Author's Latest Posts


A Different Kind Of Material World


The semiconductor manufacturing world is poised for big change, and the driver will be materials. Materials always have been a critical factor in semiconductors. Silicon is so important that an entire region of California is named after it. Rare earths have raised fears about nationalistic monopolies. And the shift from aluminum to copper interconnects at 130nm caused one of the most painful... » read more

Power Budgets At 3nm And Beyond


There is high confidence that digital logic will continue to shrink at least to 3nm, and possibly down to 1.5nm. Each of those will require significant changes in how design teams approach power. This is somewhat evolutionary for most chipmakers. Five years ago there were fewer than a handful of power experts in most large organizations. Today, everyone deals with power in one way or another... » read more

2.5D, 3D Power Integrity


Chris Ortiz, principal applications engineer at ANSYS, zeroes in on some common issues that are showing up in 2.5D and 3D packaging, which were not obvious in the initial implementations of these packaging technologies. This includes everything from how to build a power delivery network to minimize the coupling between chips to dealing with variability and power integrity and placement of diffe... » read more

Rogue Valley Microdevices: MEMS Foundry


Venturing into the MEMS manufacturing market is a shaky proposition. The investment is high, the returns are questionable, and the competition can be fierce. Rogue Valley Microdevices is one of a handful of pure-play MEMS foundries in the United States, a difficult market divided into two distinct parts. One on side are a handful of higher-margin new technologies, such as piezoelectric micro... » read more

New Battleground In The Data Race


For the past couple years, giant commercial data centers have been grabbing as much data as possible. The big question now is whether that investment will pay off. Companies such as AWS, Google, Microsoft, Alibaba and Baidu are not necessarily the best equipped to leverage that data—or at least not yet. In fact, most of what they've been focusing on is a narrow slice of the data being coll... » read more

Domain Expertise Becoming Essential For Analytics


Sensors are being added into everything, from end devices to the equipment used to make those sensors, but the data being generated has limited or no value unless it's accompanied by domain expertise. There are two main problems. One is how and where to process the vast amount of data being generated. Chip and system architectures are being revamped to pre-process more of that data closer to... » read more

Designing An AI SoC


Susheel Tadikonda, vice president of networking and storage at Synopsys, looks at how to achieve economies of scale in AI chips and where the common elements are across all the different architectures. https://youtu.be/fm0kxnj3DuM » read more

The Next Spoiler Alert


Speculative execution seemed like a good idea at the time. As the power/performance benefits of each node shrink began to dwindle, companies like Intel figured out ways to maintain processor speeds at the same or lower power. There were other approaches, as well. Speculative execution and branch prediction are roughly equivalent to pre-fetch in search, which has gotten so good that often the... » read more

The Winograd Transformation


Cheng Wang, senior vice president of engineering at Flex Logix, explains how the Winograd Transformation applies to convolutional neural networks. https://youtu.be/E7QJUby9x-I » read more

New Design Approaches At 7/5nm


The race to build chips with a multitude of different processing elements and memories is making it more difficult to design, verify and test these devices, particularly when AI and leading-edge manufacturing processes are involved. There are two fundamental problems. First, there are much tighter tolerances for all of the components in those designs due to proximity effects. Second, as a re... » read more

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