July 2010


Experts At The Table: The Power Problem


By Ed Sperling Low-Power Engineering sat down to discuss the issues in low-power design with Vic Kulkarni, general manager and senior vice president of the RTL business unit, Apache Design Solutions; Pete Hardee, solutions marketing manager at Cadence; Bernard Murphy, chief technology officer at Atrenta, and Bhavna Agrawal, manager of circuit design automation at IBM. What follows are excerpt... » read more

Preparing For 3D IC Stacking


By David Lammers Through-silicon vias (TSVs) are in various stages of late development, but design and manufacturing challenges remain before companies can gain the full benefits of the third dimension. Two camps are pushing hard to introduce TSVs—the design community and the manufacturing equipment companies. The initial goal is to connect graphics memories to graphics processors in mobi... » read more

Why Open Source Matters


By Ann Steffora Mutschler A huge effort has been under way to create virtual prototypes that allow true hardware/software co-design, but there are still a number of pieces missing. One significant missing element is a full library of IP models to guide the process, and the solution could come from an unlikely place—open source developers. Today, ‘open source’ IP generally seems to be ... » read more

ESL Requires New Approaches To Design And Verification


By Ann Steffora Mutschler As more data gets front loaded into SoC architectures today, understanding verification challenges as well as communication between the front and back end has never been more critical. “All of this is getting more complicated,” said John Ford, director of marketing at ARM. “There was a time when an ARM processor core was all that was on a chip. Now there’s ... » read more

New Standards For Connectivity


By Pallab Chatterjee The last couple of months have been busy for data transfer standards. Consider the following moves: Power Line Communication (PLC) has become a new standard by the IEEE and has two groups promoting it: HD-PLC and Home Plug Alliance. Bluetooth also has made progress with the draft of the new Bluetooth Low Energy Technology as part of the July version 4 specificatio... » read more

‘Good’ Vs. ‘Good Enough’


By Ed Sperling The decision for when a chip is ready for tapeout is changing—both in time and sometimes in terms of who’s actually making that decision—as the amount of software being developed by hardware companies continues to grow. At the root of this shift are two very different concepts about what constitutes a market-ready product. For SoC engineers, fixing bugs after a chip has... » read more

The Upside Of Glitches


There has always been a struggle between the verification and marketing sides of any chip company. The solution in the past has simply been to hire lots more verification engineers on a contract basis prior to tapeout and to muscle through the debug process. Creating a more generic platform and differentiating it with software changes that equation, and that is raising lots of concern behind... » read more

Misuse Of Thermal Numbers


By Javier DeLaCruz So many of us in the semiconductors realm are guilty of using JEDEC thermal data incorrectly. I often get questions such as “how much power can this package handle” or “what’s the thermal efficiency of this package.” Unfortunately, in almost all situations these questions cannot be generally answered. The numbers we throw around for thermal performance come fr... » read more

What EDA360 Isn’t


By Mike Gianfagna The EDA360 White Paper that Cadence Design Systems published a few months back certainly has everyone talking. It’s well written. The messages are compelling. The content has a viral quality. The printed collateral is visually appealing. The microsite is engaging. Most of us only wish we had the marketing budget to do this kind of stuff. A healthy marketing budget is a n... » read more

More Efficient Design


Power dissipation is a major concern in modern day IC design. For wireless electronic appliances, battery life is one of the major influencers of the purchase decision and can be an effective differentiator. Mobile phones, PDAs, digital cameras and personal MP3 players are increasingly being sold on their long battery lives. In wired applications, power consumption determines heat generation, w... » read more

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