Prototyping Partitioning Problems


Gaps are widening in the prototyping of large, complex chips because the speed and capacity of the FPGA is not keeping pace with rapid rollout pace of advanced ASICs. This is a new twist for a well-established market. Indeed, prototyping with FPGAs is as old as the [gettech id="31071" t_name="FPGAs"] themselves. Even before they were called FPGAs, logic accelerators or LCAs (logic cell ar... » read more

One-On-One: Mike Muller


Arm CTO Mike Muller sat down with Semiconductor Engineering to discuss a wide range of technology and market shifts, including the impact of machine learning, where new market opportunities will show up and how the semiconductor industry will need to change to embrace them. What follows are excerpts of that conversation. SE: It's getting to the point where instead of just developing chips, w... » read more

Different Approaches To Security


Everyone acknowledges the necessity for cybersecurity precautions, yet the world continues to be challenged by an invisible, inventive army of hackers. The massive data breach at Equifax was only the latest in a series of successful cyberattacks on the credit monitoring firm. Lessons learned from the previous breaches apparently didn’t mitigate this year’s embarrassment for the company. ... » read more

The New Road Warriors


Chip vendors and other companies that have little or no experience in automotive are flooding into this market as the race for assisted and autonomous driving begins to heat up. This market is expected to pay big dividends for companies that succeed in helping to build the vehicles of the future in this century. IC Insights earlier this year forecast the auto chip market would grow 22% this ... » read more

Deals: Mentor-Solido, Marvell-Cavium


Marvell today signed a definitive agreement to buy Cavium for roughly $6 billion, ending weeks of speculation about whether the deal would go through. And Mentor, a Siemens business, paid an undisclosed price to buy Solido Design Automation, which tracks variation in complex designs. Both deals are part of a new flurry of M&A activity across the semiconductor industry as the industry ret... » read more

Here Comes High-Res Car Radar


A dozen or so startups are developing high-resolution radar chips that use various modulation schemes and processes, such as CMOS, FD-SOI and even metamaterials. In theory, high-resolution radar could boost the capabilities of today’s radar for cars, as well as eliminate the need for a separate LiDAR system. But the technology is still in the research stage and has yet to be proven commerc... » read more

Move Data Or Process In Place?


Chip architectures, and even local system architectures, long have found that the best way to improve total system performance and power consumption is to move memory as close to processors as possible. This has led to cache architectures and memories that are tuned for those architectures, as discussed in part 1 of this article. But there are several tacit assumptions made in these architectur... » read more

Variation Spreads At 10/7nm


Variation between different manufacturing equipment is becoming increasingly troublesome as chipmakers push to 10/7nm and beyond. Process variation is a well-known phenomenon at advanced nodes. But some of that is actually due to variations in equipment—sometimes the exact same model from the same vendor. Normally this would fall well below the radar of the semiconductor industry. But as t... » read more

Overlay Challenges On The Rise


The overlay metrology equipment market is heating up at advanced nodes as the number of masking layers grows and the size of the features that need to be aligned continue to shrink. Both ASML and KLA-Tencor recently introduced new [getkc id="307" kc_name="overlay"] metrology systems, seeking to address the increasing precision required for lines, cuts and other features on each layer. At 10/... » read more

The Return Of Body Biasing


Body biasing is making a comeback across a wide swath of process nodes as designers wrestle with how to build mobile devices with more functionality and longer battery life. Consider an ultra-low-power IoT device with a wireless sensor, for example, which is meant to last for years without changing a battery. Body biasing can be used to create an ultra-low-leakage sleep state. “In that ... » read more

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