Improving Automotive Reliability


Semiconductor reliability requirements are rapidly evolving. New applications such as ADAS/self-driving cars and drones are pushing the limits for system reliability. A mobile phone that overheats in your pocket is annoying. In automobiles, it's a much different story. Overheating can impact the operation of backup sensors, which alert the driver that a pedestrian or obstacle is behind them.... » read more

New Materials For Computing


The U.S. Department of Energy rolled out a new program to develop materials for "extreme conditions" for high-performance computing, setting the stage for much more mobile versions of AI and machine learning. This effort, if successful, has interesting implications on a number of levels. For one, the DOE's mandate includes everything from energy security to weaponry, and high-performance com... » read more

The Evolving Data Center


Confession time. In addition to being utterly fascinated by all things chip design, I have always been absolutely enthralled by the magnificent data center. With a family member that has worked in them for most of his career, I can recalled being delighted to be amongst the racks in a second floor data center in Palo Alto in the early 90s. Time to time throughout my career it’s been thrilling... » read more

Body Bias: What It Is, And Why You Should Care


In case you hadn’t noticed, the use of integrated circuits (ICs) has exploded over the past decade. From the cheapest novelty toy to automobiles to implanted medical devices, it seems like everything we touch has an electronic component in it somewhere. Not surprisingly, that growth has brought with it a vastly expanded number and variety of IC design requirements that design companies must s... » read more

Crosstalk Analysis At 7nm


The increasing demand for electronic systems with increasing bandwidth and decreasing size puts more high-speed circuitry and high bandwidth channels in ever-closer proximity. The continuous increase in internal clock frequencies (e.g. 5 - 10 GHz) and the increase in data rates (e.g. >10Gbps) are fueling the emergence of electromagnetic (EM) crosstalk issues. Parasitic inductance and indu... » read more

High Performance, Low Power, And Test: DFT’s Impact On System PPA And Safety


Back in the day, test was an afterthought in system design and implementation. It was a separate task that could be added to the end of a project schedule—essentially, a checkbox before sending a design for manufacture or during product qualification. Nowadays, test is no longer an afterthought, and we’ll see it continue to grow in importance. Safety-critical semiconductor applications h... » read more

Industry Heavyweights Eye High-Speed DDR4 Server DIMM Chipsets


DDR3 server DIMM chipsets (800 Mbps) first hit the market in 2006 and began to ramp the following year. By the time DDR4 server DIMM chipsets (2133) began shipping in 2014, DDR3 server DIMM chipsets were spanning the following five speeds: 800, 1066, 1333, 1600 and 1866. In the last years, DDR4 buffer chipset shipments have crossed over in term of volume, with DDR4 chipset speeds expected to... » read more

Securing High-Value Embedded Targets


Understanding security threats and building solutions to protect against them is a relatively new concept for embedded developers. As an example, many early IoT devices were focused purely on cost. Designers spent very little time architecting robust security solutions. Today, these devices are more involved in users’ daily routines, processing sensitive data such as personal medical informat... » read more

AI Technology Is Changing Voice Recognition


It was one thing when some of Amazon’s voice-enabled Alexa devices picked up children’s voices and then ordered goods online. It was another thing altogether when families watching television coverage of that story found that their Amazon devices ordered those same products because they heard the reference on the news report. Ah, the unintended consequences of powerful voice recognition ... » read more

Addressing Thermal Reliability In Next-Gen FinFET Designs


The next generation of chips on the 10/7nm finFET processes will be able to cram more devices into same area while also boosting performance, but there's a price to pay for that. The 3D fin structures trap heat, so the the temperature rises on the device and there is no way to dissipate that heat. This combination of higher current density, higher performance and higher temperature has a det... » read more

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