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

Tuning Heterogeneous SoCs


It's one thing to pack multiple processor cores into a design, but it is much more difficult to ensure the hardware matches the software's requirements, or that the software optimally uses the hardware. Both the hardware and software teams are now facing these issues, and there are few tools to help them fully understand the problems or to provide solutions. Design teams continue to add more... » read more

Optimizing Multiple IoT Layers


As the number of connected devices rises, so do questions about how to optimize them for target markets, how to ensure they play nicely together, and how to bring them to market quickly and inexpensively. [getkc id="76" kc_name="IoT"] is broad term that encompasses a lot of disparate pieces for devices, systems, and connected systems. At the highest levels are hardware and software, but with... » read more

Reflections On 2015


It is easy to make predictions, but few people can make them with any degree of accuracy. Most of the time, those predictions are forgotten by the end of the year and there is no one to do a tally of who holds more credibility for next year. Not so with SemiEngineering. We like to hold people's feet to the fire, but while the Pants-On-Fire meter may be applicable to politicians, we like to thin... » read more

Is HW Or SW Running the Show?


In the past, hardware was designed and then passed over to the software team for them to add their contribution to the product. This worked when the amount of software content was small and the practice did not significantly contribute to product delays. Over time, the software content grew and today it is generally accepted that software accounts for more product expense than hardware, takes l... » read more

Software Driving More Hardware Designs


The influence of software engineers is growing inside of chip and systems companies, reversing a decades-old trend of matching the software to the fastest or most power-efficient hardware and raising as-yet unanswered questions about what will change in SoC design. The shift is particularly evident in chips developed for high-volume markets such as mobile phones and tablets. It's also happen... » read more

Hardware-Software Co-Design


A famous electronics company recently launched a new TV and web commercial emphasizing the importance of designing hardware and software together. (You can view the video here.) It is interesting to see that we have evolved to a state where a phone maker actually feels compelled to talk about the technical details of how the phone was designed. Rather than focusing on the screen resolution,... » read more

Emulation Uses Increase


For more than two decades, [getkc id="30" comment="emulation"] was a technology in search of a market. While on paper it has always made sense to speed up simulation, using hardware acceleration was so pricey that few companies could justify the cost. Fast-forward to today and emulation is a major contributor to the bottom line at all of the Big Three [getkc id="7" kc_name="EDA"] companies. ... » read more

What Will Change In Design For 2015?


This year more than 26 people provided predictions for 2015. Most of these came from the EDA industry, so the results may be rather biased. However, ecosystems are coming closer together in many parts of the semiconductor food chain, meaning that the EDA companies often can see what is happening in dependent industries and in the system design houses. Thus their predictions may have already res... » read more

Hardware-Software Rift Persists


Last month Semiconductor Engineering published an article about power optimization and the roles of the hardware and software teams in reducing energy consumption. The article portrayed the hardware team adding lots of capabilities for power reduction, while the software team was not making full use of those capabilities. That article made the rounds in a couple of LinkedIn forums populated ... » read more

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