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Analog: Avoid Or Embrace?


We live in an analog world, but digital processing has proven quicker, cheaper and easier. Moving digital data around is only possible while the physics of wires can be safely abstracted away enough to provide reliable communications. As soon as a signal passes off-chip, the analog domain reasserts control for modern systems. Each of those transitions requires a data converter. The usage ... » read more

Moore’s Law, Supply Chains And Security


The debate about the future of Moore's Law continues, while other parts of the industry look for alternatives. In between, supply chains are being pulled in multiple directions, with safety and security often in the middle. All across the semiconductor industry, significant changes are underway. Some of these have been in the works for some time. Others are new or accelerating faster than an... » read more

Big Growth Areas: Connectivity, AI, Reliability


Connectivity and artificial intelligence (AI) will be the biggest drivers for 2020, with an emphasis on improved reliability across all areas. New standards, new applications, and new pressures being placed on old technology will created boundless opportunities for those ready to fill the need. Of course, there will also be a lot of carnage along the way, and we can expect to see a lot of that ... » read more

What Engineers Are Reading And Watching


By Brian Bailey And Ed Sperling An important indicator of where the chip industry is heading is what engineers are reading and what videos they are watching. While some subjects remain on top, such as the level of interest in the latest manufacturing technologies, other areas come and go. The stories with the biggest traffic numbers are almost identical to last year. Readers want to know wh... » read more

Crossed Wires On Domains


Clock, power and reset domains can form a tangled web if systems are not architected correctly. Wires that cross these domains often require special treatment and additional analysis. They are all evolving independently, meaning that designers must keep up with the latest methodology guidelines and tool capabilities to ensure problems do not remain hidden until they get exposed in silicon. C... » read more

What Worked, What Didn’t In 2019


2019 has been a tough year for semiconductor companies from a revenue standpoint, especially for memory companies. On the other hand, the EDA industry has seen another robust growth year. A significant portion of this disparity can be attributed to the number of emerging technology areas for semiconductors, none of which has reached volume production yet. Some markets continue to struggle, a... » read more

A New Dawn For IP


The IP industry is changing again. The concept started as build once, use everywhere, but today it is more like architect once, customize everywhere. Few designs can afford sub-optimal IP for their application. The need for customized IP is driven by both leading-edge designs and the trailing markets, although for different reasons. While this customization is causing IP companies to transfo... » read more

Defining And Improving AI Performance


Many companies are developing AI chips, both for training and for inference. Although getting the required functionality is important, many solutions will be judged by their performance characteristics. Performance can be measured in different ways, such as number of inferences per second or per watt. These figures are dependent on a lot of factors, not just the hardware architecture. The optim... » read more

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

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