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VITA PERSONAS

As VITA grows in innovations and ideas, we look to those participants actively engaged in our organization to provide insights and feedback on how to best shape our standards into the future.  Our VITA Personas segment highlights those who are making contributions to our community and helping shape today’s VITA standards.

This critical aspect of our ecosystem is what keeps our organization vibrant and our standards relevant. If you know someone with embedded computing experience who may want to share their view on being a part of VITA, drop us a note at content@vita.com.

  • Monday, August 19, 2019 1:25 PM | VITA Marketing (Administrator)

    Lionel Provost, Digital Electronics Expert, Thales

    As an electronics enthusiast since the beginning of my studies, I was a board designer for almost 12 years in a very dynamic and innovative company: Interface Concept. By being involved early in complex embedded projects, I had the chance to put my new skills to work on several technologies (Intel and PowerPC CPU, AMD GPU, Altera/Xilinx FPGA, Marvell Ethernet switches) in various form factors (VME, PMC/XMC, VPX, FMC).

    I’ve been involved in VITA developments since the first release of ANSI/VITA 46.0 VPX in 2007 and have built a strong culture of standardization and open architectures. Four years ago, I had the opportunity to join Thales as a digital hardware expert. It was a good way for me to be closest to the system and I’m now working on new electronic warfare systems, where open standards and a culture of re-use are increasingly important.

    WORK WITH VITA

    1. Explain some of the work you’re doing with VITA 46 (VPX) in the hardware you are developing?

    I’ve been a VITA 46 user since the beginning of the standard, designing different VPX COTS FPGA, CPU boards. Because I’ve been using the VITA standard for almost 15 years, I know this experience helps me to build better architectures consistent with new standard enhancements.

    2. What new design challenges do you see for electronics used in military aircraft, and how can standards help?

    The complexity of electronics equipment is increasing. Using standard is a way to make modularity and upgradability possible at reasonable cost.

    WHY ENGINEERING?

    1. Did you always want to be an engineer? If so, why?  If not, how’d you wind up here?

    I didn’t always want to be an engineer, but since early childhood I have always been passionate by building and creating stuff. That led me on the path of engineering, but rather late!

    2. What has surprised you the most about the work you do with embedded computing? (or engineering in general)

    The variety of topics and the number of possible applications in embedded computing. They are almost infinite, whatever the field.

    3. What is one of the biggest issue currently facing engineers?

    The incredible evolution of technologies and the ability to integrate them into our equipment is challenging.

    4. What advice would you give to someone looking into this field of engineering?

    The ability to take a step back from your daily work and learn how to build skills on topics you do not know. This requires a significant effort, but it is an important part of the job to be able to progress.

    Off the cuff: What’s the most recent show you’ve binge watched?

    Chernobyl: very realistic, didactic and addictive TV mini-series on the world's worst nuclear power plant accident

  • Tuesday, July 30, 2019 1:56 PM | VITA Marketing (Administrator)

    Michael Munroe, Principal Backplane Architect, Elma Electronic

    Working in the interconnect packaging and backplane industry since 1986, Michael has authored and contributed to many industry articles, published in such magazines as Connector Specifier, Electronic Products, Electronic Design, EE Times, COTS Journal, Military Embedded Systems and Military & Aerospace Electronics. He is a major contributor to embedded computing standards, including IEEE 1101.2, CompactPCI, AdvancedTCA, VME64x, VITA 46.x, VITA 65.x and many others.

    Michael is a former secretary and treasurer of PICMG and a former vice-chair of the VITA Standards Organization (VSO). He continues to play an active role in VITA and PICMG and is a professional member of the IEEE.

    WORK WITH VITA

    1. Explain some of the work you’re doing with VITA 65 (OpenVPX).

    I contribute to the development and revision of the VPX family of standards as well as the SOSA™ (Sensors Open Systems Architecture) standard. I’m especially focused on the complete interconnect channel and the implementation of high-speed backplanes. Currently I’m involved in the SOSA Hardware Working Group, the SOSA System Management Sub-Committee and the VITA 65.0/.1 standards. Elma has been the first to implement many new Eurocard backplane architectures and was chosen to implement the CMOSS backplane for CERDEC, a predecessor of the SOSA architecture.

    2. How is MOSA (Modular Open Systems Approach) impacting standards-based embedded designs and OpenVPX specifically?

    Open system architectures began with the PC/micro revolution and then with the industrial acceptance of the VME architecture in the early 80s. Open, modular, backplane-based computer architectures have been a constant throughout my career.

    In industrial and defense applications, we depend on a vibrant ecosystem that can meet a wide variety of system requirements from aerospace and mining to rail and autonomous vehicles. VPX depends upon the collaboration of a wide variety of vendors to meet increasingly challenging system requirements. The open standard approach allows multiple organizations to contribute to a common standard that can meet everyone’s current requirements.

