September 2011


Painting The World Brown


The wave of portable devices being sold these days are far more energy-efficient than in the past, and viewed in isolation they constitute a major step forward in the push toward a greener world. The problem is that while people are buying these new devices in record numbers, they’re actually consuming more energy than in the past. That may explain why the number of complaints about smart ... » read more

Patience And Power


Prior to the invention of the railroad, the fastest anyone or anything traveled on the planet was the fastest horse, which is what made horse racing particularly interesting for centuries. And most SoC designers are old enough to remember the days when overnight delivery was considered a good thing. Even the Millennials are old enough to remember hourglasses on the screen, and the X Gens can ea... » read more

VP Software Debugging: Myths And Facts


By Achim Nohl In my last post I introduced the debugging challenges during porting, or developing native code, for Android. This time I would like to outline how virtual prototypes can enable software debugging and perform in an even better way. Before I describe what “better” refers to exactly, I want to shed some light on some prominent myths around the value of VPs for debugging. W... » read more

Solid Verification Methodology Essential To Productivity


Verifying SoCs from a functional perspective pushes the limits of already lean resources, driving verification teams to seek out new ways to improve productivity of verification tasks. Of course, with the verification task being a time-bound one, the challenge is daunting. It is well understood that consumer electronics is pushing the technology envelope in terms of the amount of technology ... » read more

Betting On Glass TSVs


By Ed Sperling There are two big issues when it comes to through-silicon vias. One involves cost. The second involves heat—in particular, how to get heat out of a stacked die and what the thermal coefficient of the TSV will be to make sure it expands at a rate consistent with the SoCs in a package. To address these issues, System-Level Design caught up with Rao Tummala, professor of elect... » read more

High-Speed Interfaces Dominate New Designs


By Pallab Chatterjee Displays, inputs devices and storage interfaces have now moved up into the high-speed multi-gigabit per second data rates. These were formerly Mb/s technologies, but they have moved into the Gb/s format. Adding a high-speed interface on a system is not the same as on an IC. PCBs do not have the luxury of Moore's Law to drive the technology, so bringing new high-speed parts... » read more

20nm IP Portability Appears Virtually Impossible


By Ann Steffora Mutschler Each node on the deep submicron path has brought new challenges to engineering teams, and 20nm is no different. With EUV (extreme ultraviolet) lithography challenges still being worked out, double patterning (DP) instead will be embraced in the manufacturing process most likely until 10nm. Due to the unique nature of DP, IP portability between foundries will become a ... » read more

Ripple Effects Through Value Chains


By Frank Schirrmeister This is the inaugural post for “Frankly Speaking,” a blog focused on embedded software and system-level design technologies, their adoption as technology themselves and how they enable technology adoption in the end markets. Tracking adoption and understanding its dynamics has been a passion of mine ever since I went to engineering school. After developing lots of... » read more

MIPI LLI Or C2C?


By Kurt Shuler Two new options for interchip connectivity are available today that enable sharing a DRAM memory between two chips for data and programs. These standards, called MIPI Low Latency Interface (MIPI LLI) and Chip-to-Chip (C2C), are primarily targeted at mobile phones, where a mobile phone’s modem usually requires its own discreet DRAM. With either C2C or MIPI LLI, the mobile phone... » read more

The High-Speed Virtual Highway


By Frank Ferro By now it’s safe to say that complex, high-speed design is no longer a riddle….at least in theory. We all know the end game. In its most fundamental form, isn’t it really a designer’s negotiation and compromise with the end user that comes down to action and reaction? We know users demand more and more applications to run simultaneously on their smart devices. We know... » read more

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