Throwback Thursday: Innovation and friendship as paths converge at Texas Instruments

Since TI has been a part of DSP innovation for 30 years, I found it to be a perfect time to reflect on the past; what has been significant in the TI role of the DSP over this timeframe.  During a break in a recent TI multicore business meeting, the conversation migrated to what led each of us to TI.  While I had been vaguely aware of my colleague Zoran Mladenovic’s position before I met him, I certainly did not know the full story and how it related to several other TI multicore colleagues.  So I thank Zoran for being inspired to share and now on with the tale!

The emergence of TI’s DSP technology originated in Houston, and one of the developers of this processor was an engineer, Jay Reimer, who joined the DSP team in the early 80’s working as an application engineer. 

Meanwhile, two Serbian engineers, Alek Purkovic and Zoran were working as software programmers at the Michael Pupin Institute in Belgrade. They began “cutting their teeth” on DSP implementation with TI’s TMS32020 DSP evaluation platform, as the Pupin Institute was one of the first customers in the world to start using it.  In the late 80’s Alek and Zoran were two of three Institute engineers selected by Penril DataComm, and moved to the US to develop their DSP-based V.32 modems, joining another longtime TI DSP implementer at Penril, Dan Thomas. 

In the mid 90’s, Zoran joined a startup in Germantown, MD, Telogy Networks which was deploying software for the emerging Voice over IP technology.  It was at Telogy that I met Zoran, when I joined as a product manager 15 years ago.  Zoran played a key role in the DSP-based software development for the Telogy VoIP application and through periodic supplier evaluations became most impressed with the TI DSP over other DSP vendors. Telogy began working more closely with TI and, it is through this process that Zoran met Jay.  Dan joined Telogy several years later.

TI acquired Telogy Networks in 1999, allowing Dan, Jay and Zoran to work even closer as they helped craft the first TI multicore DSP, the TMS320C5421.  As the VoIP technology matured and TI enjoyed its lion’s share of the market, TI DSP based technology increased rapidly in the wireless base station space as well.  Subsequently, in the mid 2000’s Alek (who had experienced several ‘dot com’ acquisitions at this point) joined TI, developing wireless application software and helping to drive DSP features that are optimal for wireless base station implementations.  This market is now a significant aspect of our multicore technology, both silicon and software. 

So here we are, thirty years later, Alek, Dan, Jay and Zoran are all still working as part of the TI Multicore team.  Alek  and Dan focus on TI’s wireless base station multicore applications, Jay, is a multicore SoC architect who helps drive the silicon technology and Zoran leads a team of embedded processor software and tools developers.  While I realize that is not uncommon in this industry for colleagues to depart and regroup over time, there are two aspects of this story that really struck me (and I apologize if I am getting a bit sappy).

First, it makes me feel proud as a TI’er to see that these professionals, with such talent and experience continue to choose TI as their home for technical challenge and professional reward.  The second aspect is the multi-discipline approach to product development that they represent.  At TI, software development and the end application are design factors considered in addition to the silicon elements.  Alek, Dan, Jay, Zoran and a lot of other experienced engineers, marketing experts and business managers, work alongside bright, young engineers with fresh visions and perspectives to innovate new DSP and multicore products.  And it is this factor that makes my role in marketing so pleasurable, while I can continue to get excited promoting TI DSP solutions!

I invite you to join my colleague and fellow blogger Arnon Friedmann in two weeks when he gives you some insights into TI DSP innovations to come!

In the meantime, do you have any fun memories or stories of TI DSP innovation over the last 30 years?  We would love to hear from you!