April 2009


Business In The Time Of Influenza


The current round of flu will have lasting repercussions on the electronics industry, whether it turns into the kind of pandemic that killed 50 million to 100 million people in the fall of 1918 or whether it proves to be a localized tragedy. We won’t know that for months, of course. The 1918 flu actually began as a relatively mild illness the previous spring before mutating into one of the ... » read more

Is ESL Formal Verification An Oxymoron?


“No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong.” – Albert Einstein I’ve had a number of conversations recently trying to understand what verification means for ESL and higher level models. It seems that most of the people I talk to are looking for a guarantee, they want formal verification, a proof that the design is doing what it should... » read more

Making Analog Easier


By Clive "Max" Maxfield I'm a digital design engineer by trade. All of those wibbly-wobbly effects that are characteristic of the analog domain make me nervous, and if something makes me nervous I tend to look the other way and hope it will go away. But analog isn’t going anywhere. On the contrary, the increasing amounts of analog/mixed-signal (AMS) functionality that feature in today's Sy... » read more

Intelligent Verification Offers Hope For “Smartening” Up Verification


By Cheryl Ajluni As with death and taxes, when it comes to design some things are just inevitable. For one, as design geometries shrink, design complexity will continue to increase. For another, verification is the single most time-consuming and intensive part of the entire design cycle. While new tools and methodologies have enabled designers to work through many of the existing complexity i... » read more

Soft Errors Create Tough Problems


By Ed Sperling Single event upsets used to be as rare as some elements on the Periodic Table, with the damage they could cause relegated more to theory than reality. Not anymore. At 90nm, what was theory became reality. And at 45nm, the events are becoming far more common, often affecting multiple bits in increasingly dense arrays of memory and now, increasingly, in the logic. Known alter... » read more

Moore’s Law Splinters


By Ed Sperling Moore’s Law continues progressing at a rate of one node every two years or so, but the number of companies that are adhering to that schedule is becoming much harder to pinpoint. Even the nodes themselves are becoming fuzzy. While Intel is looking at 32nm as the next node after 45nm, TSMC is looking at 28nm as the next node after 40nm. And there are likely to be extensions wi... » read more

The Other Side Of Consolidation


Consolidation has begun again in the electronics industry, but so far the majority of it is happening at the customer level.   While this is a sign that the economy has bottomed out and credit is beginning to flow—as unevenly as it always does when a downturn bottoms out—it’s creating a rather disturbing trend. Fewer customers mean fewer designs, even though the complexity of the des... » read more

Experts At The Table: Platform-Based Design


By Ed Sperling System-Level Design sat down with Simon Bloch, vice president and general manager of ESL/HDL Design and Synthesis at Mentor Graphics; Mike Gianfagna, vice president of marketing at Atrenta; and Jim Hogan, a private investor. What follows are excerpts of a lively, often contentious two-hour conversation.     SLD: Where does the consolidation happen in the chip design world... » read more

What If?


The latest terminology to permeate the ranks of systems engineers and the makers of automation tools is, ‘What If.’   On the face of it, this concept is a progression from the old matrix model, which provided a set of possible interactions and variables. What it adds, however, is an extra layer of dependencies and interdependencies, a concept that was developed largely in the software ... » read more

Experts At The Table: Platform-Based Design


By Ed Sperling System-Level Design sat down with Simon Bloch, vice president and general manager of ESL/HDL Design and Synthesis at Mentor Graphics; Mike Gianfagna, vice president of marketing at Atrenta; and Jim Hogan, a private investor. What follows are excerpts of a lively, often contentious two-hour conversation.   SLD: What’s the starting point for designs in this world? Hogan: I... » read more

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