August 2015


Much Ado About Weakening Currency, China, And IoT


At the 10th annual SEMI/Gartner Market Symposium, keynoted by ARM’s Ian Ferguson, market analysts gathered to present their views on the current state of the industry. Several key themes emerged including weakening currency impact on the industry’s forecasts, China’s $20 billion Industry Fund, and the Internet of Things (IoT). Industry overview and trends were presented by Bob Johnson,... » read more

Making Hardware Design More Agile


Semiconductor engineering sat down to whether changes are needed in hardware design methodology, with Philip Gutierrez, ASIC/FPGA design manager in [getentity id="22306" comment="IBM"]'s FlashSystems Storage Group; Dennis Brophy, director of strategic business development at [getentity id="22017" e_name="Mentor Graphics"]; Frank Schirrmeister, group director for product marketing of the System ... » read more

Rethinking Differentiation


Differentiation is becoming more difficult, more time-consuming, and in some cases much more expensive for chipmakers. The traditional metrics of faster performance, lower power and less area/cost, which are leftovers from the PC era, no longer are a guarantee of success despite the fact that they are still baseline metrics for many designs. Even new metrics such as ecosystem completeness, w... » read more

The Week In Review: Manufacturing


NuFlare Technology wants to enter a new market. The e-beam giant and NGR are jointly collaborating on a development program for next-generation electron-beam wafer inspection and metrology. It’s unclear if NuFlare is developing a single- or multi-beam tool, however. Don’t look now, but a fab tool downturn could be on the horizon. This comes amid a slowdown in PCs, tablets and smartphone... » read more

The Week In Review: Design/IoT


M&A Tessera boosted its 2.5D and 3D-IC capabilities with the acquisition of Ziptronix. The $39 million cash purchase adds a low-temperature wafer bonding technology platform, which has been licensed to Sony for volume production of CMOS image sensors. Numbers Semico Research forecasts that the SoC market will approach $200 billion by 2019. According to its analysis, average die are... » read more

Getting Paid More


Consolidation is a regular news item in the semiconductor industry, and has been for years, but most of those deals have been relatively small. What's changing is the amount of consolidation involving big companies, fueled partly by a massive M&A fund in China, partly by an arms race in preparation for the IoE, and partly by the kind of thinking that if other companies are doing it, it's dan... » read more

Software Driving More Hardware Designs


The influence of software engineers is growing inside of chip and systems companies, reversing a decades-old trend of matching the software to the fastest or most power-efficient hardware and raising as-yet unanswered questions about what will change in SoC design. The shift is particularly evident in chips developed for high-volume markets such as mobile phones and tablets. It's also happen... » read more

Embedded Vision Becoming Ubiquitous


Embedded vision is becoming a topic of heated conversation thanks to the emergence of neural networks and their ability to make computer systems learn by example. Neural networks are a very different kind of processing element compared to the other kind of processors we have in the IP arsenal today in that they are not programmed in the same manner. They do not have a stream of instructions... » read more

The Trouble With Abstractions


Ask chip engineers about the value of abstractions and you're likely to get a spectrum of answers. While abstractions help in seeing the big picture on complex designs, the data for performance and power needs to be annotated from detailed information the engineering team may obtain later in the design flow. There is valuable information that can come from using abstractions correctly. And ... » read more

Electronics Butterfly Effect


Everyone has heard of the butterfly effect where a small change in a non-linear system can result in large difference in an outcome. For the past 40 years, the electronics industry has approximated a linear system, fed primarily by Moore’s Law. The incremental changes available at each new process node have led us to make incremental changes and improvements in many aspects of the design, its... » read more

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