    WHY ENGINEERING?

    1. Did you always want to be an engineer? If so, why? If not, how’d you wind up here?

    I have wanted to be an electrical engineer for as long as I can remember. I was first excited to build small motors from nails and magnet wire for a Boy Scout Merit Badge. I went on to obtain my Novice Amateur Radio License and my first copy of the A.R.R.L. Handbook and started building Heath Kits.

    However, college was not what I expected, and I dropped out and went to work becoming a machinist for such companies as DuPont and W.L. Gore and Associates. Later, working as a technician in the field of photovoltaics, I eventually found my way back into industrial electronics, where I combined my interest in electronics with my training as a machinist. There are many ways to arrive at any destination, and I can honestly say I have found enjoyment in every job that I’ve held. I come from a family of teachers and I find that much of my work within this industry is really just another form of teaching. I enjoy introducing young and old engineers and technicians to new open architectures.

    2. What has surprised you the most about the work you do with embedded computing? (or engineering in general)

    The bandwidth and data rate of backplanes continues to astound me. When I first entered this industry, a 3 MHz computer bus was considered very fast. Today, our company is implementing a new SOSA/VPX backplane where every channel will be capable of 25 GBase-KR signaling. This is astounding. The ability of silicon to reliably decode information out of a sea of noise and discontinuities makes much of this work possible.

    3. What advice would you give to someone looking into this field of engineering?

    Follow the IEEE Code of Ethics and learn to enjoy collaboration with others. Share your knowledge and always be aware of what you don’t know. Remember, if you can’t measure a process, you can’t control it. Every electrical and optical behavior is controlled by physical elements, defined by measurement.

    Off the cuff: What’s something interesting you do outside of work?

    I enjoy photography, am a hobby bee keeper and spend too much time on Facebook keeping in touch with old friends and my children.

  • Wednesday, June 26, 2019 12:40 PM | VITA Marketing (Administrator)

    Paul Mesibov, VP of Engineering, Pentek

    Paul Mesibov is co-founder of Pentek and holds the position of Vice President of Engineering. He has over 35 years’ experience in the electronics industry and oversees the design and implementation of Pentek’s digital signal processing, software radio and data acquisition products. He is currently an active member of SOSA, PICMIG, VITA, PCI-SIG and IEEE as well as a key contributor to several ANSI standards.  Prior to his current position, he was a design engineer for AP Circuit, Inc. designing active signal processing analog filters and Wavetek, Inc. designing benchtop signal processing filter products. He holds a bachelors and masters degree in Electrical Engineering from the City University of New York.  Aside from Paul's engineering forte, he is also an accomplished musician.

    WORK WITH VITA

    1. Explain some of the work you’re doing with VITA 49.0 (as known as VRT for VITA Radio Transport) and its recent companion standard, VITA 49.2.

    Having been involved in the development of VITA 49 since its inception, I participated in drafting several parts of the original standard and have continued as an active member of the working group to extend its scope and features.  At Pentek, we’ve worked to add these VITA 49.0 protocol engines to several of products over the last eight years, including the latest Quartz RFSoC product line.

    2. What is the significance of the new packet classes added to VITA 49.2 in 2017?

    These new extensions add support for transmit signals so that precisely-timed waveforms can be generated by D/A converters for radar pulses, counter measures and communication systems. They also add control packets that can control the operational parameters of receivers and transmitters as well as monitor status to verify proper operation. (RELATED: VITA 49.2 Continues to Evolve)

    For example, the RFSoC products mentioned generate VITA 49.0 header packets that are appended to data blocks acquired with A/D converters and digital down converters. The headers include metadata for the signals including time-stamp, frequency and bandwidth information.  These packets are extremely useful for distributing radio signals across the network-based radio topologies that are now replacing the older dedicated “stovepipe” architectures.

    3. Why is SDR (software-defined radio) an important component of embedded systems?

    SDR really means radio equipment whose operating modes are controlled by programming, rather than fixed circuitry, for a particular radio band or signal type. Specifically, SDR means that radio signals are digitized as “close” to the antenna as possible and the traditional sections of radios, like mixers, oscillators, filters and demodulators, are all performed by programmable and configurable digital signal processing blocks. This allows common hardware elements to be re-purposed for a wide range of different signals and different applications. This offers a big savings in SWaP (size, weight and power), which is especially important in aircraft and unmanned vehicles. It also extends the useful life cycle of radio equipment because new features can often be added by software upgrades.

    WHY ENGINEERING?

