Power/Performance Bits: Oct. 17


Harvesting body heat Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology developed a flexible, wearable thermoelectric generator that can harvest energy from body heat to power simple biosensors. Thermoelectric generators have been available for decades, but standard designs use inflexible inorganic materials that are too toxic for use in wearable devices. The team's device uses thousands... » read more

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 Power Concerns At 10/7nm


As chip sizes and complexity continues to grow exponentially at 7nm and below, managing power is becoming much more difficult. There are a number of factors that come into play at advanced nodes, including more and different types of processors, more chip-package decisions, and more susceptibility to noise of all sorts due to thinner insulation layers and wires. The result is that engineers ... » 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

Data Centers Turn To New Memories


DRAM extensions and alternatives are starting to show up inside of data centers as the volume of data being processed, stored and accessed continues to skyrocket. This is having a big impact on the architecture of data centers, where the goal now is to move processing much closer to the data and to reduce latency everywhere. Memory has always been a key piece of the Von Neumann compute archi... » 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

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