Author's Latest Posts


Wrestling With Variation In Advanced Node Designs


Variation is becoming a major headache at advanced nodes, and issues that used to be dealt with in the fab now must be dealt with on the design side, as well. What is fundamentally changing is that margin, which has long been used as a buffer for variation and other manufacturing process-related problems, no longer works in these leading-edge designs for a couple of reasons. First, margin im... » read more

Reducing Power At RTL


Power management and reduction at the register transfer level is becoming more problematic as more heterogeneous elements are added into advanced designs and more components are dependent on interactions with other components. This has been a growing problem in leading-edge designs for the past couple of process nodes, but similar issues have begun creeping into less-sophisticated designs as... » read more

Uses, Limits And Questions For FPGAs In Autos


Programmable logic in automotive applications is essential, given the parade of almost constant updates and shifts in direction, but exactly where the technology will be used has become a moving target. This isn't entirely surprising in the automotive industry. Carmakers are moving into electrification and increasing levels of automation in fits and starts, sometimes with dramatic swings in ... » read more

Design For Airborne Electronics


The Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen), an FAA-led modernization of America's air transportation system meant to make flying more efficient, predictable and safer, is currently underway as one of the most ambitious infrastructure projects in U.S. history. This is not just a minor upgrade to an aging infrastructure. The FAA and partners are in the process of implementing new ... » read more

Making Sure RISC-V Designs Work As Expected


The RISC-V instruction set architecture is attracting attention across a wide swath of markets, but making sure devices based on the RISC-V ISA work as expected is proving as hard, if not harder, than other commercially available ISA-based chips. The general consensus is that open source lacks the safety net of commercially available IP and tools. Characterization tends to be generalized, ra... » read more

Non-Volatile Memory Tradeoffs Intensify


Non-volatile memory is becoming more complicated at advanced nodes, where price, speed, power and utilization are feeding into some very application-specific tradeoffs about where to place that memory. NVM can be embedded into a chip, or it can be moved off chip with various types of interconnect technology. But that decision is more complicated than it might first appear. It depends on the ... » read more

Priorities Shift In IC Design


The rush to the edge and new applications around AI are causing a shift in design strategies toward the highest performance per watt, rather than the highest performance or lowest power. This may sound like hair-splitting, but it has set a scramble in motion around how to process more data more quickly without just relying on faster processors and accelerators. Several factors are driving th... » read more

Auto Industry Shifts Gears On Where Data Gets Processed


In-vehicle processing is becoming a major challenge in automotive electronics due to the massive amount of data being generated by sensors — especially cameras — and the rapid response time required to avoid accidents. The initial idea that all data could be sent to the cloud for processing has been shelved, most likely permanently. In its place is a growing recognition that data needs t... » read more

Open Source Hardware Risks


Open-source hardware is gaining attention on a variety of fronts, from chiplets and the underlying infrastructure to the ecosystems required to support open-source and hybrid open-source and proprietary designs. Open-source development is hardly a new topic. It has proven to be a successful strategy in the Linux world, but far less so on the hardware side. That is beginning to change, fueled... » read more

Improving Algorithms With High-Level Synthesis


Most computer algorithms today are developed in high-level languages on general-purpose computers. But someday they may be deployed in embedded systems where the development, verification, and validation of algorithms is done in languages like python, Java, C++, or even numerical frameworks like MatLab. This is the goal of high-level synthesis (HLS), and it aims to solve a fundamental proble... » read more

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