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Frank Nemec - Career

In May of my senior year at MIT, logo I suddenly realized that I was getting sick of school, and that perhaps going directly to grad school was not the best choice. Totally naive, I started job interviews with the very few recruiters still active on campus. I acceped my only job offer, which was with the IBM Advanced Systems Development Division laboratory in Los Gatos, California. The beautiful building with a view of the Santa Cruz Mountains looked more like a country club. It was a very creative environment. I had opportunity to work with, or at least see every day, people who invented things like the disk drive, optical bar code scanners, magnetic stripe readers, the ATM, and so on. My first task in library automation was interrupted by special invitation from the President of the United States. logo Drafted into the US Marine Corps, I served two years at the supply activity in Philadelphia, mostly working on a new teleprocessing application in S/360 assembly language. Upon release, I earned my MS at Berkeley, then returned to IBM. I wrote image compression and device driver software in the days when IBM pioneered the image industry. Unfortunately, IBM marketers saw little market for this exotic technology, so the world passed us by. I migrated into electronic design automation, with an early focus on VLSI when that was a novelty. I wrote logic simulation software in PL/I, and maintained the internal IBM EDA software package in which it was a component. I participated in the architecture, design, and software for the Logic Simulation Machine (LSM). This concept progressed from our lab, to IBM Research, to mainline processor technology. Many generations later, it is marketed as the Cadence Quickturn emulation engine. It's probably the most powerful massively-parallel 1-bit processor ever built. The basic instruction is an arbitrary 1-bit 4-input truth table. We began implementing IBM's mainline internal grid-based detail router (for integrated circuits) on this engine. IBM lost interest and dropped funding before we could finish it. I wrote several tools for Timing Analysis, earning a division-level achievement award. The engraved clock is nice, and I still use it. But the best part was a motivational conference in Florida with a collection of IBM's best contributors. In those days, I could book my own air travel. For less than my peers paid to present our LSM session (rated the best session of the conference), I paid the Delta Airlines system excursion fare, covering the Florida conference, the LSM conference session in New York, and tourist visits to Boston, New Orleans, Shreveport, and Bermuda. logo I integrated IBM's circuit simulator into the Cadence Analog Artist design environment. This afforded me the opportunity to work at Cadence sites directly with their engineers.