The Week In Review: Design


M&A Synopsys will acquire Black Duck Software, a provider of software for securing and managing open source software. Synopsys already has a stake in this area from its Coverity acquisition in 2014, which it has been using to analyze security practices in open source software. Founded in 2003 and headquartered in Massachusetts, Black Duck's products automate the process of identifying and ... » read more

SoC Design Management Software: Proprietary Vs. Open Source


These days, there’s a tendency to read the word “proprietary” and think “bad,” as if whatever is proprietary is inflexible and limited capability. It’s a legacy from the emergence of open-source software, when “open” became associated with progress and “proprietary” became bad. But in many industries, proprietary solutions to this day have enormous value, deliver trust, s... » read more

Memory Model Verification at the Trisection of Software, Hardware, and ISA (Princeton)


Source: Princeton University, Caroline Trippel, Yatin A. Manerkar, Daniel Lustig*, Michael Pellauer*, Margaret Martonosi *NVIDIA Princeton University researchers have discovered a series of errors in the RISC-V instruction specification that now are leading to changes in the new system, which seeks to facilitate open-source design for computer chips. In testing a technique they created for... » read more

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

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