Foundry Wars, Take Two


Samsung, GlobalFoundries, TSMC and Intel all have declared their intention to fill in nearly every node possible with multiple processes, different packaging options, and new materials. In fact, the only number that hasn't been taken so far is 9nm. It's not that one foundry's 10nm is the same as another's. Each company defines its nodes differently, and these days comparing nodes is almost m... » read more

The Rise Of Parallelism


Parallel computing is an idea whose time has finally come, but not for the obvious reasons. Parallelism is a computer science concept that is older Moore's Law. In fact, it first appeared in print in a 1958 IBM research memo, in which John Cocke, a mathematician, and Daniel Slotnick, a computer scientist, discussed parallelism in numerical calculations. That was followed eight years later by... » read more

When Will It Be Done?


Design teams have done remarkably well in getting chips out the door on time, despite growing complexity at each new node and an increase in the number of features and IP blocks that need to be integrated into designs. There has been plenty of grumbling, along with dire warnings about the future of Moore's Law and the impact of industry consolidation. The reality, though, is that the volume ... » read more

AI Storm Brewing


AI is coming. Now what? The answer isn't clear, because after decades of research and development, AI is finally starting to become a force to reckon with. The proof is in the M&A activity underway right now. Big companies are willing to pay huge sums to get out in front of this shift. Here is a list of just some of the AI acquisitions announced or completed over the past few years: ... » read more

Bidding War On H-1B Visas?


Good help is hard to find. It's about to get harder—and more expensive. The U.S. tech industry's solution until now has been to leverage expertise from around the world, drawing top graduates and entry-level professionals under the H-1B visa program. Last year, there were 85,000 H-1B visas issued, of which 20,000 are required to hold a U.S. master's degree or higher. There are some exce... » read more

So Much For Pure Science


Math is supposed to be the pure science, but numbers appear to be far less pure than mathematicians let on. There are examples of this everywhere. Consider the latest process nodes. One foundry's 10nm is another foundry's 7nm. And 7nm isn't necessarily 7nm. It might be 7.5nm or 6.5nm. It's not so much that the measurements aren't accurate. It's how they're applied that causes the problem. ... » read more

Where Is The New Competition?


Consolidation is a regular topic of discussion at semiconductor industry conferences and trade shows. Anyone who has been to these gatherings over the past couple decades can see there are fewer companies presenting and exhibiting, fewer startups taking the place of those that were bought, and a dramatic increase in one-day, one-vendor-sponsored events where top experts are gathered to talk abo... » read more

Security Becomes A Multi-System Issue


The fallout from the Mirai malware attack last week was surprising, given that it was published on the Internet several months ago as open-source. Despite numerous warnings, it still managed to cause denial of service attacks at Amazon, Netflix, and a slew of other companies that are supposed to be able to fend off these kinds of attacks. The good news is that it more people talking about th... » 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

Surprises At Hot Chips 2016


Who would have thought an Intel architect would be on stage talking about cutting pennies out of MCU prices? Or that Nvidia would be trumpeting an automotive SoC whose chief performance advantages come from the integration of ARM CPUs that can support up to eight virtual machines? Or that Samsung would be developing a quad-core mobile processor from scratch based on its own unique architecture?... » read more

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