#54DAC: A New Beginning

I’ve been attending DAC as an exhibitor since 1992, and serving on the executive committee since 2012. I am thrilled to serve as General Chair for the 54th iteration of this grand conference. (And no it’s not too early to think about DAC. The call for contributions is open now.) Through the years I have seen some big industry changes, most driven by the increasingly powerful tools and autom... » read more

Early Power Modeling Using SystemC And TSMC System-PPA

Power consumption is often more important than performance in today’s SoC designs because of battery size and power dissipation limitations. The dilemma is that the most leverage available to optimize power consumption is at the architectural design stage, but there often is not enough information available early enough to make accurate power decisions. On the performance side, SystemC mod... » read more

The Real Differences Between HW And SW

How many times have we heard people say that hardware and software do not speak the same language? The two often have different terms for essentially the same thing. What hardware calls constrained random test is what software people call fuzzing. Another one recently caught my eye in a conversation with Jama Software, a Portland software company that has made a name for itself in requiremen... » read more

Alexa, Can You Help Me Build A Better SoC?

Consumers have fallen love with clever products like Amazon Echo, Nest, Google maps, Waze and Zillow that somehow make life a little easier and more fun. The underlying technology that makes these apps so rich and useful is machine learning and it seems to be showing up everywhere. Maybe it’s time to ask, “Alexa, can you help me build a better SoC?” The Next Frontier in SoC Architectur... » read more

The Trust Burning Debug Cycle From Hell

As bad as The Trust Burning Debug Cycle From Hell sounds, it’s worse than you think. Most of us don’t realize it exists. In my first 10 years as a hardware developer I wrote code like it could never exist! But then came the realization. It’s a cycle that preys on us all. It tempts me constantly. Most of us in hardware development are used to seeing bugs as annoyances at a minimum, thou... » read more

Fear Of Machines

In the tech industry, the main concern over the past five decades has been about what machines could not do. Now the big worry is what they can do. From the outset of the computer age, the biggest challenges were uptime, ease of use, reliability, and as devices became more connected, the quality and reliability of that connection. As the next phase of machines begins, those problems have bee... » read more

Moving Automotive Test Into The Analog Domain

The amount of electronic content in passenger cars continues to grow rapidly, driven mainly by the integration of various advanced safety features. The industry’s move towards fully autonomous vehicles promises to even further increase the number of these safety features and consequentially, the electronic content required in each vehicle. Recent reports indicate that hundreds of semicondu... » read more

Using Formal Verification To Prevent Catastrophic Security Breaches

The news of last week’s Yahoo hack that affected 500-million or so users sent shock waves of anxiety far and wide. It’s not clear yet how the massive data breach occurred or through what means the hackers accessed the network. It could be the chips that drive the network, often vulnerable to attacks on their operational integrity. It’s no surprise, then, that semiconductor companies ar... » read more

Team Work

While I am not much of a golf player, I participated in a golf tournament over the summer. It was a very friendly setup with teams of four playing against each other. Each player of the team hits his ball, and the ball that lands in the best position determines the starting point for every one of the team for the next stroke. The fact that only the best shot of the team counts, definitely ma... » read more

TSMC OIP, Vertical Integration And The Power of Ecosystems

After several attempts I’ve made it – my presentation at the TSMC OIP Ecosystem Forum was accepted this year. You may ask, what does a front-end guy like me do at a technology implementation forum like TSMC OIP? And why is he excited about it? The short answer is that it brings back my past. I am excited about how the front-end flows and implementation flows get connected in a closer way. I... » read more

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