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[personal profile] pheloniusfriar
I am now working full time at the university (as an electronics specialist... sadly, an extension of my previous life and not as a physicist, but I at least get to work with physics instrumentation all over the world, so it could be worse).

One of the main issues I'm facing right now is trying to get a set of tools up and running that will do all of the things that are being asked of me: FPGA and possibly ASIC design, schematic capture and PCB layout, laboratory instrumentation systems, integrated circuit manufacturing and quality control, mechanical design, safety and reliability engineering for electronics equipment to go in a mine (2km deep) or into the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, etc., etc., etc.. My total budget for purchasing tools and training is zero. $0. Nada. Zilch. Bupkis. Being at a university, however, I can get free access to a bunch of very expensive tools for research and academic purposes. Furthermore, I got the physics department to get a Canadian Microelectronics Corporation membership, so we can access even more tools through them. So far, I am learning AutoDesk's Inventor for 3D mechanical CAD, Mentor Graphics' PADS PCB (including DxDesigner) for schematics and board layout, Mentor Graphics' HDL Designer for FPGA and ASIC design, Xilinx's ISE and Vivado for FPGA synthesis (I need both because I'm designing for both old and new families, including Zync), Xilinx's ModelSim for FPGA simulation, CERN's ROOT for scientific analysis and computing (C++ framework), and LabView for instrumentation control. I use LibreOffice for documents and spreadsheets ;). I switch back and forth on the one computer system I have between Linux and Windows depending on what task I have to perform.

Needless to say, I'm overwhelmed with training myself on all these systems all at once (some of which have nearly no actually useful documentation). And I need them all to accomplish the work I have been asked to do. It's like drinking from a firehose, with predictable results... ;)

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