    1. Did you always want to be an engineer? If so, why?  If not, how’d you wind up here?

    When I was five I wanted to be a “builder.”  I spent the 1960s watching every NASA rocket launch. Looking back on some of the notebooks I have from when I was 12, it’s clear that I liked robots, since I have a whole bunch of drawings showing how I could wire their motors.  I ended up spending my teenage years playing electric guitar, which meant building up guitar amps from old radios.  Next thing I knew, I was in a community college physics class on a field trip to the Princeton Plasma Physics lab visiting their fusion reactor.  Someone asked if there were any electrical engineers in the group.  That’s when I knew what I wanted to do.

    2. What has surprised you the most about the work you do with embedded computing? (or engineering in general)

    That I’m still doing it.  Seriously though, the surprising thing about electrical engineering is the range and scope of the learning to which a good engineer is exposed.  After almost 40 years as an EE, I know at least something about a wide range of engineering disciplines – not just those I studied in school.  Most good EEs say the same thing.

    3. What is one of the biggest issues currently facing engineers?

    While the Internet has been a fantastic resource for engineering research – I’d never want to go back to the days of searching the IEEE Proceedings on microfiche – it is not a replacement for critical thinking.  When there is more information than ever to sift through, the ability to put information in context has never been more important.  I suppose that is good advice for everyone, not just engineers.

    4. What advice would you give to someone looking into this field of engineering?

    Most successful embedded systems engineers are hobbyists.  Play with this stuff at home, too.

    Whatever you decide to pursue, make sure you go to a place where there are mentors that you respect and that the culture of the organization promotes learning and intellectual growth.  It’s sometimes hard to know going in, but do what you can to find out.  Working at the right place sets up your whole career. 

    Off the cuff:  Tell us your favorite joke.

    Q: What is the difference between hardware and software? 

    A: Hardware is a thing that if you play with long enough it breaks.  Software is a thing that if you play with long enough it works.

  • Tuesday, March 12, 2019 12:27 PM | VITA Marketing (Administrator)

    Patrick Collier, Architect – Senior Systems Engineer, Harris

    Patrick is an Open Systems Architect and Systems Engineer with Harris Corporation. His focus is on the development and use of open architectures for in space and non-space applications, an area he has been active in since 2009.  In addition to his current work with VITA, Patrick was a lead for the Space Universal Modular Architecture (SUMO), where he worked to incorporate existing space-related standards and architectures into SUMO.

    Work with VITA

    1. Please explain some of the work you’re doing with VITA & the HOST/SOSA initiative.

    I’m a co-founder of SOSA and chair of the hardware working group as well as the co-founder of the Next Generation Space Interconnect Standard (NGSIS), which is an umbrella that includes the SpaceVPX, SpaceVPXLite, and SpaceVNX efforts. I’m also chair of all three space-related VITA working groups.

    During my short tenure at NAVAIR (government civilian), I worked on the HOST effort as a hardware lead.

    2.  How do you feel this initiative will help the strengthen the embedded computing industry?

    SOSA, HOST, CMOSS, SpaceVPX, and all the others are working to create an ecosystem that’s based upon a consensus-based architecture and building blocks that maximize portability and reuse, among other quality attributes that are important to these efforts.

    Why Engineering?

    1.  Did you always want to be an engineer? If so, why?  If not, how’d you wind up here?

    I originally wanted to be an astronaut (go figure) and an Olympic track and field athlete – made it closer to the Olympic dream than the other. 

    Science has always been in me.

    2.  What has surprised you the most about the work you do with embedded computing? (or engineering in general):

    The term “Think outside the box” is very subjective.  Incredible technologies, incredible ideas, and a great potential.  Engineers need to think globally, instead of inside a compartment, to understand the “connectedness” of everything.

    3.  What are some of the biggest issues currently facing engineers?

    Thinking globally.  Developing outside of their comfort zones.  Engaging with others as part of a larger group with a variety of disparate viewpoints.

    4.  What advice would you give to someone looking into this field of engineering?

    Consider this field as a mix of science and art.  Think about potentials at a macro level as well at a micro level.  Look to a convergence of a variety of fields and endeavors.

    Off the cuff: What’s the most recent show you’ve binge watched?
    Games of Thrones – I love dragons!

  • Monday, September 24, 2018 9:06 AM | VITA Marketing (Administrator)

    Steven Devore, Senior Electrical Engineer, Leonardo DRS Signal Solutions

    Steve received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering in 2012 from the Pennsylvania State University. His undergraduate studies focused on research programs within the Student Space Programs Laboratory (SSPL) along with initiating a collaborative project with MIT Lincoln Laboratory, using his satellite radio design for first responders. His time at TE Connectivity culminated with a patent for a novel RF interconnect design before joining Leonardo DRS Signal Solutions in 2012. Steve has been an instrumental architect of the system design for the DRS VPX product line and building trusted relationships with customers.

