Author's Latest Posts


What Is A Custom Processor?


Spurred by the latest cyclical development boom, the semiconductor industry is entering a new golden era of custom processors, but this time ‘custom processor’ means something different. A generation ago, every major semiconductor company had in-house processors: SuperH, PowerPC, V800, Alpha, MEP, Trimedia, etc., with some specializing more than others for particular domains. But industr... » read more

Determining Where Power Analysis Matters Most


How much accuracy is required in every stage of power analysis is becoming a subject of debate, as engineering teams wrestle with a mix of new architectures, different use cases and increasing pressure to get designs out on time. The question isn't whether power is a critical factor in designs anymore. That is a given. It is now about the most efficient way to tackle those issues, as well as... » read more

Are Digital Twins Something For EDA To Pursue?


‘Digital Twins’ are one of the new, fashionable key concepts for system developers, but do they fit with EDA? How many different types of engines do these twins run on – abstract simulation, signal-based RTL simulation, emulation, prototyping, actual silicon? What should the use models be called for digital twinning – like reproduction of bugs from silicon in emulation? Or optimizing th... » read more

Where Should Auto Sensor Data Be Processed?


Fully autonomous vehicles are coming, but not as quickly as the initial hype would suggest because there is a long list of technological issues that still need to be resolved. One of the basic problems that still needs to be solved is how to process the tremendous amount of data coming from the variety of sensors in the vehicle, including cameras, radar, LiDAR and sonar. That data is the dig... » read more

AI/ML’s Role In ADAS


Self-driving cars are headed this way, but not for a while. And that’s not a bad thing. As I discuss in my article, “Where Should Auto Sensor Data Be Processed?” there is still much to be worked out just on the technology side, such as how and where to process the significant amount of data coming into the vehicle from the outside world. [caption id="attachment_24152605" align="al... » read more

Hybrid Emulation Takes Center Stage


From mobile to networking to AI applications, system complexity shows no sign of slowing. These designs, which may contain multiple billion gates, must be validated, verified and tested, and it’s no longer possible to just throw the whole thing in a hardware emulator. For some time, emulation, FPGA-based prototyping, and virtual environments such as simulators have given design and verific... » read more

Partitioning Drives Architectural Considerations


Semiconductor Engineering sat down to discuss partitioning with Raymond Nijssen, vice president of system engineering at Achronix; Andy Ladd, CEO at Baum; Dave Kelf, chief marketing officer at Breker; Rod Metcalfe, product management group director in the Digital & Signoff Group at Cadence; Mark Olen, product marketing group manager at Mentor, a Siemens Business; Tom Anderson, technical mar... » read more

Low-Power Design Becomes Even More Complex


Throughout the SoC design flow, there has been a tremendous amount of research done to ease the pain of managing a long list of power-related issues. And while headway has been made, the addition of new application areas such as AI/ML/DL, automotive and IoT has raised as many new problems as have been solved. The challenges are particularly acute at leading-edge nodes where devices are power... » read more

Debate Over Health Of Moore’s Law Continues


Semicon West 2019 was kicked off by the ‘AI Design Forum’ and featured a panel of CEOs that debated if Moore’s Law was still making power, performance and area optimization possible in the same way as it had been. Synopsys chairman and co-CEO Aart de Geus asserted that Moore’s Law is completely alive. “The discussion of Moore's Laws invariably goes back to the ‘65 document, and t... » read more

HW/SW Design At The Intelligent Edge


Adding intelligence to the edge is a lot more difficult than it might first appear, because it requires an understanding of what gets processed where based on assumptions about what the edge actually will look like over time. What exactly falls under the heading of Intelligent Edge varies from one person to the next, but all agree it goes well beyond yesterday’s simple sensor-based IoT dev... » read more

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