Author's Latest Posts


Utilizing More Data To Improve Chip Design


Just about every step of the IC tool flow generates some amount of data. But certain steps generate a mind-boggling amount of data, not all of which is of equal value. The challenge is figuring out what's important for which parts of the design flow. That determines what to extract and loop back to engineers, and when that needs to be done in order to improve the reliability of increasingly com... » read more

The Growing Challenge Of Thermal Guard-Banding


Guard-banding for heat is becoming more difficult as chips are used across a variety of new and existing applications, forcing chipmakers to architect their way through increasingly complex interactions. Chips are designed to operate at certain temperatures, and it is common practice to develop designs with some margin to ensure correct functionality and performance throughout the operat... » read more

Memory Tradeoffs Intensify in AI, Automotive Applications


The push to do more processing at the edge is putting a strain on memory design, use models and configurations, leading to some complex tradeoffs in designs across a variety of markets. The problem is these architectures are evolving alongside these new markets, and it isn't always clear how data will move across these chips, between devices, and between systems. Chip architectures are becom... » read more

How To Build An Automotive Chip


The introduction of advanced electronics into automotive design is causing massive disruption in a supply chain that, until very recently, hummed along like a finely tuned sports car. The rapid push toward autonomous driving has changed everything. This year, Level 3 autonomy will begin hitting the streets, and behind the scenes, work is underway to design SoCs for Level 4. But how these chi... » read more

The Other Side Of Makimoto’s Wave


Custom hardware is undergoing a huge resurgence across a variety of new applications, pushing the semiconductor industry to the other side of Makimoto's Wave. Tsugio Makimoto, the technologist who identified the chip industry’s 10-year cyclical swings between standardization and customization, predicted there always will be room in ASICs for general-purpose processors. But it's becoming mo... » read more

The Problem With Post-Silicon Debug


Semiconductor engineers traditionally have focused on trying to create 'perfect' GDSII at tape-out, but factors such as hardware-software interactions, increasingly heterogeneous designs, and the introduction of AI are forcing companies to rethink that approach. In the past, chipmakers typically banked on longer product cycles and multiple iterations of silicon to identify problems. This no ... » read more

Partitioning Drives Architectural Considerations


Semiconductor Engineering sat down to explore 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

Using AI Data For Security


Artificial intelligence is migrating from the cloud to IoT edge devices. Now the question is how to apply that same technology to protect data and identify abnormal activity in those devices and the systems connected to them. This is a complex problem because AI is being used on multiple fronts in this battle, as well as for multiple purposes. The technology has advanced to the point where e... » read more

Adapting Mobile To A Post-Moore’s Law Era


The slowdown in Moore's Law is having a big impact on chips designed for the mobile market, where battery-powered devices need to still improve performance with lower power. This hasn't slowed down performance or power improvements, but it has forced chipmakers and systems companies to approach designs differently. And while feature shrinks will continue for the foreseeable future, they are ... » read more

Using Memory Differently


Chip architects are beginning to rewrite the rules on how to choose, configure and use different types of memory, particularly for chips with AI and some advanced SoCs. Chipmakers now have a number of options and tradeoffs to consider when choosing memories, based on factors such as the application and the characteristics of the memory workload, because different memory types work better tha... » read more

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