NASA Office of Logic Design

NASA Office of Logic Design

A scientific study of the problems of digital engineering for space flight systems,
with a view to their practical solution.

MAPLD International Conference Update

UPDATE: April 14, 2008.

Dear Colleague,

Many people have been asking about MAPLD and I, so here's a quick, brief status update.

My management decided that MAPLD will be run by a set of managers, rather than by me. Initially, this had something to do with restrictions on acceptance of conference registration fees, but I did not see this as a showstopper as many of you were kind enough to offer to help. In the end, I was not presented with a rationale for the decision. I was offered a greatly reduced token role in the conference, with inadequate resources to get the job done.

For MAPLD 2007, we had a willing partner, an agreement in principle had been reached, and it was blessed by the legal department. But the arrangement got caught up in "red tape" and the conference was cancelled. For MAPLD 2008, many of you on behalf of your organizations sent kind offers of support to help, but I was no longer permitted to pursue those very practical and workable offers. The conference is currently in development, coordinated by others.

The bottom line is this: I grew up in the ‘60s hooked by the space race. The Voyager flybys led me to a career of designing and building spacecraft electronics which explore the solar system. I conceived of and developed MAPLD over almost a decade as I thought it would be useful. I will continue on with my technical work.

Wishing all of you the best,

Rich Katz

UPDATE: October 19, 2007.

Dear Colleague,

I will update you on the MAPLD International Conference and some related topics. This is a follow-on to my two previous updates, which are included below.

I had hoped to have resolved all critical issues for MAPLD 2008 by the end of the summer and had planned a status update no later than September 1.  This would give all of the presenters, attendees, and exhibitors a reasonable amount of time for their planning. Sadly, all critical issues have not yet been resolved as of this writing. There is still considerable "red tape" that I must cut through. I do not know how it will turn out, it depends on how much red tape there is, where it is wrapped, and how tightly it is wrapped. MAPLD has a reservation at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center for September 2008.

Sadly, one of our Conference Co-Chairman passed away in September.  Rod Barto started work in the industry in the early 1980s when he designed a key computer on the Galileo mission to Jupiter. Many of you also know him from his work on many NASA projects, either in a design or a review capacity. Rod was also a great person who I have known for well over 20 years. I have received a number of condolence letters and I am passing them along to his family, and will continue to do so. There also is an electronic "guest book" which can be accessed from the home page.

The seminar series that I run has resumed, with talks held in both September and October. September's talk discussed the verification of a small microprocessor and in October design features of a spaceflight  instrument designed for lunar science was covered. These presentations and others are available on-line at:

If anyone wishes to get on the schedule and present, please e-mail me.

There are a number of related conferences, workshops, and meetings that I shall list here along with url's for additional information. I keep a list of relevant conferences and Calls for Papers at:

October 22-23, 2007: "Remembering the Space Age: 50th Anniversary Conference" sponsored by the NASA History Division and the National Air and Space Museum Division of Space History. This is being held in  Washington, D.C.

November 5-6, 2007: "Flight Software Workshop 2007 (FSW-07)" This is being held at the Johns Hopkins University's Applied Physics Lab, in Laurel, Maryland.

November 10 - 13, 2007: "8th Annual Non-Volatile Memory Technology Symposium" which is being held in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

November 27-29, 2007: "Military and Aerospace FPGA and Applications (MAFA) Meeting" is being held in Palm Beach, Florida. This is a three day meeting with the following agenda: DAY 1: Vendor products and roadmaps. DAY 2: Radiation and reliability. DAY 3: Applications.

March 26-28, 2008: "IV Southern Programmable Logic Conference" is being presented by the IEEE and will be held in Argentina. I'll be chairing a full day on programmable logic with respect to aerospace and hi-rel applications.

UPDATE: JUNE 24, 2007

Dear Colleague,

In response to my notification of the cancellation of the 2007 MAPLD International Conference, I received well over 300 letters of support.  Many of these letters were very thoughtful, offering help and wonderful ideas along with what they got from MAPLD.  I tried to answer each of them individually but the sheer bulk of them and current limitations on my time unfortunately prevented me from giving each letter an individual response.  It turns out that the offers to help with the conference, while generous, could not avoid the "red tape" that I must cut through. 

I expect to return to my usual number of work hours in August, 2007, and plan the following:

Again, thank all of you for the wonderful letters and your patience as we work through this situation.

Very best regards,

Rich Katz

Dear Colleague:

The Military and Aerospace Programmable Logic Device (MAPLD) International Conference has been held annually since 1998. Indeed, we have had 9 very successful conferences.

It is with regret that I must inform you that the 2007 MAPLD International Conference is cancelled. A legal finding that NASA can no longer accept registration fees for conferences was the root cause of this cancellation. Myself and a number of other dedicated individuals have spent a considerable amount of time, energy, and resources over the last months to run the conference through another government agency. However, the amount of "red tape" involved could not be overcome in a timely manner.

A number of individuals and managers have urged me to bring MAPLD back for 2008. What do you think? If there is sufficient interest in continuing MAPLD, then I will continue the work to bring it back in 2008. Whether you are an author and presenter, attendee, exhibitor, or someone who reads the proceedings on the www site, please let me know your opinion by writing back to me at

Richard B. Katz
Chairman, MAPLD International Conference

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