Will Open-Source Work For Chips?

Open source is getting a second look by the semiconductor industry, driven by the high cost of design at complex nodes along with fragmentation in end markets, which increasingly means that one size or approach no longer fits all. The open source movement, as we know it today, started in the 1980s with the launch of the GNU project, which was about the time the electronic design automation (... » read more

DAC Day Four: Excitement And Risk

One thing that was new to DAC this year, was an art exhibit. These were pieces of artwork related to our industry, such as chip plots, or more abstract ideas based on design data or analyses. They received many more entrants than their wildest dreams and had to choose a winner from over 80 pieces, but the grand prize was won by a 3D model of a finFET by David Freid of Coventor. This piece was ... » read more

Alternative To x86, ARM Architectures?

Software developed by professors and graduate students from the University of California at Berkeley? That will never fly in the semiconductor industry, right? Maybe they said that about SPICE, four decades ago. The jury is still out on RISC-V (pronounced risk-five) the modular, open-source instruction set architecture created in this decade by Cal professors and students, yet the ISA is gai... » read more

Going Open Source

Open Source often is thought of as an alternative to commercial software licensed using fairly typical business models. For example, variants of open source Linux supplied by companies such as Red Hat charge a subscription for support and maintenance. Maybe there is an opportunity to leverage Open Source alongside commercial EDA software to provide use model advantages and open development f... » read more

Back Doors Are Everywhere

By Ernest Worthman & Ed Sperling Back doors have been a part of chip design since the beginning. One of the first open references was in the 1983 movie "War Games," which features a young computer whiz who uses one to hack into a computer that controls the United States' nuclear arsenal. In reality, modern back doors predate Hollywood's discovery by about 20 years, starting in 1965 wi... » read more

Bridging Hardware And Software

Methodology and reuse are two fairly standard concepts when it comes to semiconductor design, but they're viewed completely differently by hardware and software teams. It's a given that hardware and software have different goals and opinions about how best to do design. And while all agree that a single methodology can pay dividends in future chips, there is disagreement over who should shap... » read more

Let’s Talk Open Source

Of late I have been hearing some rumblings about open source for the IoE. The sad part is that there is still talk about anything else. Even though the IoE remains a dream to many, the shrewd marketers already are scheming on how to make their product the one that leads that pack, and many see proprietary source code as a way to differentiate themselves. I can see that in any number of appli... » read more

Heartbleed And The Internet Of Things

Heartbleed is not a country and western song, but many wish it were. It’s a programming glitch with the potential to cause disastrous and widespread compromises on seemingly secure data. By some estimates, the flaw in the heartbleed code has allowed hackers to collect personal data, including passwords, undetected, for as long as two years. Exactly how much data has been breached, and what... » read more

Executive Insight: Simon Davidmann

Every industry has some colorful characters and within the EDA industry, Simon Davidmann is certainly one that comes to mind. For the past 30-something years, Davidmann has provided guidance to the industry, stood up for what he believes in, been an inspiration to many entrepreneurs, and had some fun along the way. Simon is a serial entrepreneur, angel investor and he has been a key person invo... » read more

New Architectures Redefining The Data Center

By Ed Sperling The cost of powering and cooling data centers, coupled with a better understanding of how enterprise-level applications can utilize hardware more effectively, are spawning a new wave of changes inside of data centers. Data centers are always evolving, but in this sector that evolution is deliberate and sometimes painstakingly slow. In fact, each major shift tends to last a de... » read more

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