Counting On Cryptocurrency

While cryptocurrencies may still be in the infancy of market development and adoption, the semiconductor industry has certainly felt the potential of blockchain technologies. In its fourth quarter 2017 earnings conference, TSMC commented on the strong demand from cryptocurrency-related businesses since the second half of 2017. These “mining” markets are driving leading-edge business at TSMC... » read more

The Week In Review: Design

M&A Microchip inked an agreement to acquire Microsemi, provider of chips for defense and aerospace, for $68.78 per share in cash. The acquisition price represents a total equity value of about $8.35 billion and a total enterprise value of about $10.15 billion, according to Microchip. The deal is expected to close in the second quarter of 2018. Silvaco acquired NanGate. Founded in 2004, ... » read more

Customizing Power And Performance

Designing chips is getting more difficult, and not just for the obvious technical reasons. The bigger issue revolves around what these chips going to be used for-and how will they be used, both by the end user and in the context of other electronics. This was a pretty simple decision when hardware was developed somewhat independently of software, such as in the PC era. Technology generally d... » read more

Data Buffering’s Role Grows

Data buffering is gaining ground as a way to speed up the processing of increasingly large quantities of data. In simple terms, a data buffer is an area of physical [getkc id="22" kc_name="memory"] storage that temporarily stores data while it is being moved from one place to another. This becomes increasingly necessary in data centers, autonomous vehicles, and for [getkc id="305" kc_name=... » read more

Warp Speed Ahead

The computing world is on a tear, but not just in one direction. While battery-powered applications are focused on extending the time between charges or battery replacements, there is a whole separate and growing market for massive improvements in speed. Ultimately, this is where quantum computing will play a role, probably sometime in the late 2020/early 2030 timeframe, according to multipl... » read more

DAC System Design Contest

When it comes to tackling leading-edge design challenges in fun ways, there’s no better place than DAC. For DAC 2018, we’ve created a System Design Contest targeting machine learning on embedded hardware. If you think this is too leading edge for a design contest, you’d be mistaken: More than 100 teams registered for the contest. You can find a full list of the teams here. So ho... » read more

What’s Next With Computing?

At the recent IEDM conference, Jeff Welser, vice president and lab director at IBM Research Almaden, sat down to discuss artificial intelligence, machine learning, quantum computing and supercomputing with Semiconductor Engineering. Here are excerpts of that conversation. SE: Where is high-end computing going? Welser: We are seeing lots of different systems start to come up. First of all,... » read more

Changes Ahead For Test

Testing microprocessors is becoming more difficult and more time consuming as these devices are designed to take on more complex tasks, such as accelerating artificial intelligence computing, enabling automated driving, and supporting deep neural networks. This is not just limited to microprocessors, either. Graphics processing units are grabbing market share in supercomputing and other area... » read more

Making Machine Learning Portable

Machine learning is everywhere, and it has exploded at a pace no one would have expected. Even a year ago, ML was more of an experiment than a reality. NVIDIA's stock price (Fig. 1, below) is a good representation of just how quickly this market has grown. GPUs are the chip of choice for training machine learning systems. Fig. 1: Nvidia 5-year stock price. Source: Google Finance Ma... » read more

Move Data Or Process In Place?

Should data move to available processors or should processors be placed close to memory? That is a question the academic community has been looking at for decades. Moving data is one of the most expensive and power-consuming tasks, and is often the limiter to system performance. Within a chip, Moore's Law has enabled designers to physically move memory closer to processing, and that has rema... » read more

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