Worst-Case Results Causing Problems


The ability of design tools to identify worst-case scenarios has allowed many chipmakers to flag potential issues well ahead of tapeout, but as process geometries shrink that approach is beginning to create its own set of issues. This is particularly true at 16/14nm and below, where extra circuitry can slow performance, boost the amount of power required to drive signals over longer, thinne... » read more

The Case For Narrowband-IoT


Cellular network-based Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) is marching closer to reality as players across the ecosystem put forth silicon IP, software protocol stacks, carrier network software upgrades and more. The kicker came last year when the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), the global cellular industry standards body, finalized a NB-IoT standard in its 'release 13.' With that, device mak... » read more

Quality Issues Widen


As the amount of semiconductor content in cars, medical and industrial applications increases, so does the concern about how long these devices will function properly—and what exactly that means. Quality is frequently a fuzzy concept. In mobile phones, problems have ranged from bad antenna placement, which resulted in batteries draining too quickly, to features that take too long to load. ... » read more

2.5D Adds Test Challenges


OSATs and ATE vendors are making progress in determining what works and what doesn't in 2.5D packaging, expanding their knowledge base as this evolves into a mainstream technology. A [getkc id="82" kc_name="2.5D"] package generally includes an ASIC connected to a stack of memory chips—usually high-bandwidth memory—using an [getkc id="204" kc_name="interposer"] or some type of silicon bri... » read more

What Next For OSATs


Semiconductor Engineering sat down to discuss IC-packaging and business trends with Tien Wu, chief operating officer at Taiwan’s Advanced Semiconductor Engineering ([getentity id="22930" comment="ASE"]), the world’s largest outsourced semiconductor assembly and test (OSAT) vendor. What follows are excerpts of that conversation. SE: What’s the outlook for the IC industry in 2017? Wu:... » read more

Why Auto Designs Take So Long


Designing chips for the automotive market is adding significant overhead, particularly for chips with stringent safety requirements. On the verification side it could result in an additional 6 to 12 months of work. On the design side, developing the same processor in the mobile market would take 6 fewer man months. And when it comes to complex electronic control units (ECUs) or [getkc id="81... » read more

Big Data On Wheels


By Jeff Dorsch & Ed Sperling All kinds of chips are going into driver-assisted and autonomous cars. On one side are arrays of sensors, which are generating huge amounts of data about everything from lane position and proximity to other cars to unexpected objects in the road. On the other side are the chips required to process that data at blazing speed. As the market for PCs and mobil... » read more

Dealing With Unintended Behavior


Functional verification was already tough enough, but having to identify behaviors that were never defined or intended opens up the search space beyond what existing tools are capable of handling. However, while you may not be able to eliminate unintended behaviors, a design team is not helpless. There are several steps that can be taken to reduce the likelihood of these problems getting int... » read more

Embedded FPGAs Come Of Age


FPGAs increasingly are being viewed as a critical component in heterogeneous designs, ratcheting up their stature and the amount of attention being given to programmable devices. Once relegated to test chips that ultimately would be replaced by lower-power and higher-performance ASICs if volumes were sufficient, FPGAs have come a long way. Over the last 20 years programmable devices have mov... » read more

Custom Hardware Thriving


In the early days of the IoT, predictions about the commoditization of hardware and the end of customized hardware were everywhere. Several years later, those predictions are being proven wrong. Off-the-shelf components have not replaced customized hardware, and software has not dictated all designs. In fact, in many cases the exact opposite has happened. And where software does play an elev... » read more

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