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

DARPA CHIPS Program Pushes For Chiplets


While the semiconductor industry plugs away at More Than Moore innovation, the U.S. government is guiding its own SoC development. A new program kicked off last year called ‘Common Heterogeneous Integration and IP Reuse Strategies’ or CHIPS to take its own approach the incredibly high cost of SoC design and manufacturing. DARPA said it recognizes that the explosive growth in mobile and t... » read more

Computer Vision Powers Startups, Bleeding Edge Processes


You can’t turn around these days without walking into a convolutional neural network…..oh wait, maybe not yet, but sometime in the not-too-distant future, we’ll be riding in vehicles controlled by them. While not a new concept, CNNs are finally making the big time, as evidenced by a significant upswell in startup activity, tracked by Chris Rowen, CEO of Cognite Ventures. According to h... » read more

Who’s Responsible For Transistor Aging Models?


While there are a number of ways to go about reliability and transistor aging analysis, it is all in large part dependent on fabs and foundries to provide the aging models. The situation is also not entirely clear in the semiconductor ecosystem because the classic over-the-wall mentality between design and manufacturing still exists. And unfortunately this wall is bi-directional. Not onl... » read more

ESD Guns, Transients And Testing…Oh My!


With the pervasiveness of power management techniques like clock gating and power gating, transient power is on the rise, accompanied by the requirement to closely examine a system for such phenomenon as electrostatic discharge. I was interested to recently learn more about ESD testing, some of which is done with software tools, but much is still done in the lab with prototypes of the end d... » read more

Power Just One Piece Of The Puzzle At 10nm And Below


With dynamic power density and rising leakage power becoming more problematic at each new node, it is more important than ever to look at designs today with power in mind from the very start. As part of this complex picture of electronic design today, every piece in the design flow must tie together for the greatest efficiency and optimization. While this is partly power, there are more... » read more

Understanding Voltage Drop Mechanics


As a fundamental concept of electronic design, voltage drop ranks highly as one to understand well. I particularly appreciate when industry folks come up with creative ways to get the point across. Jerry Zhao, a product management director at Cadence and I were discussing how to best manage dynamic and static voltage drop, but I first asked him to explain the difference between the two. I p... » read more

Smart Antennas Come Into View


Antennas are getting smarter, particularly in light of their increasing complexity, along with the intricacies of the environments — existing and new — they play in. There are interesting ways in which antennas are being integrated into the latest vehicles, some examples of which are in-vehicle approaches that range from a single antenna in the infotainment (behind the screen in front of... » read more

Adapting Formal


With more pressure to make designs efficient — from a power perspective, as well as from an overall design view — finding what can be removed from a design is one step closer. As discussed in the article published today, “What Can Be Cut From A Design?” — sequential analysis, based on formal verification technology, is gaining traction. I specifically asked Mentor Graphics’ direc... » read more

What’s Missing In Deep Learning?


It is impossible today to be unaware of deep learning/machine learning/neural networks -- even if what it all entails is not even clear yet. Someone who is intimately familiar with this area, and has some thoughts on this is Chris Rowen, founder of Tensilica (now part of Cadence), who is now a self-described hat juggler. He is still active Cadence several days a month, working technically on... » read more

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