REP: GRADUATION: Into the Wild Blue Yonder

Hello, blogreaders!

A lot has changed for me since I’ve blogged last. For one, I’ve got my final placement secured and I’m ramping up with an exciting array of new responsibilities. And I’ll tell you a bit more about that transition in due time. Today, I’d like to share with you the fantastic send-off that the Rotation Engineering Program treated me to!

Outside of the obvious benefit of the rotations at Intel, I’ve always thought the primary benefits of the REP to be the top-notch training and the tight-knit social group. And our graduation event was a tour de force of both.

First, the training was incredible. Our one-day graduation event was focused on a training activity called “Dress Rehearsal,” which is a name that doesn’t quite fit the activity, I think. “Time-Limited, Complex Optimizations and Social Dynamics” would be more accurate, but harder to say. Basically, we split up into two teams, picked roles in a scripted management hierarchy, and tried to optimize a collection of tiles to get the high score. Tile placement rules were numerous, complicated, and full of “gotchas.” To make matters worse, each player on the team only received a card with a few of the rules on it. So the social component of helping everyone to understand all the rules was not easy.

Figure 1: One Optimized Puzzle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The training took place in three rounds of increasing complexity. For the first round, we had to place about 10 tiles. For the second, about 30. And for the last, over 80. Complexity increased exponentially, but our ability to work as a team grew as well. Because of this, almost everyone felt that the first round was the “hardest” and “most hectic” while by the time we hit the third round, each team was a well-oiled machine. The REP teams set score records for the training company and consistently scored close to the theoretical maximum for the game. And we all had a blast. My friend Fernando summed it up when he said, “That was great, it was just like working in the fab. I’m going to have my family play that game.” He laughed and added, “Hey guys, let’s play Intel!”

After an exhausting but exhilarating day of training, we headed over to the REP manager’s house for the graduation party. This party was organized by our manager and next year’s class of REs and they put together a great shindig. They made a homemade layered cake that illustrated the complete silicon platform design process. I mean, the bottommost layer was Verilog code, then logic schematic, then synthesized silicon floorplan, and so on until the top layer was a smartphone displaying “REP 2010.” And it was delicious.

Figure 2: The Full Electronic Design Process, Rendered in Cake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 3: Cake Solder Bumps Exposed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The party had great food, heartwarming speeches, and thoughtful gifts. Our manager’s house was filled with the warm buzz of friendly conversation for hours. It was the perfect conclusion to 18 of the most satisfying months of my life. Fortunately, REP graduation is less of an ending and more of the beginning of our careers here at Intel. And I, for one, am confident of many happy years here.

 


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