Teaching Computers To See


Vision processing is emerging as a foundation technology for a number of high-growth applications, spurring a wave of intensive research to reduce power, improve performance, and push embedded vision into the mainstream to leverage economies of scale. What began as a relatively modest development effort has turned into an all-out race for a piece of this market, and for good reason. Mark... » read more

Heterogeneous System Challenges Grow


As more types of processors are added into SoCs—CPUs, GPUs, DSPs and accelerators, each running a different OS—there is a growing challenge to make sure these compute elements interact properly with their neighbors. Adding to the problem is this mix of processors and accelerators varies widely between different markets and applications. In mobile there are CPUs, GPUs, video and crypto pr... » read more

The Zen Of Processor Design


Mark Papermaster, chief technology officer at Advanced Micro Devices, sat down with Semiconductor Engineering to discuss how to keep improving performance per watt, new packaging options, and the increasing focus on customization for specific tasks. What follows are excerpts of that conversation. SE: As we get more into the IoT and we have to deal with more data, not to mention cars where da... » read more

How Cache Coherency Impacts Power, Performance


Managing how the processors in an SoC talk to one another is no small feat, because these chips often contain multiple processing units and caches. Bringing order to these communications is critical for improving performance and [getkc id="106" kc_name="reducing power"]. But it also requires a detailed understanding of how data moves, the interaction between hardware and software, and what c... » read more

Performance First


Crank up the clock speed. It takes a lot more performance to run virtual reality smoothly, or to process data in the cloud, or to stream a high-definition video from a drone. And none of that compares to the amount of performance required to kill an array of disturbingly realistic zombies on a mobile device in conjunction with other players scattered around the globe. After several years of ... » read more

CPU, GPU, or FPGA?


Nvidia’s new GeForce GTX 1080 gaming graphics card is a piece of work. Employing the company’s Pascal architecture and featuring chips made with a 16nm [getkc id="185" kc_name="finFET"] process, the GTX 1080’s GP104 graphics processing units boast 7.2 billion transistors, running at 1.6 GHz, and it can be overclocked to 1.733 GHz. The die size is 314 mm², 21% smaller than its GeForce ... » read more

The Mightier Microcontroller


Microcontrollers are becoming more complex, more powerful, and significantly more useful, but those improvements come with strings attached. While it's relatively straightforward to develop multi-core microcontroller (MCU) hardware with advanced power management features, it's much more difficult to write software for these chips because memory is limited. CPUs can use on-chip memory such as... » read more

Convolutional Neural Networks Power Ahead


While the term may not be immediately recognizable, convolutional neural networks (CNNs) are already part of our daily lives—and they are expected to become even more significant in the near future. [getkc id="261" kc_name="Convolutional neural networks"] are a form of machine learning modeled on the way the brain's visual cortex distinguishes one object from another. That helps explain wh... » read more

Coherency, Cache And Configurability


Coherency is gaining traction across a wide spectrum of applications as systems vendors begin leveraging heterogeneous computing to improve performance, minimize power, and simplify software development. Coherency is not a new concept, but making it easier to apply has always been a challenge. This is why it has largely been relegated to CPUs with identical processor cores. But the approach ... » read more

How Many Cores? (Part 1)


The optimal number of processor cores in chip designs is becoming less obvious, in part due to new design and architectural options that make it harder to draw clear comparisons, and in part because just throwing more cores at a problem does not guarantee better performance. This is hardly a new problem, but it does have a sizable list of new permutations and variables—right-sized heteroge... » read more

← Older posts