March 2016


EDAC Changes Name


The EDA Consortium today changed its name to the Electronic System Design Alliance, a move that expands the group's charter to reflect shifts that have been underway in the chip design world for some time. Those shifts include the growth in IP and an increased focus on software development. Classic EDA, from place and route to synthesis to back-end debug and verification, are still very much... » read more

Many Paths To Hafnium Oxide


Equipment and materials suppliers often talk about the fragmentation of integrated circuit processing. While the number of manufacturers has gone down, the diversity of the underlying semiconductor market has increased. Low-power processors for mobile devices, non-volatile memory for solid state disks, and dedicated graphics processors all have different requirements from the traditional ind... » read more

Where Is Next-Gen Lithography?


Semiconductor Engineering sat down to discuss lithography and photomask technologies with Greg McIntyre, director of the Advanced Patterning Department at [getentity id="22217" comment="Imec"]; Harry Levinson, senior fellow and senior director of technology research at [getentity id="22819" comment="GlobalFoundries"]; Uday Mitra, vice president and head of strategy and marketing for the Etch Bu... » read more

Managing ALD Effluent


Process designers tend to not think very much about the waste gases from their processes. The chamber exhaust sends the effluent gases to the fab scrubbers, and that is pretty much that. Except when it’s not. It turns out that the design of the ALD process can make life significantly more challenging for the chamber exhaust pumps. In atomic layer deposition, the first precursor gas, su... » read more

What Cognitive Computing Means For Chip Design


Cognitive computing. Artificial intelligence. Machine learning. All of these are concepts aim to make human types of problems computable, whether it be a self-driving car, a health care-providing robot, or a walking and talking assistant robot for the home or office. R&D teams around the world are working to create a whole new world of machines more intelligent than humans. Designing sys... » read more

Blog Review: March 30


Are we in a new wave of formal? Mentor's Joe Hupcey III highlights several things from DVCon that indicate formal is becoming a cornerstone of mainstream verification flows. Synopsys' Graham Etchells continues his search for more ways to bring greater efficiency to the FinFET layout process, and the downsides to custom routing solutions. Cadence's Paul McLellan takes a look at TSMC's rapi... » read more

System Bits: March 29


Cryptographic system for controlling app access to data Researchers at MIT and Harvard University are hoping to change the fact that users of smartphones have no idea which data items their apps are collecting, where they’re stored, and if they’re stored securely with an application they’ve developed called Sieve. With Sieve, a Web user would store all personal data, in encrypted form... » read more

Manufacturing Bits: March 29


Brain-inspired computing Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) has purchased a brain-inspired supercomputing platform for deep learning developed by IBM Research. Based on a neurosynaptic computer chip called IBM TrueNorth, the scalable platform will process the equivalent of 16 million neurons and 4 billion synapses. It will consume the energy equivalent of a tablet computer. ... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: March 29


Photonic-phononic circuit Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) developed a piezo-optomechanical circuit that converts signals among optical, acoustic and radio waves. At the heart of the piezoelectric optomechanical circuit is an optomechanical cavity, which consists of a suspended nanoscale beam. Within the beam are a series of holes that act like a ha... » read more

RTL Done And Other Bogus Development Milestones


My definition of progress has changed over the years. I don’t think about it much anymore but it was obvious in a talk I gave a few weeks ago to a diverse group of hardware developers. Part of that talk centered around how we define progress in design and verification. This is a normal thing for me; I was speaking to slides I’d used several times before and the message was no different than... » read more

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