Author's Latest Posts


Dealing With Deadlocks


Deadlocks are becoming increasingly problematic as designs becoming more complex and heterogeneous. Rather than just integrating IP, the challenge is understanding all of the possible interactions and dependencies. That affects the choice of IP, how it is implemented in a design, and how it is verified. And it adds a whole bunch of unknowns into an already complex formula for return on inves... » read more

System Bits: Oct. 24


Optical communication on silicon chips With the huge increase in computing performance in recent decades achieved by squeezing ever more transistors into a tighter space on microchips, at the same time this downsizing has also meant packing the wiring within microprocessors ever more tightly together. This has led to effects such as signal leakage between components, which can slow down commun... » read more

System Bits: Oct. 17


Piezoelectric, ingestible sensors With an aim to help doctors diagnose gastrointestinal disorders that slow down the passage of food through the digestive tract, MIT and Brigham and Women’s Hospital researchers have built a flexible sensor that can be rolled up and swallowed. Once ingested, the sensor adheres to the stomach wall or intestinal lining, where it can measure the rhythmic con... » read more

New Power Concerns At 10/7nm


As chip sizes and complexity continues to grow exponentially at 7nm and below, managing power is becoming much more difficult. There are a number of factors that come into play at advanced nodes, including more and different types of processors, more chip-package decisions, and more susceptibility to noise of all sorts due to thinner insulation layers and wires. The result is that engineers ... » read more

The Evolving Data Center


Confession time. In addition to being utterly fascinated by all things chip design, I have always been absolutely enthralled by the magnificent data center. With a family member that has worked in them for most of his career, I can recalled being delighted to be amongst the racks in a second floor data center in Palo Alto in the early 90s. Time to time throughout my career it’s been thrilling... » read more

Data Centers Turn To New Memories


DRAM extensions and alternatives are starting to show up inside of data centers as the volume of data being processed, stored and accessed continues to skyrocket. This is having a big impact on the architecture of data centers, where the goal now is to move processing much closer to the data and to reduce latency everywhere. Memory has always been a key piece of the Von Neumann compute archi... » read more

Improving Yield, Reliability With Data


Big data techniques for sorting through massive amounts of data to identify aberrations are beginning to find a home in semiconductor manufacturing, fueled by new requirements in safety-critical markets such as automotive as well as the rising price of packaged chips in smartphones. Outlier detection—the process of finding data points outside the normal distribution—isn't a new idea. It ... » read more

System Bits: Oct. 10


Fast-moving magnetic particles for data storage According to MIT researchers, an exotic kind of magnetic behavior discovered just a few years ago holds great promise as a way of storing data — one that could overcome fundamental limits that might otherwise be signaling the end of Moore’s Law. Rather than reading and writing data one bit at a time by changing the orientation of magnetize... » read more

Testing Autonomous Vehicles


After I wrote last month about my concerns about the pending legislation that appears to relax safety regulations for autonomous vehicles being tested on public roads, it seems I am not alone and some safety groups have also expressed concern. Of course, the promise of autonomous driving is exciting and will absolutely save lives — when the technology and infrastructure are ready — there... » read more

System Bits: Oct. 3


Polariton graphs In a development that a team of researchers from the UK and Russia say could eventually surpass the capabilities of even the most powerful supercomputers, a type of ‘magic dust’ — which combines light and matter — can be used to solve complex problems. Hailing from the University of Cambridge, University of Southampton and Cardiff University in the UK and the Skolk... » read more

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