Posted in May 2016

Blog 10: Mid-way Q4

Hi y’all,

it has been over a month since my last blog, which is a bit too much. I almost forgot to post today as well:(

The past month has been quite busy at times, but at times it has been pretty relaxed as well. Quite some things have happened since the last time, so let me start.

I’ve had the milestone meeting for Processor Design Project. After a few days of hard working we finalized the changes to the cache. By just changing the cache size and mapping, we already achieved a small performance increase. But of course that’s not enough. The last 2 weeks I’ve been working, again, on the cache; I’m trying to change the mapping from direct mapped to 2-way associative cache. I’ve been unlucky so far, meaning I have some work to do coming two weeks. The deadline is nearing as well:(

Direct Mapped vs 2-Way Associative

Left: Direct Mapped, each main memory entry can only be stored in one cache entry.
Right: 2-Way Associative, each main memory entry can be stored in two cache entries.
So, in Direct Mapped if the cache entry is already occupied, the entry is discarded and replaced by the new entry. In 2-Way Associative, an entry is only replaced if both of the entries are occupied; so if only 2 main memory entries are competing for the same spot they are both stored.
(Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CPU_cache)

The Quantum course has been really busy. Besides the usual following lectures, we have had labs. The first 2 labs were not really related to quantum; we had to model amplifiers (lab 1) and an amplifier plus Analog to Digital Converter (lab 2) in Matlab. These labs were more difficult than expected, and I’ve put a lot of work in them. The third lab is a bit more related; first a ‘normal’ silicon transistor has to be modeled and analyzed and after that the same has to be done for a silicon-germanium transistor (which is believed to be a possible solution in Quantum mechanics). This all had to be done in a simulator called COMSOL. The deadline for this is coming Monday. The fourth lab is very much related to Quantum; using a quantum simulator written by a PhD student we have to model not only quantum gates, but also slightly bigger circuits (for example a 2 bit counter). The deadline for this lab is coming Friday, and I’m well on my way to finish it. The course so far has been quite interesting, but also rather difficult. I don’t regret taking this course (yet) though, eventhough most of my time goes to this course.

MOSFET in COMSOL

Modeling a Silicon MOSFET transistor in the COMSOL simulator (Click the picture for a bigger one).

I don’t want to talk too much about System Engineering, but the report is hopefully almost finished. We had weekly meetings in which we divided the work, and then we just did the work. Every Friday one of us gave a presentation to the other groups and the supervisor (this week it’s my turn:P), and then we would get feedback on our report. Together with Q3 we/I put a lot more hours in this course than the 3 ECTS warranties unfortunately.

About the VLSI course nothing much is there to be said. So far I’ve just been attending the lectures. Coming Friday he will go into details about the 3 projects, and I’ll have to choose one together with my partner. It is still my plan to work on it before the holiday starts, but I’m not sure if I’m able to follow that plan:P

I’ve not only been busy with the courses. I’ve actually been quite busy getting an internship. And you know what? I succeeded:)!! At the end of August I’m going to Munich for an internship at Huawei for 10 weeks. I’m really excited, and nervous, about it. I already know the project I’m going to work on but not the details. I’m going to work on Lightfield Display design for Virtual Reality.

For those of who you don’t know what Light Field is, let me explain it in short. Light Field is all lightrays in each point in space moving in each direction; in other words it’s 4D, x and y direction and theta and phi angles. Currently this phenomenon is used in so called LightField Cameras. You know that when you’re taking a picture you have to focus your camera (so either what’s close to you is sharp or what’s far away)? With LightField Cameras this is not the case. You just take the picture, and afterwards, with software, you can change the focus over and over. This is possible because all the information is stored in the Light Field.

Example Light Field Camera

Example of a Light Field Camera. As can be seen, each of the balls, no matter their distance, has the same focus.
(Source: http://lightfield-forum.com/light-field-camera-prototypes/adobe-lightfield-camera-protypes/)

But that’s for cameras. My project is related to VR. This is because recently it has been discovered that Light Field can improve VR. Currently, using VR might make you nauseous. This has to do with your eyes not being able to change focus since every image is displayed (on a display) on the same short distance to your eyes. You can already guess, Light Field might be able to solve this problem, by constantly changing the focus, mimicking the reality better. I didn’t know anything about Light Fields before I got this internship, but now I’m really interested. I almost can’t wait to start:) (of course, I want to enjoy my holiday first!)

Talking about the holidays, I’ve already booked my tickets:) From July 1st/2nd till August 22nd I’ll be in lovely China. At least, that’s the plan, but I don’t have a visa yet. 2 weeks ago I went to apply for it, but they didn’t accept it, and they told me I can’t spend so much time in China without leaving in between. So 1 week ago I went again, this time with my Chinese girlfriend. After 10 minutes of Chinese talk they solved the problem and suddenly I might be able to stay this long. Lesson learned: bring a Chinese person if you want to apply for a Chinese visa. Although it also helped that the second time the lady could speak Dutch:P Coming Thursday I’m going there again to pick up my visa; let’s hope they don’t call me before then saying there is a problem;)

Well, that’s it for now. Maybe it seems like I haven’t been all too busy the past month, but let me assure you: I have been quite busy the past month;) Luckily, having only lectures on 2 days helps a lot with that:P I really hope I won’t forget to write my next blog; I’ll try to be faster than this time as well:P

Till next time, cheers:)!

Oh, and it looks like summer is coming back slowly. Don’t forget to enjoy it while it lasts;)!

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