Author's Latest Posts


Increase In Analog Problems


Analog and mixed signal design has always been tough, but a resent survey suggests that the industry has seen significantly increased failures in the past year because the analog circuitry within an ASIC was out of tolerance. What is causing this spike in failures? Is it just a glitch in the data, or are these problems real? The answer is complicated, and to a large extent it depends heavily... » read more

Searching For Power Bugs


How much power is your design meant to consume while performing a particular function? For many designs, getting this right may separate success from failure, but knowing that right number is not as easy as it sounds. Significant gaps remain between what power analysis may predict and what silicon consumes. As fast as known gaps are closed, new challenges and demands are being placed on the ... » read more

Optimizing What Exactly?


You can't optimize something without understanding it. While we inherently understand what this means, we are often too busy implementing something to stop and think about it. Some people may not even be sure what it is that they should be optimizing and that makes it very difficult to know if you have been successful. This was a key message delivered by Professor David Patterson at the Embedde... » read more

Have Processor Counts Stalled?


Survey data suggests that additional microprocessor cores are not being added into SoCs, but you have to dig into the numbers to find out what is really going on. The reasons are complicated. They include everything from software programming models to market shifts and new use cases. So while the survey numbers appear to be flat, market and technology dynamics could have a big impact in resh... » read more

Productivity Keeping Pace With Complexity


Designs have become larger and more complex and yet design time has shortened, but team sizes remain essentially flat. Does this show that productivity is keeping pace with complexity for everyone? The answer appears to be yes, at least for now, for a multitude of reasons. More design and IP reuse is using more and larger IP blocks and subsystems. In addition, the tools are improving, and mo... » read more

Integrity Problems For Edge Devices


Battery-powered edge devices need to save every picojoule of energy they can, which often means running at very low voltages. This can create signal and power integrity issues normally seen at the very latest technology nodes. But because these tend to be lower-volume, lower-cost devices, developers often cannot afford to perform the same level of analysis on these devices. Noise can come in... » read more

Is DVFS Worth The Effort?


Almost all designs have become power-aware and are being forced to consider every power saving technique, but not all of them are yielding the expected results. Moreover, they can add significant complexity into designs, increasing the time it takes to get to tapeout and boosting up the cost. Dynamic voltage and frequency scaling (DVFS) is one such power and energy saving technique now being... » read more

Components For Open-Source Verification


Defining an open-source verification methodology is a lot more difficult than just developing an open-source simulator. This is the reality facing open-source hardware such as RISC-V. Some people may be asking for the corresponding open-source verification, but that is a much tougher problem — and it is not going to be solved in the short term. Part one examined the reasons why open-source... » read more

Confusion Persists In Verification Terms


I find it amazing that an area of technology that attempts to show, beyond a reasonable doubt, that a design will work before it is constructed can be so bad at getting some basic things right. I am talking about verification terminology. I have been in this industry for over 40 years and it is not improving. In fact, it is getting worse. The number of calls I have with people where they hav... » read more

The Evolution Of High-Level Synthesis


High-level synthesis is getting yet another chance to shine, this time from new markets and new technology nodes. But it's still unclear how fully this technology will be used. Despite gains, it remains unlikely to replace the incumbent RTL design methodology for most of the chip, as originally expected. Seen as the foundational technology for the next generation of EDA companies around the ... » read more

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