    Work with VITA

    1.  Explain some of the work you’re doing with VITA & its related standards.

    I initiated the VITA 67.3 standard effort in 2012 with a focus in resolving the blind mate coax issues that were forthcoming. After chairing that standard for several years, I shifted my attention to integrating these modules with the VITA 65 standard. After that began successful adoptions, I started a new standard, VITA 66.5, to address the same concerns DRS had with coax, but now in the optical interface space, five years later.

    2.  How has being involved in an effort like the CMOSS initiative affected your view of the embedded computing industry?

    The CMOSS, SOSA, and HOST standards initiative are the extensions of VITA standards that VSO members had anticipated. Government customers are collecting information throughout industry that is the result of past and present collaboration efforts, and applying it to solve recent needs. I’m encouraged by their openness to industry suggestions, and the willingness of competitors to compromise. It’s been very rewarding to see the standards that I have contributed to, VITA 65, 66.5, and 67.3, being adopted in the next generation of embedded systems.

    Why Engineering?

    1.  Did you always want to be an engineer? If so, why?  If not, how’d you wind up here?

    Yes, since early childhood.

    2.  What has surprised you the most about the work you do with embedded computing? (or engineering in general)

    The biggest surprise is how many niches exist within the MIL AERO marketspace. Within these niche markets, there’s a strong community where knowledge is shared, but once you go beyond those bounds, everything can change. From the terminology used, to the design process itself, it can be difficult to communicate and effectively collaborate as programs incorporate a wider variance of target applications.

    3.  What is one of the biggest issue currently facing engineers?

    The largest issue RF engineers are facing today is the consolidation of component vendors. This has forced large obsolescence efforts and limited the breadth of available components for new designs. The positive outlook is that this process creates an opportunity for new, small companies to fill the void with innovative offerings.

    4.  What advice would you give to someone looking into this field of engineering?

    Don’t be afraid to try multiple specialties early in your schooling and career. It’s key to success in any career choice to determine what you’re passionate about and focus your career to support those passions.


    Off the cuff: Tell us your favorite joke.

    If God isn't a Penn State Fan, why is the sky blue and white?

  • Monday, June 04, 2018 9:24 AM | VITA Marketing (Administrator)

    Dylan Lang, Standards Development Manager, Samtec Inc.

    Dylan was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA.  He first became interested in electronics in his high-school physics classes and in working with his dad on restoring vintage audio gear.   These motivated him to choose a career based around the subject.  After getting his Associate’s in Electrical Engineering Technology, he lived in Brooklyn, NY for three years doing some volunteer work.  Upon moving back to Pittsburgh, Dylan joined Samtec and has been here ever since.

    Work With VITA

    1.  Explain some of the work you’re doing with VITA & the upcoming FMC+ standard?

    Recently, I have been participating in several VITA marketing efforts as well as putting embedded systems in front of our customers.  In addition, I serve as Editor on several working groups (VITA 57 and VITA 74) and am Chairman of the VNX (VITA 74) Marketing Alliance.

    2.  The VITA 57.1 FMC specification defines two connectors: High Pin Count (HPC) and Low Pin Count (LPC). What purpose does each serve in a FMC-based system?

    The (LPC) connectors provide 68 user-defined, single-ended signals (or 34 user-defined, differential pairs); (HPC) connectors provide 160 user-defined, single-ended signals (or 80 user-defined, differential pairs), 10 serial transceiver pairs and additional clock.

    These prove to be extremely useful when developing on FPGA-based platforms.  Both the LPC and HPC connectors allow for flexibility by providing user-defined pins while maintaining high data rates.

     Why Engineering?

    1.  Did you always want to be an engineer? If so, why?  If not, how’d you wind up here?

    Originally, I wanted to be a Calculus teacher.  I loved the way mathematics just made sense and the process of logical thinking.  However, I wanted to balance that with my love for electronics, so engineering seemed like a happy medium.

    2.  What has surprised you the most about the work you do with embedded computing? (or engineering in general)

    I would say the impact of embedded computing on almost everything around us proved to be a wake-up call for me.  From your smart phone to space, embedded computing is everywhere.

    3.  What is one of the biggest issues currently facing engineers?

    One of the biggest challenges in the embedded realm is designing a solution to please everyone.  With Standards families like VITA, there are so many companies and interested parties that can participate, it can be a challenge to think from so many different angles at once.

    4.  What advice would you give to someone looking into this field of engineering?

    I would say go for it!  While it can be technically intense and at times seem overwhelming, the results are well worth it in knowing how far-reaching the effects of your efforts are.  So many companies like Facebook, Apple, Intel, and Google thrive on the latest in embedded technologies, so it’s great to be a part of that.

    Off the cuff: What’s the most recent show you’ve binge watched?

    Not necessarily binge watching, but have been following the NHL playoffs very closely.

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