

I’ve said it a million times, and I’ll say until the end of time as well - Pavan Kumar Hanumolu was an excellent advisor, and he was incredibly gracious about the entire process. The professor I intended to work with, while perhaps a little more surprised2, was also quite kind about it. And what about person number three? The one giving all the money? Never really got a chance to talk to him or apologize really. It hasn’t exactly weighed me down that much, but it’s definitely been sitting in the back of my mind. It’s one of those things that just drifts in, but it doesn’t really settle. It’s like a faint cloud on a calm day, you acknowledge the prescence but quickly forget it too.

I was fortunate to see that he was in town for ISSCC, so I shot him a message trying to meet up. I should’ve cleaned up my Twitter first in retrospect, but whatever, it’s social media3. He accepted and I finally got to tell him my story. He smiled, and said he wans’t that bummed - oh no, he didn’t have to spend a lot more money, life goes on. We talked about work, the research he’s funding, other random interests. It probably lasted 15 minutse or so, and then he had to run off to another meeting. Shook hands, left, hope to see each other again soon!

Man, it’s those little interactions that really make life fun honestly. I got a glimpse into the history and eyes of one of my heroes, I got to ditch some burdens [that I really didn’t need to carrying, it turns out], and I got to taste what that equally green grass could have been. ISSCC, you’ll always have a special place for me and your ability to make these momements happen =)


Another short one - the goal was to hit 30 min @ 2/wk, but I don’t think time is really the aspect. It’s really about getting a though finished. If I have a thought, it’ll take less than that [usually]. If I coming here with a blank piece of paper, well, let’s see if I can get something down in 30min. No pressure. Signing off.


  1. NOPE ^
  2. NOPE ^
  3. Social media is social, so trying to make it professional is an utter waste of time at best and a complete logical fallacy at worst. LinkedIn, why do you exist? ^
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