September 2008


Economic Bailout Meets Design


What does the economic bailout have to do with system-level design? Probably more than you’d guess. Convergence of the front and back end of chip design, combining everything from software with verification planning at the architectural level, is now being converged with one other element—business. And that business element is reaching far deeper than ever before. Business has always ha... » read more

What Else Can You Cram On A Chip?


Gordon Moore should be proud. At every process node, the number of transistors goes up, but so do the number of engineers you need to develop a chip. This may not be immediately obvious to anyone who’s actually working on a new chip. You’re probably part of a team that uses fewer engineers than several years ago, purchasing off-the-shelf IP blocks, and leaning heavily on design automatio... » read more

Cross-Talking with TLM 2.0


By Ed Sperling It’s almost like flying over the Great Plains of the United States. On the ground it’s hard to see above the corn stalks, but in an airplane you can see the entire horizon even if you can’t see those stalks anymore. The analogy is similar to where most of the major players in chip design say the engineering for systems on chips needs to go. With millions more ... » 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

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

Engineering Schools Trail Chip Design Changes


Complexity in designing chips is relatively well understood, even if it’s not easy to solve the problems and actually create the chips. But engineering schools are only beginning to grasp the enormity of the change, and their curricula are running years behind what is happening in the industry.   Corporations have spent years tearing down silos, and technology has forced the same kinds o... » read more