“A good engineer is a master in the lab and a master in the library.”
Dr. Hermann Eul is vice president and general manager of the Mobile & Communications Group at Intel Corporation. In this role, he heads the development of hardware, software, and connectivity ingredients for phones, tablets, Ultrabook™, and other mobile devices, as well as complete system solutions.
Eul joined Intel in February 2011 during the acquisition of Infineon Technologies' wireless solutions where he had been executive vice president and a member of the board. Previous to his work at Infineon, he was at Siemens. Eul studied electrical engineering and holds a doctorate from the Bochum University. He was a professor at the University of Hanover and served as a full chair.
As a keynote speaker at DesignCon 2014, in Santa Clara, Calif., Dr. Eul spoke on Tuesday, January 28, 2014 at 12:00 p.m. PST in the Mission City Ballroom of the Santa Clara Convention Center. I thought it might be nice to get to know him a bit beforehand, and he graciously agreed to an interview for our Profiles in Design series.
EDN: Why did you first get into this career?
Dr. Hermann Eul: I grew up in a home where “help yourself” was the default. Hence, I got acquainted and skilled in all kinds of technical and practical stuff. Radios, TV sets, bicycles, mopeds, motorcycles — all become subject to my improvement inspirations. Later, when I was a student at the university, my thin budget benefited from my do-it-yourself skills — I always managed to keep my old car going and myself mobile. It was a natural progression to turn my passion for tinkering and technology into my profession.
EDN: What do you find fascinating about engineering?
Dr. Eul: As I said, in my young days I learned how to do so many practical things. Engineering is the educated way of how to do this professionally. Science is the sophistication of knowing why it is, how it is done. I was most fascinated about the combination of practical applicability and using science to push the envelope. A good engineer is a master in the lab and a master in the library.
EDN: What has surprised you over the years in terms of technology?
Dr. Eul: It remains surprising that after generations of innovation, innovation does not run dry. It even more excitingly seems that innovation spurs innovation and accelerates itself. More compute power in a device invites new application experiences that then demand more horsepower and so on.
EDN: What did you think we'd be able to do now that we still can't?
Dr. Eul: On a philosophical note, we still seem not able to use all our innovation to bring more wisdom to mankind. We still conduct wars.
EDN: What's next for you/the industry?
Dr. Eul: The question could be the millionaire's quiz, and I'm the fool revealing the answer here and now [laughing]. More seriously, our industry has so far proven to deliver always more than we think it would. Three years later we cannot imagine that the most recent technology was not there three years ago. The next big thing will be the Internet of Things — everything computing and everything connecting.
EDN: Any advice for new engineers?
Dr. Eul: Don't get obsessed too early about getting a management role, even if you believe you have the marshal's baton in your knapsack. A little slower pace with growing real skills and experience is the better bedrock for a life-long career in 99% of all careers.
EDN: Any funny stories?
Dr. Eul: I like the mutuality of great science and talented practical application to solve real problems. Hence, on one hand I earned a PhD and even a full professorship, while on the other hand I liked to have my feet on the ground. While I don't care much for titles, my “PhD” is funny in some instances — at the doctors' or when working with law firms. They are always interested in my title and to which subject it applies. When these other PhDs find out I graduated in engineering, they become much more relaxed.
EDN: What do you plan to cover in your keynote at DesignCon?
Dr. Eul: We are in the middle of an exciting shift where our lifestyles are being shaped by the connected nature of devices that we carry and interact with. I will discuss the opportunity from my vantage point, and the demands this future will have in terms of system-on-chip design. Having seen this industry evolve over the last 20 years, I can say that the pace of change will keep accelerating.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on EBN's sister publication, EDN .