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Design007-Dec2020

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18 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I DECEMBER 2020 them that even now, I study at least one day a week because things change that fast. Matties: Nowadays, designers need to know so much, from design rules through automa- tion and all manufacturing. Do you think that there's so much that it's better to be a special- ist these days as a designer? Ritchey: You have to decide which part of the train you're going to get on. You have to be a specialist. DDR is getting so fast and complex that it's all one engineer can do to keep that one right without trying to do something else. My partner John's thing is DDR. The same is true of PCI Express, which is getting so fast that you can't just put things down like you're used to. There are probably more than 50 spe- cialties. Matties: What is piquing your interest now? Ritchey: I'm spending an awful lot of time with PCI Express because it has come to the same place where we were doing 32-GB stuff, except that was in a fairly narrow set of prod- ucts. We're about to fly PCI Express on the sat- ellite, so we can take pictures with that new telescope that is going to replace the Hubble. There's a lot of data there. Matties: It's an exciting time when you start looking at the speeds at which data is moving. I know 5G is going to ultimately impact the general population, along with automotive, especially autonomous vehicles. Ritchey: Automotive is one of the very tough- est because of all the different things that are linked together and the environment. I can't think of any environment that is tougher than a car. Even a satellite is not that tough. You don't run a satellite through a snowstorm and a mud puddle or keep it running, park it in the desert where the inside gets to 180°F, and then go to the top of Mount Whitney where it's -40°F and gets struck by lightning. Matties: Now that you're celebrating your "63 rd anniversary of turning 18," what are some peak memorable moments in your career? Ritchey: Probably the coolest was the first one. I was doing a radio to go to the moon right out of college. In fact, I actually have one of the prototype boards right here. I found it in my junk box, and I'd take it to class. Matties: That must have been really exciting. Ritchey: It was tremendous because there were no limits. It's a one-sided board. I made it at home by writing on the copper with water- proof ink and etching it with ferric chloride. Then, I drilled the holes into my kitchen table, not realizing I drilled holes on the table until my wife saw them. I didn't do any of this at home after that. But this is a prototype out of that radio, and I have the amplifier. Matties: We just did an interview with a com- pany that has some parts on the drone going to Mars, and the excitement of being a part of a project like that is just enormous. Back then, that must have been just incredible for you. Ritchey: We were all spellbound. You can imagine that when the launch happened, we were spellbound waiting for that all to happen. I was sitting in my living room at 2:00 a.m., watching the landing. The irony of that is that the video did not come from any American relays because they all broke. That footage all came from an Australian relay. They were just listening in for the heck of it out in the middle of Australia. There are more, but probably the coolest project was at Amdahl computer. We invented You have to decide which part of the train you're going to get on. You have to be a specialist.

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