DesignCon 2014

DesignCon 2014
Santa Clara, CA
Santa Clara Convention Center
January 28-31, 2014 

Attendees: 5,000+
Exhibitors: 150+
Press/Analysts: est. 50+

Calysto Overview


When a conference has a mascot dubbed “Mr. Chiphead” and a tagline – “Where the Chip Meets the Board” – you have a pretty good indication this is not a tradeshow for the average consumer who’s interested in the latest and greatest smartphone or tablet.

DesignCon is one of the top events for chip, package, board and system design engineers in the high-speed communications and semiconductor communities. This annual event put on by UBM Tech that takes place in Silicon Valley is for the engineers – analog, ASIC design, CAD, electrical, application, software and hardware, mechanical, PCB design, signal integrity, verification, along with system architects and many more from the R&D side of the house.

It’s four days of the latest methodologies, applications and advanced design tools on signal and power integrity, jitter and crosstalk, test and measurement, parallel and memory interface design, ICs, semiconductor components and more.

“A show so cool even the badges can teach you electronics,” commented Paul Rako, an engineer at Atmel, in the EDN Network DesignCon Blog.

2014 keynote speakers came from Intel, Micron Technology and XPRIZE. This audience came for substantive content and they were not disappointed. There were 14 tracks covering topics such as signal and power integrity, PCB design tools and methodologies, parallel and memory interface design, high-speed serial design, wireless and photonic design and integration, and jitter and crosstalk. 

Conference organizers say expo space was at capacity for 2014, with more than 150 exhibitors, 70 percent of whom will return in 2015. There were a number of new product announcements, with coverage largely in EE Times and EDN Network. However, this year saw more social media attention, with a total of 317 tweets over four days.


DesignCon continues to be an important technical conference and forum for the Signal Integrity field. As one attendee remarked, you can obtain “lots of pragmatic advice.” This is definitely a show to consider for speaking, networking, recruiting and exhibiting.

Chiphead Trivia: For the past 19 years, DesignCon’s mascot has been Chiphead, who represents the chip, board and systems design engineering community. Mr. Chiphead also has personality (albeit, geeky). Here, Mr. Chiphead answers a few questions (courtesy of DesignCon) in a brief Q&A:

The best advice anyone ever gave me was?

I was at a party once and this old rectifier approached me. He said "I just want to say one word to you. Just one word."
I said, "Yes, sir."
He said, "Are you listening?"
I said, "Yes, I am."
He said, "Semiconductors."

Why did you choose this industry for your profession?

Similar to many engineers, I spent all of my time as a Chiplet playing with Legos and Erector Sets, taking apart electronics in our house to see what was inside and then putting them back together. One day, my manufacturer said, “You know, son, you could get paid to do this as a job.” And the rest is history.

Is there a Mrs. Chiphead? Perhaps little Chiplets?

There isn’t a Mrs. Chiphead yet, but I am seeing someone and it’s quite serious (sorry, ladies). She is my ideal Chipwoman - great signal integrity (virtually no jitter!), amazing backplane operation at 25 Gbps, premium dielectric materials and connectors...I had some high standards, but consider myself very lucky to have found her.

Apparently, there is someone for everyone.

Articles of Interest

Memory shirts coming 
EDN Network
By Rick Merritt
February 5, 2014

DesignCon 2014, even the badges are cool 
EDN Network DesignCon Blog
By Paul Rako
February 5, 2014

DesignCon 2014: Test Equipment on Display 
EE Times
By Martin Rowe
February 5, 2014

Top 5 things I've learned at DesignCon 2014 so far 
EDN Network DesignCon Blog
By Ransom Stephens
January 30, 2014

In Case You Missed It: Highlights from Dr. Hermann Eul’s Keynote 
DesignCon Blog
By DesignCon Staff
January 30, 2014

IoT spells opportunity 
By Jessica Lipsky
January 29, 2014

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