Thought Leadership

Embedded World 2011

By Colin Walls

Last week I attended the Embedded World show in Nuremberg, Germany. I have been to this event most years and it just seems to get bigger and bigger. I have not seen the latest detailed statistics, but they claim to be the largest embedded exhibition in the world and I think that there is every reason to believe this claim is valid. The event is well organized and the location makes a lot of sense.

I did not have the opportunity to spend a lot of time wandering the show floor, so I am not going to even try to give an impression of what was on offer. In any case, there are numerous online news sources where you can read comprehensive reports. For me, the interesting experience was the conference …

Embedded World follows the same broad model that is used by many trade events, such as the Embedded Systems Conference program in the US and elsewhere. Admission to the trade show itself is free, but there is a fee for attending the conference sessions [which are often termed “classes”]. I do not see any problem with this, but it is an interesting business model. They charge attendees money, but their only outgoings are the cost of the venue, some catering and logistics; they get the services of speakers, like myself, at no cost and expect us not to include any “sales and marketing” fluff in the presentations [and this requirement is adhered to by the majority of speakers].

I was able to attend a few conference sessions, which was certainly interesting. A guy from a company that is competitive to Mentor Embedded talked about the use [and misuse] of assembly language in embedded applications. This is a rather neglected subject nowadays and he had some very good points to make. Another session was on FPGAs – demystifying them for software engineers. Sadly, the speaker seemed to assume a certain level of knowledge about FPGAs and did not really augment that, just exuded great enthusiasm for the technology. A session which caught my imagination was about “Clean Code” – an approach to writing [embedded] code that focuses on clarity and readability, which is a matter upon which I have strong feelings. This session encapsulated a lot of good sense and I am sure that I will be writing about this topic again.

I presented a session titled “Dynamic Memory Allocation & Fragmentation in C & C++”, which was well attended [the room was full!] and seemed well received, with a number of questions. If you would like a copy of my slides, please email.


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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at