April 2010


Experts At The Table: Verification Nightmares


By Ed Sperling Low-Power Engineering sat down with Shabtay Matalon, ESL marketing manager in Mentor Graphics’ Design Creation Division; Bill Neifert, CTO at Carbon Design Systems; Terrill Moore, CEO of MCCI Corp., and Frank Schirrmeister, director of product marketing for system-level solutions at Synopsys. What follows are excerpts of that conversation. LPE: Where does power fit in? N... » read more

IP’s Ecosystem Race


By Ann Steffora Mutschler As the semiconductor industry moves from older manufacturing nodes to newer ones what users want from IP providers is changing. So is the way IP providers are answering those needs. Mirroring the broader semiconductor industry’s recognition that it’s simply too expensive, too difficult and too time consuming to do everything alone—the very basis of the IP sec... » read more

Timing Bomb


By Ed Sperling Timing closure, a basic operation in chip design and development, is becoming anything but basic at advanced process nodes. Systematic variability that was at least predictable at 90nm has become random at 45nm. Tools that worked fine with two corner cases now have to deal with hundreds. And as more functions make their way onto a single die, often with multiple modes of oper... » read more

End User Report: ON Semiconductor


By Ed Sperling System-Level Design sat down with Daniel McCranie, ON’s chairman, to discuss what drives the company, what it considers as critical to staying profitable, and future competitive threats. What follows are excerpts of that conversation. SLD: Why has ON been making so many acquisitions? Is it a need to get big or to shift direction? McCranie: You’re right that ON is extre... » read more

Who’s Calling The Shots Now?


By Ann Steffora Mutschler Determining who makes the decisions in semiconductor industry is not as easy as it sounds. There is not a straight line of responsibility in today’s market due to changing industry dynamics such as the shift from the IDM business model to the foundry model. “If you go back far enough, everyone had to manufacture their own chips. There was a substantial influenc... » read more

Where SoCs Don’t Go


By Pallab Chatterjee The National Association of Broadcaster show is the one place where you can be sure to find some of the most advanced technology on the planet—the kind of stuff used to broadcast, capture and edit 3D content. But while the market for this kind of technology is growing, the quantities of like products are still not high enough to warrant ASICs. It’s a world dominated... » read more

A Delicate Balancing Act


ver since the patent for complementary metal oxide semiconductors was awarded to Frank Wanlass at Fairchild in 1967, CMOS has proved to be one of the most durable technologies in electronics history. It has powered devices worth trillions of dollars in sales, been the recipient of an estimated $600 billion in R&D, and become the basis of some of the most refined manufacturing processes in h... » read more

Getting To Market Faster


By Jack Harding IP reusability has been a drumbeat in the semiconductor industry for a dozen years or more. The thesis is simple: Why build again what you already have? And with most durable, simple statements, the foundation is profundity. The basic need has yielded breakthrough innovation from IP companies large and small. EDA methodologies to “assemble” blocks from pre-existing inven... » read more

Do Your Chip A Favor: Manage The Constraints


A design goes through several transformations in a typical register transfer level (RTL) to layout flow, and a variety of verification techniques are employed (simulation, equivalence checking, etc.) to ensure that its intent has not changed. It’s normal for timing constraints to be created and refined in parallel with the RTL and netlist throughout the design cycle, but these constraints t... » read more

Why Your iPhone Battery Doesn’t Last


By Jon McDonald The other day a friend asked about the battery life on my iPhone. I love the phone by the way; he was disappointed with how often he had to recharge his. I responded with the one thing I had tried—turn off the Bluetooth. With that one change I have been pretty happy with the time between charges. His question got me thinking about the battery life of the phone, and I start... » read more

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