I heard chip designers being described as "triangle pushers," the idea being that somehow the logic on the chip was formulated by arranging triangles on the silicon in certain ways. How does this work? I don't understand how triangles can be arranged to create digital logic or why the shape of a triangle would be important.
Early masks for the creation of layers on an IC were created by a photographic process that involved exposing the original photographic plate through a mechanically controlled triangular aperture. Hence triangle pusher.
The light source was fixed above the aperture, the plate was moved xy underneath. The point of a triangle was that additive it could give any orthogonal geometry required.
There were no laser printers back then.
They are called "polygon pushers".
A chip designer who spends most of his or her time at the physical layout level (which requires drawing lots of multi-colored polygons). Also rectangle slinger.
In computer graphics, a poly-pusher (short for polygon-pusher), is a system that uses a brute force approach to simply draw as many polygons as possible, as opposed to more intelligent systems that try to figure out things like which triangles are visible, or ray-tracing. Historically, brute-force has always won when compared to more complex systems. The winning philosophy seems to be, "do the simplest thing possible, as fast as possible.". Thus most modern-day graphics cards are "poly-pushers".
Not heard the term used for a hardware engineer, but it's possible that someone who believes in simple, fast, hardware, might be called a "poly-pusher", or maybe a "poly-pusher-pusher" :-)