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Blog Review: Nov. 22


ARM's Jem Davies talks about an upcoming documentary on AI and where the lines need to be drawn between machine intelligence and human emotional intelligence. Mentor's Saunder Peng examines the impact of merging physical verification databases, which can cost time and resources, and how that can be streamlined. Cadence's Paul McClellan takes a look back at the Xerox Alto and how it change... » read more

Deals: Mentor-Solido, Marvell-Cavium


Marvell today signed a definitive agreement to buy Cavium for roughly $6 billion, ending weeks of speculation about whether the deal would go through. And Mentor, a Siemens business, paid an undisclosed price to buy Solido Design Automation, which tracks variation in complex designs. Both deals are part of a new flurry of M&A activity across the semiconductor industry as the industry retools... » read more

Aeponyx: Optical Chips For Telecom


As the amount of data grows, so does interest in silicon photonics. There is no better way to move data than with light. It's faster, requires less energy, and generates less heat. The main trouble spots come in two places—packaging the light source with another chip, and the switching technology from optical to electrical and back to optical. While companies like Intel have been working o... » read more

Automotive Foundries


The race to win a piece of the automotive electronics business has now reached the foundry level, and right now it's not clear exactly how this is going to work. This is uncharted territory for everyone. The build-out of electronics for assisted and autonomous driving is brand new. For existing cars, most of the chips being used are off-the-shelf microcontrollers, commodity MEMS sensors, and... » read more

Variation Spreads At 10/7nm


Variation between different manufacturing equipment is becoming increasingly troublesome as chipmakers push to 10/7nm and beyond. Process variation is a well-known phenomenon at advanced nodes. But some of that is actually due to variations in equipment—sometimes the exact same model from the same vendor. Normally this would fall well below the radar of the semiconductor industry. But as t... » read more

Tech Talk: Near-Threshold Power


Lauri Koskinen, CTO and founder of Minima Processor, and Ron Moore, vice president of marketing at ARM, talk about near-threshold computing, dynamic power and margining, and how these techniques can extend battery life and reduce energy consumption. https://youtu.be/BhiNFe4NYQU » read more

Quantum Madness


The race is on to commercialize quantum computing for everything from autonomous vehicles to supercomputers for hire. IBM has been working on a 50-qubit computer. Intel and QuTech, its Dutch research partner, showed off a 17-qubit test chip last month. And Alphabet, Google's parent company, is developing a 20-qubit computer. These numbers sound paltry compared to the billions of transistors ... » read more

China’s Ambitious Automotive Plans


China has big plans for cars—and other related markets. After years of trailing behind Japanese, European and U.S.-based carmakers in automotive technology, reliability, status, and even market share within its own political borders, the country is making a concerted push into internally developed and manufactured assisted- and self-driving vehicles. The strategy plays out well for China o... » read more

What’s Missing In Packaging


The growth of advanced packaging on the leading edge of design is inching backwards into older nodes. With most technology—tools, methodologies, materials and processes—this is business as usual. But in packaging, it's both counterintuitive and potentially problematic. The main reason that companies began investing in advanced packaging—OSATs, foundries, chipmakers such as Intel and Qu... » read more

Medical IoT Heats Up


Ever since the IoT was first introduced as a concept, the possibility of using ordinary devices or chips for monitoring health has been mostly an unfulfilled promise. In fact, one of the biggest selling points of smart watches and other wearables initially was the ability to monitor everything from heart irregularities to sugar levels on a continuous basis rather than a once-a-year electroca... » read more

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