January 2014


The Next Big Threat: System Security


No SoC ever will be totally secure, and no technology will stop experienced thieves who really want to get into a device. But chipmakers and IP companies are examining ways to at least make it more difficult—and at least in theory, far less lucrative. One big change, of course, is that a connected electronic ecosystem has made location irrelevant. In the past, crime was limited to where th... » read more

Fixing The Patent System


Yesterday I published an article that looked at the state of the [getkc id="16" comment="patent"] system in the U.S. and the changes that may happen when the Supreme Court hears the case of Alice Corp. and CLS Bank International. A ruling from the Supreme Court may serve to clarify the bounds of what is and is not patentable when it comes to areas such as business methods, financial systems and... » read more

The Week In Review: System-Level Design


ARM and its ecosystem teamed up to create a server platform standard based on the ARMv8-A processor. The new Server Base System Architecture specification leverages a broad swath of companies in ARM’s ecosystem, including Microsoft, Red Hat, SUSE, Linaro, Citrix, AMD, Broadcom, Citrix and Cavium, as well as OEMs HP and Dell. ARM has been successful in leveraging an ecosystem to win the lion... » read more

Week In Review: Manufacturing, Design, Test


The technology of 3D "bioprinting" (the medical application of 3D printing to produce living tissue and organs) is advancing so quickly that it will spark a major ethical debate on its use by 2016, according to Gartner. At the same time, 3D printing of non-living medical devices such as prosthetic limbs, combined with a burgeoning population and insufficient levels of healthcare in emerging mar... » read more

The Perilous Path From Technology To Product


I spend a lot of my time talking to people about technology and about bringing technology products to market. Along the way I find myself regularly discussing three common dilemmas that technologists have, and in this post I wanted to share those with you. On to the three topics: 1) It’s not about technology. More correctly I should say it’s not just about technology. The trend set by... » read more

A Different Kind Of Sales Job


For years EDA companies have been pitching the benefits of ESL tools and high-level modeling, and for just as many years chipmakers have been throwing that idea back at tools vendors saying it’s too expensive to retool. Talks between the two have waffled between polite bickering and contentious negotiations. Chipmakers have approached these “talks” from the stronger bargaining position... » read more

What You Can Learn From Robots


My sons are in the robotics club at their high school. They program a small robot to perform simple tasks to score points in a competition. It’s a great way for them to learn about embedded systems and stimulate their interest in technology. While looking for ways to help them improve their understanding of embedded systems we started going through some of the online material, one of the c... » read more

The Uncertain Future Of Fabless Semis


As with most things, perspective is everything, this is especially true when it comes to changes in the semiconductor ecosystem. Some industry watchers say indicators clearly point to a shift happening where system OEMs again make the decisions about what is in a chip, both software and hardware, pointing to Apple, Samsung, Microsoft and Intel as prime examples. As a result, the fabless semicon... » read more

Patents Under Scrutiny


After years of complaints by high-tech companies that the U.S. patent system is misused, too slow or completely outdated, patent attorneys are about to get their day in court. The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to review an appeal between Alice Corp., an electronic marketplace for trading IP, and CLS Bank International, involving what kinds of inventions can be patented, according to the Supr... » read more

The Growing Verification Challenge


As complexity continues to mount in designing SoCs, so does the challenge of verifying them within the same time window and using the same compute and engineering resources. Chipmakers aren’t always successful at this. In many cases they have to put more engineers on the verification and debug at the tail end of a design to get it out the door on or close to schedule. In many cases that al... » read more

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