The idea for an Electronic Design Innovations Conference (EDI CON) began with a conversation between this magazine and leading vendors operating in China. To keep our readers up-to-date, discussions on how to better communicate information about technology, products and services are common. While print is our primary means to inform readers, other forms such as webinars, videos and live technical panels have increasingly been added to the mix. So, as the Journal was launching a new China media channel along with plans to create a microwave-centric conference/exhibition, we had the opportunity to rethink the aim and approach of such an event. The resulting concept will leverage a high-level of collaboration between event organizer and the commercial sector of the industry to identify the interests and needs of the intended audience. With the companies that serve this regional market assuming a significant role in defining the scope of EDI CON, the technical program would align attendee interests with those of the supporting exhibitors. Thus EDI CON will focus on supporting the continuing professional development of microwave engineers with information developed and provided by the industry from its knowledge of where technology is going and what engineers need to facilitate its development.

Microwave engineering is all about physical design and the foundation of microwave design lies in the models and formulas that are used in simulation at the circuit or system level. These models come from electromagnetic simulation, measurement based S-parameters and compact transistor models also derived from measurement. Because of the importance of simulation software and test and measurement equipment in the design process, the state of these tools and their use will be a central theme of the EDI CON technical program. The importance of these tools is represented by the participation of EDI CON’s platinum and gold sponsors, including leading RF/microwave test equipment manufacturers and software providers such as Agilent, Rohde & Schwarz, Anritsu, AWR/National Instruments, ANSYS and CST. To solicit and vet content related to design, measurement and modeling, senior technologists from these companies have volunteered their expertise to serve on the technical advisory committee. Joining these technical advisors are measurement and simulation experts from Auriga Microwave, Maury Microwave, Spirent Communications, and 2COMU (GEMS). These contributors will review papers on measurement and modeling techniques from the most basic components, such as on-chip passives and nonlinear devices through system-level characterization, such as over-the-air channel emulation and test. The measurement/modeling track will be co-chaired and moderated, in part, by a ranking expert from the Chinese Research Institute for microwave metrology and measurements.

Knowledgeable microwave system design and integration requires expertise in materials, semiconductors, interconnect systems (cables/connectors) and component modules. Most systems are comprised of customized parts, specialized interconnects and the optimum semiconductor technology for the job at hand. EDI CON is collaborating with technical experts from leading RF/microwave integrated device suppliers such as Skyworks, RFMD, TriQuint, Mini-Circuits and others as well as compound semiconductor foundries such as Win Semiconductors and OMMIC. Rogers Corp. and LPKF will be among the companies providing expertise in PCB properties, characterization, best design practices and the latest in RF PCB design prototyping.      

Our technology’s history is a time line of new materials and structures supporting increasingly complex systems. By developing new transmission mediums, from waveguide to miniaturized coaxial interconnect systems to planar strip-line and micro-strip technologies to high-frequency semiconductors such as MMICs and RFICs to advanced over-the-air techniques such as beam forming and MIMO based spatial diversity, our engineers have always looked for better ways to get microwave energy from point A to point B. With these advances, we have developed systems that defend societies from potential enemies, guide our air traffic, provide life saving weather prediction and tracking, directional information in our cars and medical imaging, and even allow mobile access to voice and Internet data with devices that fit in our pockets. 

Clearly, modern societies rely on the communication infrastructure powered by microwave technology. Our job is to keep advancing the state of the art that supports new generations of such systems. Critical to that pursuit is the development of international engineering resources. This pool of talent needs to be global. Globalization promotes diversity in the worldwide approach to problem solving and proximity to regional challenges fuel localized innovation, expanding overall knowledge and fostering new ways of thinking. Up until now, individual companies have been independently serving this need through their China-based operations. EDI CON unites their efforts to support and grow the local China microwave community, providing education from a commercial perspective in the language and setting that allows these engineers to learn and the experts to inform.