Interview with Author Mounir Maaref

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Mounir Maaref is the author of Architecting and Building High Speed SoCs, we got the chance to sit down and find out more about his experience of writing with Packt.

Q: What are your specialist tech areas?

Mounir:  I work in the Semiconductors industry, and I specify the architecture of SoCs. I conduct the performance analysis using system modelling in SystemC/TLM2.0. My designs are for both FPGAs and ASICs.

Q: How did you become an author for Packt? Tell us about your journey. What was your motivation for writing this book?

Mounir: I have been approached by Packt for a potential collaboration on writing a book on high speed SoCs. I found the idea in line with my objectives and decided it was well worth the effort to share my knowledge and expertise in this domain.

Q: What kind of research did you do, and how long did you spend researching before beginning the book?

Mounir:  I needed to check the status quo on many topics I worked on throughout my career as these technologies evolve continuously. Prior to starting the actual writing, I spent three months researching. 

Q: Did you face any challenges during the writing process? How did you overcome them?

Mounir: How to avoid overwhelming the reader by details at a given stage of the learning? I imagined that the book should introduce topics in a progressive complexity and provide all fundamental knowledge.

Q: What’s your take on the technologies discussed in the book? Where do you see these technologies heading in the future?

Mounir: The technologies discussed in the book are at the foundation of our technological evolution. We need to build highly performing systems that are energy efficient using domain specific SoCs.

Q: Why should readers choose this book over others already on the market? How would you differentiate your book from its competition?

Mounir: Either you find books on FPGAs or on SoCs for ASICs, but you won’t find a book that covers FPGAs based SoCs with all the topics covered including architecture, design, tools, and implementation. 

Q: What are the key takeaways you want readers to come away with from the book?

Mounir: Architecting an SoC and building it in an FPGA requires a lot of experience and knowledge but this isn’t an impossible mission, this book provides all the necessary knowledge of how to do it.

Q. Do you have a blog that readers can follow?

Mounir: No – I haven’t put one together given the lack of time.

Q. What advice would you give to readers learning tech? Do you have any top tips?

Mounir: Focus on the big picture and learn how to translate the product requirements into an architecture specification and product features. Expand your knowledge in areas that you have no experience in. 

Q. What are your favorite tech journals? How do you keep yourself up to date on tech?

Mounir: EE Times Europe: https://www.eetimes.eu/
Design and Reuse SoC: https://www.design-reuse.com/
Semiwiki Open Forum: https://semiwiki.com/
Accellera Systems Initiative: https://www.accellera.org/

Q. Can you share any blogs, websites and forums to help readers gain a holistic view of the tech they are learning?

Mounir: There are plenty of references (~60 web links) provided in the book.
https://support.xilinx.com/s/topiccatalog?language=en_US
https://support.xilinx.com/s/topic/0TO2E000000YKYBWA4/vitis-embedded-development-sdk?language=en_US
https://community.arm.com/arm-community-blogs/b/soc-design-and-simulation-blog

Q. How would you describe your author’s journey with Packt? Would you recommend Packt to aspiring authors?

Mounir: My author journey with Packt has been a smooth one. I have been assisted throughout the writing process in a professional and friendly manner. The feedback I have received along the way has been constructive and helped me improve. Yes, I would recommend Packt to aspiring authors. 

Q. Do you belong to any tech community groups?

Mounir: LinkedIn Groups: Embedded, Arm based group, FPGA – Field Programmable Gate Array, SOC Forum, Real-Time Embedded Engineering, System on Chip – SoC, ASIC & FPGA

Q. How did you organize, plan, and prioritize your work and write the book?

Mounir:  I dedicated 2 hours in the early morning before starting work and 2 hours after work.
On weekends, I dedicated Sunday afternoon and evening, I have also dedicated most of the Saturdays in the month.

Q. What is that one writing tip that you found most crucial and would like to share with aspiring authors?

Mounir:  If it gets tough as writing progresses, and it will, keep focused on the objective and make progress even though minimal. This momentum will get you back on track and lift up your spirit again.

Q. Would you like to share your social handles? If so, please share.

Mounir: @mounirmaaref

You can find Mounir’s book on Amazon by following this link: Please click here

Architecting and Building High Speed SoCs is Available on Amazon.com