Context Is Everything

With consumer and industrial IoT applications, the importance of system context to IC vendors is paramount. No more are the days of developing a chip in isolation; close partnership with systems companies is de rigueur as they provide the use case data that is foundational to development of systems that work. While this makes sense in a smartphone, it’s significantly harder to achieve in a... » read more

Abstraction: Necessary But Evil

Abstraction allows aspects of a design to be described in an executable form much earlier in the flow. But some abstractions are breaking down, and an increasing amount of lower-level information has to be brought upstream in order to provide estimates that are close enough to reality so informed decisions can be made. The value of abstractions in design cannot be overstated. High levels of ... » read more

The Trouble With Abstractions

Ask chip engineers about the value of abstractions and you're likely to get a spectrum of answers. While abstractions help in seeing the big picture on complex designs, the data for performance and power needs to be annotated from detailed information the engineering team may obtain later in the design flow. There is valuable information that can come from using abstractions correctly. And ... » read more

What Is Functional Accuracy?

What it means to be functionally accurate in the context of [getkc id="104" kc_name="virtual platforms"] varies greatly, depending upon whom you ask and even when you ask them. But that doesn’t mean that functional accuracy isn’t useful. Jon McDonald, technical marketing engineer for the design and creation business at [getentity id="22017" e_name="Mentor Graphics"], expects to see a lot... » read more

Virtual Prototyping Takes Off

Semiconductor Engineering sat down with Barry Spotts, senior core competency FAE for fabric and tools at [getentity id="22186" comment="ARM"]; Vasan Karighattam, senior director of architecture for SoC and SSW engineering at [getentity id="22664" e_name="Open-Silicon"]; Tom De Schutter, senior product marketing manager for Virtualizer Solutions at [getentity id="22035" e_name="Synopsys"]; Larry... » read more

Are Models Holding Back New Methodologies?

Semiconductor Engineering sat down to discuss the state of the industry for [getkc id="101" kc_name="modeling"] at abstractions above [getkc id="49" kc_name="RTL"], a factor which has delayed adoption of [getkc id="104" kn_name="virtual prototypes"] and the proliferation of system-level design and hardware/software codesign. Taking part in the discussion were Frank Schirrmeister, group director... » read more

How Many Levels Of Abstraction Are Needed?

Recently I was having a conversation with a user who was creating cycle accurate SystemC models. My initial thought was, "Why would this be necessary?" Through the course of discussions I realized that he did have a design questions that required that level of accuracy and the simulation performance trade-offs were appropriate for his needs. His cycle accurate SystemC models were running at abo... » read more

Evolution Vs. Revolution

In the electronic design automation industry changes to tools and flows are nearly always evolutionary. They hide as much change from the user as possible, allowing easier justification from an ROI perspective, and they raise far fewer objections from users, who don’t have to spend time learning how to use new technology or rethink tried and true approaches to problems. Revolution in chip ... » read more

Abstractions: The Good, Bad And Ugly

Raising the level of abstraction has become almost a mantra among chipmakers and tools developers. By moving the vantage point up a couple rungs on the ladder, it’s easier to see how the individual parts of a design go together, to identify problems in the design as well as fixes to problems, and it all can happen much more quickly. That’s the theory, at least. And in most cases, it’s ... » read more

Taking Stock Of Models

By Ann Steffora Mutschler The world of modeling in SoC design is multi-dimensional to say the least. One dimension contains the model creators and providers, while the other is comprised of the types of models that exist in the marketplace. “What we’re seeing today is that we have basically models coming from either IP providers—the people that are actually producing those cores ... » read more

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