April 2016

The Week In Review: Manufacturing

Chipmakers IC Insights released its foundry rankings in terms of sales in 2015. TSMC was the leader with $26.4 billion in sales last year. Second ranked GlobalFoundries, which took over IBM’s IC business in 2015, made some gains. With IBM’s chip unit, GlobalFoundries’ quarterly sales in 4Q ‘15 were about $1.4 billion, an annual run-rate of $5.6 billion, about 12% greater than the compa... » read more

The Week In Review: Design/IoT

IP & Chips Synopsys debuted MIPI I3CSM controller IP, which incorporates in-band interrupts within the 2-wire interface to deliver low pin count. The IP supports all data rates up to 26.7 Mbps, dynamic address allocation, multi-master operations and 32-bit ARM AMBA Advanced Peripheral Bus slave interface. Marvell unveiled a family of Ethernet transceivers fully optimized for 2.5Gbps a... » read more

Cheap Money Effects

The mergers and acquisition activity that has reshaped the semiconductor industry over the past couple of years resembles a frenzy of acquisition activity that has occurred multiple times in previous boom years. But this round comes with a twist. It's being driven by historically low interest rates, which means it probably won't stop until interest rates rise and the cost of borrowing capital f... » read more

ESL Flow is Dead

It was 20 years ago that Gary Smith coined the term [getkc id="48" comment="Electronic System Level"] (ESL). He foresaw the next logical migration in abstraction up from the [getkc id="49" comment="Register Transfer Level"] (RTL) to something that would be capable of describing and building complex electronic systems. He also saw that the future of EDA depended upon who would control that marke... » read more

Way Too Much Data

Moving to the next process nodes will produce volumes more data, forcing chipmakers to adopt more expensive hardware to process and utilize that data, more end-to-end methodologies, as well as using tools and approaches that in the past were frequently considered optional. Moreover, where that data needs to be dealt with is changing as companies adopt a "shift left" approach to developing so... » read more

Bridging Hardware And Software

The barriers between hardware and software design and verification are breaking down with more intricately integrated systems, bringing together different disciplines and tools. But there are lingering questions about exactly what this shift means design methodologies, team interactions, and what kind of training will be required in the future. Playing heavily into this is the fact that toda... » read more

Making Way For Register Specification Software

No one gives much thought to the heating, ventilation and air conditioning registers in the house –– typically, two in each room, one for supply, the other for return. That is, until the lever in each needs to be manually adjusted to modulate the temperature to be hotter or colder, or the seasons change and the filters with them. Alas, registers in hardware design seem to have gotten the... » read more

The Early Bird Catches The Bug Using Formal

It has been suggested that formal might replace simulation, at least in some parts of the design flow. Not likely! The question is, how can formal be layered on top of simulation flows to improve coverage and schedule? The way formal is being used at the larger semiconductor companies is evolving. In many of these companies a small team of hardcore formal experts are employed across differen... » read more

System-Level Verification Tackles New Role

Wally Rhines, chairman and CEO of Mentor Graphics, gave the keynote at DVCon this year. He said that if you pull together a bunch of pre-verified IP blocks, it does not change the verification problem at the system level. That sounds like a problem. There are assumptions made that the IP blocks work to a reasonable degree, and that when performing system-level verification the focus is not a... » read more

Stories From The Village Called Hardware-Assisted Development

They say it takes a village to raise children and, as a dad of an 11-year-old girl, I can relate. Similarly, for system development and hardware-assisted verification, the overall ecosystem of users, use models, and partners is equally important. The recent CDNLive Silicon Valley event is a great example. The SoC and Hardware/Software track that my team and I were hosting featured NVIDIA, Netro... » read more

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