The Week In Review: IoT


Government Maureen Ohlhausen, the acting head of the Federal Trade Commission, said in an interview that she looks to manufacturers of Internet-connected devices to decide on best practices for the Internet of Things. Although the FTC has the legal authority to set regulations for a variety of industries, Ohlhausen said the commission is “not primarily a regulator,” in line with the new ad... » read more

TFETs And/Or MOSFETs For Low-Power Design


As discussed in Reducing Subthreshold Swing With TFETs, papers at December’s IEEE Electron Device Meeting examined a variety of potential designs for tunneling transistors (TFETs). That focus continued at the recent CS International Conference. In particular, Nadine Collaert discussed IMEC’s work on InGaAs homo-junction devices. Many compound semiconductor devices depend on heterojunctio... » read more

TFETs Cut Sub-Threshold Swing


One of the main obstacles to continued transistor scaling is power consumption. As gate length decreases, the sub-threshold swing (SS) — the gate voltage required to change the drain current by one order of magnitude — increases. As Qin Zhang, Wei Zhao, and Alan Seabaugh of Notre Dame explained in 2006, SS faces a theoretical minimum of 60 mV/decade at room temperature in conventional MO... » read more

Could DVCon Be Better?


DVCon is undoubtedly the best conference in the industry if your interest is functional verification. In the past, it has also had a slant toward design. The focus is quite simply based on the standards activity going on within [getentity id="22028" e_name="Accellera"], the EDA industry's body that turns problems into solution in a short space of time. As those standards mature, they are handed... » read more

MEMS: A Tale Of Two Tough Markets


The MEMS market is growing rapidly, profits not so much. In most market segments, this would be a signal that more automation and standardization are required. But in the microelectromechanical systems world, fixes aren't so simple. And even where something can be automated, that automation doesn't work all the time. In fact, while MEMS devices are extremely difficult to design, build and ma... » read more

Ethics And The Singularity


A couple of weeks ago, I wrote an article entitled The Multiplier and the Singularity. That article has been well received and I thank those who have made some kind and interesting comments on it. Such articles can be difficult to write without inserting writer's bias. As a writer, I have many of my own thoughts and possibly even prejudices, but those are not meant to make their way into my wri... » read more

Not All Software Is Like Elvis


January is traditionally my look-back and outlook month. Five years ago my year-end wish had been a census of software developers, and it is fascinating how software in the context of verification has evolved since then (more on this below). Also, most years I go into my garage, dust off my collection of IEEE Spectrum print editions from January five, ten and 15 years back to assess which of th... » read more

Power Management Vs. State Machines


In the last several years, contemporary SoCs (systems-on-a-chip) have become very complex silicon solutions. They now consist of hundreds of millions of gates, 100 or more discrete Semiconductor Intellectual Property (SIP) blocks, high-speed data channels, megabytes of volatile and non-volatile embedded memory, increasing amounts of analog/mixed signal functionality, multiple CPU cores and mult... » read more

5 Takeaways from IEDM


As usual, the recent IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting (IEDM) was a busy week. The event, which took place in San Francisco, featured a plethora of subjects, such as next-generation transistors and memories. The event also included tracks on non-traditional approaches like quantum and neuromorphic computing. And then, there were sessions on power semis and others. In no partic... » read more

Manufacturing Bits: Dec. 13


Phonon lasers A European consortium recently kicked off a new project that will develop a practical phonon laser. The European consortium, called PHENOMEN, will be coordinated by the Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (ICN2). Most chips perform functions using an electrical charge (electrons) or by light (photons). In comparison, a phonon “is a quantum of energy or a q... » read more

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