June 2011


Let The Mobile Games Begin


By Pallab Chatterjee Mobile devices today are optimized for low- to mid-bandwidth data transmission, which is sufficient for e-mail, batch downloads of applications and music, and playback of encoded/compressed streaming video. But in coming months they will add another feature—image capture and processing and advanced graphics processing. This adds a whole new wrinkle to mobile devices, ... » read more

Different Ways To Boost Yield


By Ann Steffora Mutschler In the race to get products to market with shortening product cycles, steepening the ramp to yield is critical. The introductory phase of a product is the point at which margins are highest and market share can be most easily gained. This is no surprise to chipmakers. What is surprising is just how much more difficult it has become to achieve acceptable yield quick... » read more

IP Tagging Resurfaces


By Ed Sperling System-Level Design sat down with Kathy Werner, IP strategy and business manager inside of Freescale’s Design Technology Organization, to discuss tagging of soft IP. What follows are excerpts of that conversation. SLD: How new is the concept of IP tagging? Werner: IP tagging has been around for a long time. VSI Alliance was one of the first standards organizations that l... » read more

SoC Design In 5 Years


By Ed Sperling The semiconductor industry is used to looking at changes every couple of years, based upon the progression of Moore’s Law. But look out further, over the next five years when the most advanced process node is somewhere between 14nm and 16nm, and the job of designing and manufacturing an SoC will look very different. At the center of this change are three very significant tr... » read more

Virtual Prototyping Takes Off


By Ann Steffora Mutschler Skyrocketing software development costs, which for years have been “somebody else’s problem,” are now firmly part of the SoC development teams list of headaches. That has made virtual prototyping far more popular, particularly at 40nm and beyond, where engineers are looking at this approach as a way of managing complexity, doing architectural exploration and eve... » read more

Standards Wanted


Over the next few years, as the industry moves to stacked die of various sorts—2.5D, 3D, system-in-package, package-on-package, and probably some others we haven’t considered yet—there will be a major need for standards. We will need standards for placement, interconnects, power leakage, characterization of IP and a slew of other things we haven’t even thought about yet. Most compani... » read more

Playing Hardball With Software


By Frank Ferro Software is never-ending, or so the axiom goes. It shouldn’t take long to convince anyone that has used an electronic device of the truth of this statement. The PC environment is the most obvious (and obnoxious) example with daily application software updates, at the most inconvenient times, coupled with regularly scheduled updates for the OS. Even embedded devices like media ... » read more

Ansys Buys Apache


By Ed Sperling Ansys plans to acquire Apache Design Solutions, rounding out its lineup of simulation software with expertise in low-power analysis. Ansys will pay $310 million in cash, which includes $29 million in cash that Apache already has on its books. The timing is particularly interesting because Apache announced its plans to go public with a $75 million IPO in March. The last compan... » read more

Management Buys Into ESL


By Jon McDonald Over the past few weeks I've spent a significant amount of time at industry shows, the largest of which is DAC. It was interesting to hear the tone of the conversations this year around ESL. ESL has reached a level of acceptance such that it is now being co-opted and interpreted to cover an amazing array of activities. I have felt for a while that the electronic design indus... » read more

Our STBs Really Suck (Power)


By Kurt Shuler For all the work our industry does to implement sophisticated power management and conservation features in our chips and software, I was dismayed (and a little appalled) to read Saturday’s New York Times article, “Atop TV Sets, a Power Drain That Runs Nonstop.” Our industry’s dirty little secret is out, with help from the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and... » read more

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