May brings with it thoughts of mid-year goals and planning for that annual tradition: the Microwave Theory & Techniques Symposium (MTT-S). The site for theMTT-S is Long Beach, CA, and it will take place during the week of June 12-17. Our preview of that important microwave event, presented by Editor Nancy Friedrich, begins on p. 33. It includes a look at some of the technical presentations, along with a number of key product introductions.
While the MTT-S technical presentations have always been the essence of this industry event—and much appreciation is due to those many IEEE volunteers who chair, organize, and present these technical sessions—most of the "hot talk" occurs on the exhibition show floor. Of course, it is often the sales and marketing folks, rather than the engineering staff, who provide the most entertaining rumors. Such talk provides a great deal of entertainment for the on-floor personnel who must put in some long hours standing at an exhibit booth.
Some of the event chitchat originates, of course, from the members of the press, who are free to circulate among the technical sessions and from booth to booth in search of "the news." And when they find "the news," they are all too eager to share it with any and all who will listen. In a confined space like a convention center, the word can spread quickly (stock tips, anyone?).
When visitors ask a member of the press "what is hot," we have that uncanny ability to "create" news by simply repeating what was heard at a booth or a press conference. For those of us who take this reporting responsibility seriously, it is important to know what came before, and how a new technology or product stacks up against previous solutions.
With that in mind, it is fair to say that new integrated circuits (ICs) and components tend to be evolutionary, while advances in software and test equipment are more likely to be revolutionary. Every now and then, a test equipment supplier will surprise show attendees with an impressive offering, such as the E5052A Signal Source Analyzer from Agilent Technologies at last year's MTT-S. But for the last few shows, it has been in the area of computer-aided-engineering (CAE) software that most of the thrills have come.
CAE software, after all, is as much a part of a microwave engineer's life as an oscilloscope, voltmeter, or vector analyzer. And the software arena is extremely competitive, with developers constantly adding features and capabilities. "Signal integrity" is a phrase that has been at the edge of the microwave design consciousness for some time, and Long Beach may just provide a coming out party for this new type of CAE design tool.