As an undergraduate EE major, I have noticed many of my fellow students focus purely on the technical side of engineering. However, my goal is to understand how business principles influence engineering decisions. My role as a Technical Marketing Engineering (TME) Co-op at Samtec allows me to do just that.
Technical Marketing provides an opportunity to gain in-depth knowledge in various areas of engineering. One day I am learning about fiber optics. On another, I am learning about stamping and plating of electrical contacts. On another, I am learning how to program FPGAs. This really helps me apply what I learn in the classroom in the real world.
Putting Theory in to Practice
As an example, I recently had the opportunity to test Samtec’s immersion cooled FireFly™ Optical modules in preparation for SuperComputing 2021. For this demo, Samtec FireFly optical modules attach to a Xilinx® Virtex® Ultrascale+ FPGA VCU118 Development Kit.
The kit is controlled using Xilinx’s Vivado Design Suite. Using Vivado help me learn about transceiver architecture, signal conditioning, data analytics, eye diagrams and more. The Vivado experience reinforced what I learned in my lab classes while getting a head start for future classes.
Programming Clock Frequency
For the tradeshow demonstration, I also learned about clock frequency. The data rate on the FPGA serial links is controlled by an on-board Phase Locked Loop (PLL) on the VCU118 board, To calculate the clock frequency, a divider ratio value of 180 is used. The formula for clock frequency is:
Clock Frequency (MHz) = Data rate (Mbps)/Divider Ratio
To adjust the clock frequency, I uesd a system controller user interface (SCUI) application. We then set the clock to the desired clock frequency. The chosen clock frequency must match the nominal rate of the FireFly, which can be either 25.78 Gbps or 28.00 Gbps.
Future Co-op Endeavors
Overall, being a TME co-op has been a really cool experience. I get to learn about high-performance interconnect in medical, mil/aero, AI/ML, 5G, automotive, industrial and many other applications.
In addition, I am gaining new marketing skills and learning how to apply technical principles in marketing tactics. A good example is the blogs I have written where I can convey my expanding knowledge in a fun and educational way.
2022 will present even more learning opportunities. As I further progress in my education at San Jose State University, I look forward to applying that knowledge directly on an engineering level and marketing level here at Samtec.
Please visit the following links to learn more about Samtec:
- Blog: https://blog.samtec.com/
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/SamtecVideo
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/samtecinc/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/samtecinc
- LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/company/samtec-inc
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