Introduction To eFPGA Software

In February, we covered “Introduction to eFPGA Hardware.” Now in April, we’ll provide an introduction to eFPGA software. An eFPGA is a block of programmable logic from a few thousand to a few hundred thousand LUTs (look up tables) of programmable logic that is embedded in an SoC. The clock(s) for the eFPGA come from the SoC. The configuration of the eFPGA is done by the SoC... » read more

Plugging Gaps In Advanced Packaging

The growing difficulty of cramming more features into an SoC is driving the entire chip industry to consider new packaging options, whether that is a more complex, integrated SoC or some type of advanced packaging that includes multiple chips. Most of the work done in this area so far has been highly customized. But as advanced packaging heads into the mainstream, gaps are beginning to appea... » read more

How To Buy Used Fab Tools

Buying used equipment is a good way to find viable tools at reasonable prices. But the used equipment market is not a simple place to shop for good deals. As reported in this article, it’s a complex market. For example, buyers of fab tools can procure used gear from several sources—an OEM; a used equipment company; a broker; and through eBay. Some IDMs also sell used equipment. So what a... » read more

Making A Multicore System Work

If you think designing a single-core system is hard, designing multicore systems is multiple times harder. Connecting all the pieces together and making them work properly, if not together, is one of the hardest tasks design engineers and architects will ever face. System-Level Design tracked down some of the experts in this field and sat them down around a table to discuss what’s going... » read more

Houston…We Have A System-Level Problem

[youtube vid=iZ61OU12TNU] Just imagine what happens when the guidance system on the International Space Station goes on the fritz and the entire lab begins doing somersaults through outer space. Then the solar panels no longer work and the communication system fails, and suddenly you understand how serious system-level design problems can become. Ret. Capt. Daniel Bursch recounts the inciden... » read more

Special Report: Semiconductor Road Map Survey

By Ed Sperling The upcoming semiconductor industry road map, which sets up the industry’s strategy and identifies trends for the next 15 years, is filled with three very interesting shifts and gaps. The road map, which will be formally unveiled next month, consists of findings gleaned from all the top chip companies. Juan-Antonio Carballo, a partner at IBM Venture Capital Group who spea... » read more

Verifying ASICs with FPGA Arrays

[youtube vid=pPNvvbCIzO4] » read more

Quality time?

By Ed Sperling System-Level Design sat down to discuss the future of verification with Olivier Haller, design verification team leader for STMicroelectronics’ functional verification group; Hillel Miller, functional design and verification tools and methodology manager at Freescale; Kelly Larson, design verification engineering manager at MediaTek Wireless; Adnan Hamid, CEO of Breker, and ... » read more

Object-Oriented Programming Is Back

Object-oriented programming is finally starting to look promising. For anyone who’s been following this technology, a statement like that is enough to evoke loud groans. Object-oriented programming, a.k.a. OOP, was first developed in the early 1960s. The goal was, and still is, to re-use components in software development—almost like Legos—by raising the level of abstraction for progra... » read more

New Challenges For Hardware Engineers

  It used to be fun to be a chip architect. You could wake up in the morning, grab a cup of strong black coffee and run through a few power and performance tradeoff calculations before deciding on the high-level architecture. That would set the engineering direction for months, if not years. On a good day, after introducing a steady infusion of caffeine into your bloodstream, you felt like ... » read more