November 2012


Remaking The Playing Field


Just a week ago the battle lines looked very well defined. ARM was fighting Intel on power, and Intel was fighting ARM on performance. One week later, ARM has cemented a deal with AMD, which will use its cores in future processors running Microsoft software. Imagination Technologies is buying MIPS, which presumably it will use to go after both ARM and Intel. And Intel has a stake in Imaginat... » read more

To Shrink Or Not To Shrink…And How Much?


By Ann Steffora Mutschler The 28nm semiconductor manufacturing node is in full swing with 20nm process development ramping quickly. As such, the industry has been looking ahead to the next node shrink to achieve the power, performance and cost advantages that a node shrink promises. However, as we are well aware by now, traditional CMOS planar technology is not scaling as it did in previous ge... » read more

MEMS Goes Mainstream


By Cheryl Coupé Micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) are well known for enabling innovative capabilities for devices that range from vehicles and gaming to smartphones and tablets—and increasingly in personal health and fitness, security, and environmental applications. As stacked die become more popular, they also will become part of the integration challenge that chipmakers will wrestle... » read more

Engineering Change Orders Revisited


By Ed Sperling The perennial nightmare of the marketing head reporting that a customer will buy a design—but only if it fits into a specific power envelope or has better performance or I/O—is all too familiar to engineering teams. In theory, using more third-party IP should help alleviate this problem because the IP can be changed out relatively easily. The reality, though, is that it... » read more

Prototyping Now A ‘Must Have’


By Ann Steffora Mutschler No longer a ‘nice to have,’ FPGA-based prototyping is now indispensible for SoC and ASIC development. Semiconductor companies are investing in the infrastructure, the EDA tool chain, the human resources and everything needed to set up an entire department to focus on prototyping, emulation and validation. “We are seeing these customers invest in significant a... » read more

Experts At The Table: SoC Verification


By Ed Sperling System-Level Design sat down to discuss the challenges of verification with Frank Schirrmeister, group director for product marketing of the System Development Suite at Cadence; Charles Janac, chairman and CEO of Arteris, Venkat Iyer, CTO of Uniquify; and Adnan Hamid, CEO of Breker Verification Systems. What follows are excerpts of that discussion. SLD: As we get more third-... » read more

Traveling Light


By Nithya Ruff I recently attended the Embedded Linux Conference in Barcelona representing Synopsys. I must admit, it is nice to have conferences in beautiful places so you can kill two birds with one stone. When not networking, speaking or sitting in sessions, I enjoyed seeing the beauty of Antoni Gaudi’s architecture, some great vegetarian restaurants like Juicy Jones and, of course, I enj... » read more

Open IP Development Tools


By Pascal Chauvet How much time have you wasted trying to understand software tools by deciphering the logic of their creator? I always find it very frustrating to be limited by features and tool capabilities that do not do exactly what I want, or which do not work at all with my other applications. We are engineers! We can learn and adapt, but we often want to be able to extend and improve th... » read more

Show Me


By Jon McDonald Many people—engineers especially, myself included—are naturally biased against change. To get an organization to change takes significant energy. This isn’t a new trend. Much of the sentiment of the camp against change can be summed up by referring back to an 1899 quote from Missouri Sen. Willard Vandiver: “… frothy eloquence neither convinces nor satisfies me. I am f... » read more

Parallel Universes


There are no rules for knowing when to step out of the box. Good timing is everything, and that may have been one of the greatest talents of the late Steve Jobs. Knowing when, in Apple’s terminology, to “Think Different,” is every bit as important as the act of thinking differently—particularly when you realize that most of Apple’s big wins since the iPod stormed onto the consumer ele... » read more

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