How Reliable Are FinFETs?


Stringent safety requirements in the automotive and industrial sectors are forcing chipmakers to re-examine a number of factors that can impact reliability over the lifespan of a device. Many of these concerns are not new. Electrical overstress (EOS), electrostatic discharge (ESD) and [getkc id="160" kc_name="electromigration"] (EM) are well understood, and have been addressed by EDA tools f... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: Aug. 15


Solar sunglasses Researchers at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) developed sunglasses with colored, semitransparent organic solar cells applied onto the lenses capable of supplying a microprocessor and two displays with electric power. The solar cell lenses, perfectly fitted to a commercial frame, have a thickness of approx. 1.6 millimeters and weigh about six grams, just like th... » read more

Rethinking Computing Fundamentals


New compute architectures—not just new chips—are becoming a common theme in Silicon Valley these days. The whole semiconductor industry is racing to find the fastest, cheapest, lowest-power approach to processing. The drivers of this shift are well documented. Moore's Law is slowing down, in part because it's becoming more difficult to route signals across an SoC at the latest process no... » 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

Using CNNs To Speed Up Systems


Convolutional neural networks (CNNs) are becoming one of the key differentiators in system performance, reversing a decades-old trend that equated speed with processor clock frequencies, the number of transistors, and the instruction set architecture. Even with today's smartphones and PCs, it's difficult for users to differentiate between processors with 6, 8 or 16 cores. But as the amount o... » read more

I Say ‘High’ [Performance], You Say ‘Low’ [Power]


“…You say ‘why’, and I say ‘I don’t know…’” Actually, I do know. Everybody loves a high-performance product. Even just hearing that a product is high-performance sets higher expectations than if the product is simply described as “fast” or “powerful.” When it comes to SoC design, “high-performance” refers to a set of designs that run at very high clock freque... » read more

Is Design Innovation Slowing?


Paul Teich, principal analyst for Tirias Research, gave a provocative talk at the recent DAC conference entitled, "Is Integration Leaving Less Room for Design Innovation?" The answer isn't as simple as the question might suggest. "Integration used to be a driver for increasing the functionality of silicon," Teich said. "Increasingly, it will be used to incorporate more features of an entire ... » read more

Enabling Higher System Performance With NVDIMM-N


The shift from the traditional enterprise data center to the cloud is driving an insatiable demand for increased bandwidth and lower latencies. This is fundamentally reshaping traditional memory, storage, network and computing architectures. Although the semiconductor industry has been innovating to meet the needs of these new architectures, it continues to grapple with a waning Moore’s Law t... » read more

UPF Power Domains And Boundaries


The Universal Power Format (UPF) plays a central role in mitigating dynamic and static power in the battle for low-power in advanced process technology. A higher process node is definitely attractive as more functionality integration is possible in a smaller die area at a lower cost. However, in reality, this comes at the cost of exponentially increasing leakage power. This is because the minim... » read more

System Design Considerations For Embedded Heterogeneous Multiprocessing (HMP)


Heterogeneous multiprocessor (HMP) systems, using functionally asymmetric compute elements, such as application processors and microcontrollers integrated within the same SoCs, are now used extensively across a wide range of applications. These SoCs are used in smart, connected devices to transform the way we live – at home, in the car, and in our cities – with even more intelligence, speed... » read more

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