February 2010

Expert Shootout: Parasitic Extraction

Low-Power Engineering sat down to discuss parasitic extraction with Robert Hoogenstryd, director of marketing for design analysis and signoff at Synopsys, and Carey Robertson, product marketing director for Calibre Design Solutions at Mentor Graphics. What follows are excerpts of that conversation. LPE: What changes with at 22nm and beyond with structures like FinFETs? Robertson: It’s no... » read more

Stop Texting Me

By Brian Fuller It was a simple request for a story: “You play around with this social-media stuff: Is it having an impact within engineering organizations?” My first thought was “social” and “engineer” should not be in the same sentence. Someone recently told me a story about trying—through Twitter no less—to set up a face-to-face meeting with an engineer at a live event.... » read more

Mind The Gap

By Ed Sperling Throughout system-level design there are gaps. High-level modeling doesn’t connect directly to RTL code. Synthesis and high-level synthesis remain worlds apart. There are even gaps in the expertise, from the people who handcraft RTL to those who take it for granted. Some of these gaps will get closed over time. Others will never be closed. In same cases it doesn’t matter.... » read more

Your Light Bulb Is Calling

By Pallab Chatterjee The mobility that is best associated with “smart phone” functionality is making its way into most other electronic systems. At ISSCC and even the Strategies in Light conference, systems and products were being shown featuring standard RF interfaces. The RF is being made available as standalone die for multi-die and 3D packaging, as well as in SoC IP blocks. The fu... » read more

Make vs. Buy

By Ann Steffora Mutschler The age-old question of whether to make or buy is time immemorial, and is particularly true for the cyclical semiconductor industry. At the end of the day, the answer comes down to how the decision maker feels about having or losing control. Fifteen years ago, whether to make or buy something—be it the design, libraries, memory, implementation, verification, te... » read more

Road Construction Ahead

A long-running joke in Canada is there are only two seasons—winter and road repair. Dating back from the days of ancient times, roads have united empires. In a more figurative sense, they have made the best corporations better than their competitors. And on a conceptual level, they have linked together theories and concepts that previously had functioned in separate worlds. In SoC d... » read more

Irrational Exuberance Meets High-Level Design

By Jon McDonald Irrational exuberance is running rampant. Design managers believe all their systems engineers and software programmers are going to be able to drive the hardware design process from a high-level description. OK, perhaps irrational exuberance is a bit strong and it may not be quite rampant, but I’ve heard statements recently both from customers and suppliers pushing in th... » read more

Still Room For Startups?

Can startups still survive in an increasingly complex, high up-front investment world? System-Level Design posed that question to Mentor Graphics, Synopsys, Oasys and an end user. [youtube vid=3RGvRnDGiTE] » read more


Advances in silicon technology have enabled unprecedented levels of integration in today’s SoC designs. These designs are developed through integration of various sub-systems. After the architecture and top-level micro-architecture are reasonably complete, the task of developing and integrating sub-systems begins. These sub-systems may be developed ground-up with brand new sub-system RTL. A... » read more

Purging Inefficiency

By Jack Harding The Value Chain Producer (VCP) segment of the semiconductor industry was recently formalized by the GSA. This is particularly good news for the fabless world, which can benefit from a business model designed to increase quality, efficiencies and access to technology. Quality is addressed by a VCP through a variety of means, but it all stems from the aggregation of skill se... » read more

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