Building Faster Chips

By Ed Sperling and Jeff Dorsch An explosion in IoT sensor data, the onset of deep learning and AI, and the commercial rollout of augmented and virtual reality are driving a renewed interest in performance as the key metric for semiconductor design. Throughout the past decade in which mobility/smartphone dominated chip design, power replaced performance as the top driver. Processors ha... » read more

RC Delay: Bottleneck To Scaling

R = resistance — the difficulty an electrical current has in passing through a conducting material. C = capacitance — the degree to which an insulating material holds a charge. RC delay = the delay in signal speed through the circuit wiring as a result of these two effects. RC delay is important because it can become a significant obstacle to continued downward scaling of logic and... » read more

No More Straight Lines

Shrinking features on a chip is no longer the only way forward, and in an increasing number of designs and markets, it is no longer the best way forward. Power and performance are generally better dealt with using different architectures and microarchitectures, and all of those provide the potential to reduce silicon area (cost). Cramming more transistors on a die and working around leakage... » read more

Tech Talk: 14nm

Tamer Ragheb, digital design methodology technical lead at GlobalFoundries about what's changed with 14nm finFETs, including coloring with double patterning, new corners, Miller Effects, timing issues and variability. [youtube vid=Yk6jSKCtsjU] » read more

How To Deal With Electromigration

The replacement of aluminum with copper interconnect wiring, first demonstrated by IBM in 1997, brought the integrated circuit industry substantial improvements in both resistance to electromigration and line conductivity. Copper is both a better and more stable conductor than aluminum. Difficult though the transition was, it helped extend device scaling for another eighteen years (and counting... » read more