Author's Latest Posts


Using FPGAs For AI


Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are progressing at a rate that is outstripping Moore's Law. In fact, they now are evolving faster than silicon can be designed. The industry is looking at all possibilities to provide devices that have the necessary accuracy and performance, as well as a power budget that can be sustained. FPGAs are promising, but they also have some sig... » read more

Better, Not Best


The semiconductor industry has been lulled into a particular way of thinking by Moore's Law. It is like the age-old joke — you don't have to outrun a bear, you only have to be faster than your companion. The same has held true for designs. There is little to no point being the best, you only have to be good enough to be better than the competition. That sets the bar. Best is also relative.... » read more

Transforming Silicon Bring-Up


Not too long ago, the return of first silicon from the foundry was a nail-biting moment as power was applied to the chip. Today, better verification methodologies, increased use of emulation, and more mature fabrication practices have transformed how teams utilize first silicon. It is about to be transformed again, and there are some interesting possibilities on the horizon. Much of what use... » read more

Portable Stimulus And Digital Twins


It has been a year since Accellera's Portable Test and Stimulus Specification became a standard. Semiconductor Engineering sat down to discuss the impact it has had, and the future direction of it, with Dave Kelf, chief marketing officer for Breker Verification Systems; Larry Melling, product management director for Cadence; Tom Fitzpatrick, strategic verification architect for Mentor, a Siemen... » read more

The Challenge Of Defining Worst Case


Worst case conditions within a chip are impossible to define. But what happens if you missed a corner case that causes chip failure? As the semiconductor market becomes increasingly competitive — startups and systems companies are now competing with established chipmakers — no one can afford to consider theoretical worst cases. Instead, they must intelligently prune the space to make sur... » read more

Speeding Up 3D Design


2.5D and 3D designs have garnered a lot of attention recently, but when should these solutions be considered and what are the dangers associated with them? Each new packaging option trades off one set of constraints and problems for a different set, and in some cases the gains may not be worth it. For other applications, they have no choice. The tooling in place today makes it possible to de... » read more

Migrating 3D Into The Mainstream


Semiconductor Engineering sat down to discuss changes required throughout the ecosystem to support three-dimensional (3D) chip design with Norman Chang, chief technologist for ANSYS' Semiconductor Business Unit; John Park, product management director for IC packaging and cross-platform solutions at Cadence; John Ferguson, director of marketing for DRC applications at Mentor, a Siemens Business;... » read more

Rapid Evolution For Verification Plans


Verification plans are rapidly evolving from mechanisms to track verification progress into multi-faceted coordination vehicles for several teams with disparate goals, using complex resource management spread across multiple abstractions and tools. New system demands from industries such as automotive are forcing tighter integration of those plans with requirements management and product lif... » read more

Abstract Verification


Verification relies on a separation of concerns. Otherwise the task has no end. Sometimes we do it without thinking, but as an industry, we have never managed to fully define it such that it can become an accepted and trusted methodology. This becomes particularly true when we bring abstraction into the picture. A virtual prototype is meant to be true to behavior, but there could be timing d... » read more

Utilizing Computational Memory


For systems to become faster and consume less power, they must stop wasting the power required to move data around and start adding processing near memory. This approach has been proven, and products are entering the marketplace designed to fill a number of roles. Processing near memory, also known as computational memory, has been hiding in the shadows for more than a decade. Ever since the... » read more

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