Author's Latest Posts


Gaps Emerging In System Integration


The system integration challenge is evolving, but existing tools and methods are not keeping up with the task. New tools and flows are needed to handle global concepts, such as power and thermal, that cannot be dealt with at the block level. As we potentially move into a new era where IP gets delivered as physical pieces of silicon, this lack of an accepted flow will become a stumbling block. ... » read more

And The Survey Says…


Some of you may have received an email recently that looks something like this. Others may be getting it in a little while. This is an invitation to participate in a survey that is important for the industry, and I encourage you not to ignore it. Let me explain a little. This survey has quite a long history. It all started in 2002 when Collett International conducted the first survey. Ba... » read more

Open-Source Hardware Momentum Builds


Open-source hardware continues to gain ground, spearheaded by RISC-V — despite the fact that this processor technology is neither free nor simple to use. Nevertheless, the open-source hardware movement has established a solid foothold after multiple prior forays that yielded only limited success, even for processors. With demand for more customized hardware, and a growing field of startups... » read more

Interconnect Challenges Grow, Tools Lag


Interconnects are becoming much problematic as devices shrink and the amount of data being moved around a system continues to rise. This limitation has shown up several times in the past, and it's happening again today. But when the interconnect becomes an issue, it cannot be solved in the same way issues are solved for other aspects of a chip. Typically it results in disruption in how the t... » read more

Aging Problems At 5nm And Below


The mechanisms that cause aging in semiconductors have been known for a long time, but the concept did not concern most people because the expected lifetime of parts was far longer than their intended deployment in the field. In a short period of time, all of that has changed. As device geometries have become smaller, the issue has become more significant. At 5nm, it becomes an essential par... » read more

Configuring Processors In The Field


The convergence of two technologies, extensible processors and embedded FPGAs, is enabling the creation of processors that can be dynamically configured in the field. But it's not clear if there is a need for them or how difficult would it be to program them. This remains an open question even though there is evidence of its usefulness in the past and new products are expected to reach the mark... » read more

(Artificially) Intelligent Verification


Functional verification produces a lot of data, , but does that make it suitable for Artificial Intelligence (AI) or Machine Learning (ML)? Experts weigh in about where and how AI can help and what the industry could do to improve the benefits. "It's not necessarily the quantity," says Harry Foster, chief scientist for verification at Mentor, a Siemens Business. "It's the quality that matter... » read more

Constrained Innovation


The semiconductor industry has long been seen as a risk-averse industry and that is probably to be expected. The rapid migration of technology nodes (lots of innovation happening there) produced a rapid expansion in transistor counts that stretched development teams to their limits. Every design had to contain more functionality while dealing with a plethora of new concerns, and be developed by... » read more

What’s So Important About Processor Extensibility?


While the ability to extend a processor is nothing new, market dynamics are forcing a growing percentage of the industry to consider it a necessary part of their product innovation. From small IoT functions to massive data centers and artificial intelligence, the need to create an optimized processing platform is often the only way to get more performance or lower power out of the silicon area ... » read more

Low-Power Analog


Analog circuitry is usually a small part of a large SoC, but it does not scale in the same way as digital circuitry under Moore's Law. The power consumed by analog is becoming an increasing concern, especially for battery-operated devices. At the same time, little automation is available to help analog designers reduce consumption. "Newer consumer devices, like smartphones and wearables, alo... » read more

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