World tour

I am on sabbatical this semester so on my return trip from the FPGA conference, I came back the long way via England, Italy, Switzerland and Hong Kong. The purpose was give a lecture about our recent work and visit some colleagues and friends in Europe.

This photo was taken shortly after takeoff from Sydney to LAX. It turns out that the pilot was one of my ex-students.

FPGA Conference

We presented a tutorial on Deep Learning-Optimized FPGA Archiectures at the FPGA conference in Monterey which was attended by more than 50 people/.

Also very pleased to chat with Prof Milos Ercegovac (UCLA) who write Digital Arithmetic.

Following the conference went to SJC with ex-Sydney University student, Rouwei, who came down for the FPGA tutorial.


Next stop was England and had dinner with Profs Wayne Luk and Simon Schultz from Imperial College.

Had lunch with Prof Luk, ex-CUHK student Chi Wai (who I hadn’t seen in many years) and Rachael from Corerain.

There was a demonstration at Oxford University.

Had afternoon tea with Prof Ian Page, founder of Celoxica.


Had an early start the next morning for a flight to Milano.

Landed in Malpensa airport and drove to Monleale, a beautiful country town on the border of Lombardia and Piedmonte.

Here are my hosts, Pigi and Daniela on a Big Bench (I didn’t know it was a thing).

Here I am with Pigi’s parents who I hadn’t seen for many decades.

The next day we went to Torino. Of course, with Pigi driving, this was at great speed and total disregard for traffic and parking rules.

This lady dropped her car keys down a drain. Pigi helped her fish it out, our good deed for the day.

She was so happy she wanted to buy us a drink.

We first went to the most important landmark in Italy.

Daniela and myself in front of the Mole Antonelliana.

Coffee in a fancy cafe in Torino.

The main reason for the visit was to go to Museo Egizio. It’s an amazing museum with the best collection of Egyption artifacts outside of Cairo.

After a lot of walking we also had bicerin, a drink from Torino which originated in the 18th century. Here is a recipe.

Pigi insisted on visiting the Juventus stadium.

Gave a talk at ST Microelectronics in Agrate Brianza (I did my postdoc here). Met some people I hadn’t seen for many decades.

Thankfully it was in English.

My host, Danilo, in front of a patent wall.

We also visited Pavia. The University of Pavia was founded in 1361 and is one of the oldest universities. This statue is of Alessandro Volta who held the chair of experimental physics there from 1779. Volta figured out capacitance and electricity so he was pretty important for electrical engineering (at the time, the main use for electricity was to make frogs’ legs twitch).

While walking though the city, I took photos of a beautiful luthier’s shop. Turns out Pigi knew him, he was an ex-IC designer!


Good thing that my Italian friends warned me that I needed to buy a Vignette to drive on the motorways in Switzerland. I forgot to do so at the border and spent some time trying to get one in Switzerland. Visited the Victorinox store in Lausanne.

Gave a talk at EPFL. In this photo, Mont Blanc is the peak in the distance.

Drive back to Italy

The drive over the Swiss Alps is spectacular. Note the Fiat Panda (with a 1.0L 2 cylinder engine) that I rented to drive around Italy and Switzerland on the right hand side.

I love their petrol stations which normally have a really good cafe and supermarket attached.

Excellent Milanese pizza from a wood-fired oven. It’s supposed to be thin and chewy.

Hong Kong

The last stop was a short stopover in Hong Kong.

Had lunch with Prof Hayden So (HKU) at Matsubishi, one of my favourite HK restaurants,

Also had a fantastic dinner with my ex-CUHK colleagues at Great Day in Tai Po. We first purchased seafood from Tai Po market and brought the food to the restaurant where they cooked it for us.

Pineapple bun for breakfast. They use perspex screens to protect you from other customers.

Choy san (God of Wealth) checking the stock market.