A Formal Transformation

A very important change is underway in functional verification. In the past, this was an esoteric technology and one that was difficult to deploy. It was relegated to tough problems late in the verification cycle, and it was difficult to justify the ROI unless the technology actually did find some problems. But all of that has changed. Formal verification companies started to use the technology... » read more

Reaching For ROI

The simplest way to assess power and performance ROI of a chip design is to ask if the chip works and whether it meets the design specifications. But chips can be used in very different ways, and a single chip may have a number of operational modes, so that formula isn't so clear anymore. "Preventing failures is the No. 1 priority when it comes to ROI," said Aveek Sarkar, vice president of p... » read more

A Milestone In Imprint Lithography

The announcement on Feb. 13 of the acquisition of the semiconductor arm of Molecular Imprints (MII) by Canon is a seminal event in the story of imprint patterning. Full disclosure requires me to mention that as a founding team member at Molecular Imprints, my founders shares are now worth something — but well short of not needing to write a free blog as a marketing exercise for my consulting ... » read more

The Essential Tool Kit

By Ann Steffora Mutschler Is there an essential chip design tool kit today that has only the ‘must haves?’ Sure, this sounds like a straightforward question, but the answer really depends on what process node the design will be manufacturing on. According to Jon McDonald, technical marketing engineer for the design and creation business at Mentor Graphics, there’s actually nothi... » read more

Investment Options

It's clear that something fundamental has changed in the semiconductor manufacturing industry. What's less clear is how this will play out over the long term. Intel's agreement to invest more than $4 billion in ASML to ensure the continued development of EUV and 450mm wafer technology is more than just a one-off deal. It's a very public recognition that the astronomical cost of design and ma... » read more

Redefining ‘Good Enough’

The old definition of a good chip was that it could be manufactured with reasonable yield, it was functionally solid, and it performed at least as well as the market demanded. That definition is changing, however. There will always be a difference between ‘good’ and ‘good enough.’ We all want to own the ‘good’ chips in our electronic devices. But what’s noteworthy are the chang... » read more