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Embedded Power Conference Strives to Fill Power Vacuum

by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor

EmbeddedPower240Jason_Pic130From September 17-18, the Marriott Hotel in San Jose hosted the first annual Embedded Power Conference, focusing on “increasing power-management issues.” I attended this inaugural event, and it was well worth the price of admission (press get in free). Seriously though, it was a great first effort, and will fill a void in the industry.

Embedded Power was comprised of over 20 lectures, classes, and discussions. The highlight (in this humble editor’s opinion) was a panel moderated by ECN’s skipper, Alix Paultre. Entitled “Open-Source vs. Proprietary Methodologies in Digital Power Management,” the panel addressed a hot industry topic in a town hall format. Panelists included: Eric Persson from International Rectifier, Steve Oliver from Vicor, Dave Freeman of TI, Scott Herrington of Zilker Labs, and Deepak Savadatti of Primarion. Each had a unique perspective on this burgeoning industry issue. The ensuing discussion earned rave reviews from the crowd, evidenced by their passionate inquiries.

Other news from San Jose included the pairing of Zilker with Fairchild Semi, and Primarion with Infineon. Focusing on digital power products, the Zilker/Fairchild collaboration will yield point-of-load power devices, targeted at the server, networking, graphics and high-end desktop applications. In the case of Infineon, they’ve acquired 100% of Primarion, “to further strengthen its activities in the field of power management applications.” These partnerships underscored the notion that digital power has finally “arrived.”

One of the keystone sponsors, International Rectifier, also exhibited a stunning Gallium Nitride (GaN) Advance. According to their press release, IR’s GaN-based power device technology platform, “enables revolutionary advancements in power conversion solutions.” Compared to silicon-based technology platforms, this GaN platform improves application-specific figures of merit (FOM) up to a factor of ten.

Here’s hoping that the Embedded Power Conference becomes a permanent fixture in the industry.