Author's Latest Posts


System Bits: June 20


The case against general-purpose processors With a large number of emerging applications such as implantables, wearables, printed electronics, and IoT have ultra-low area and power constraints, and these applications relying on ultra-low-power general purpose microcontrollers and microprocessors, there are drawbacks, researchers at the University of Illinois and the University of Minnesota rem... » read more

Modeling On-Chip Variation At 10/7nm


Simulation, a workhorse tool for semiconductor design, is running out of steam at 10/7nm. It is falling behind on chips with huge gate counts and an enormous number of possible interactions between all the different functions that are being crammed onto a die. At simulation's root is some form of SPICE, which has served as its underpinnings ever since SPICE was first published 44 years ago. ... » read more

System Bits: June 13


Nimble-fingered robots enabled by deep learning Grabbing awkwardly shaped items that humans regularly pick up daily is not so easy for robots, as they don’t know where to apply grip. To overcome this, UC Berkeley researchers have a built a robot that can pick up and move unfamiliar, real-world objects with a 99% success rate. Berkeley professor Ken Goldberg, postdoctoral researcher Jeff M... » read more

ESD Guns, Transients And Testing…Oh My!


With the pervasiveness of power management techniques like clock gating and power gating, transient power is on the rise, accompanied by the requirement to closely examine a system for such phenomenon as electrostatic discharge. I was interested to recently learn more about ESD testing, some of which is done with software tools, but much is still done in the lab with prototypes of the end d... » read more

Transient Power Problems Rising


Transient power is becoming much more problematic at 10/7nm, adding yet another level of complexity for design teams already wrestling with power issues caused by leakage, a variety of power management techniques to control dynamic power, and leakage current. At each new node there is less headroom for engineering teams to address these problems, and more likelihood that what they do in one ... » read more

System Bits: June 6


Silicon nanosheet-based builds 5nm transistor To enable the manufacturing of 5nm chips, IBM, GLOBALFOUNDRIES, Samsung, and equipment suppliers have developed what they say is an industry-first process to build 5nm silicon nanosheet transistors. This development comes less than two years since developing a 7nm test node chip with 20 billion transistors. Now, they’ve paved the way for 30 billi... » read more

Security Issues Up With Heterogeneity


The race toward heterogeneous designs is raising new security concerns across the semiconductor supply chain. There is more IP to track, more potential for unexpected interactions, and many more ways to steal data or IP. Security is a difficult problem no matter what kind of chip is involved, and it has been getting worse as more devices, machines and systems are connected to the Internet. B... » read more

What Happened To Aftermarket Car Audio?


With the myriad changes afoot in automotive today, it’s interesting to note that there is significant technology development in the area of audio. Who knew? Considering that we are interacting more with our vehicles today in the form of hands-free technologies, it’s actually not surprising in the least. With all of the features being added to the automobile that add complexity, there is ... » read more

Automotive’s Unsung Technology


Sound systems are becoming a critical design element in vehicles, and not just for music. Thanks to evolving technology, automotive audio has reached a point where it is taking on a much broader role for applications both within and outside the vehicle. Most people associate automotive audio with the car radio, which has been a fixture in cars for decades. But in the future, these systems al... » read more

System Bits: May 30


Diamonds for quantum computing Quantum computers are experimental devices that offer large speedups on some computational problems, and one promising approach to building them involves harnessing nanometer-scale atomic defects in diamond materials. At the same time, practical, diamond-based quantum computing devices will require the ability to position those defects at precise locations in com... » read more

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