And The Award Goes To…


I like to look at what users find the most interesting topics, not because it directly influences what I write, but to get a sense of the subjects that are on most people's minds. Some of it comes as no surprise. Content about new fabrication technologies tends to blow everything else away. While it directly affects very few of us, I think we all want to know the general direction of the indust... » read more

Security Becomes A Multi-System Issue


The fallout from the Mirai malware attack last week was surprising, given that it was published on the Internet several months ago as open-source. Despite numerous warnings, it still managed to cause denial of service attacks at Amazon, Netflix, and a slew of other companies that are supposed to be able to fend off these kinds of attacks. The good news is that it more people talking about th... » read more

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

← Older posts