Author's Latest Posts

Verification Tools Straining To Keep Up

Verification engineers are the unsung heroes of the semiconductor industry, but they are at a breaking point and desperately in need of modern tools and flows to deal with the rapidly increasing pressures. Verification is no longer just about ensuring that functionality is faithfully represented in an implementation. That alone is an insolvable task, but verification has taken on many new re... » read more

The Value Of Innovation

This week's Design Automation Conference is all about the new things that are going on in the industry, both challenges and opportunities. By this time this blog goes live, I will have moderated a panel about why EDA has not been open to disruption. While preparing for that, a number of thoughts emerged in my mind. First, we have to remember that EDA is a business whose role is to support th... » read more

Data Coherence Across Silos And Hierarchy

Shift left has become a rallying cry for the chip design industry, but unless coherent data can flow between the groups being impacted, the value may not be as great as expected. Shift left is a term that encompasses attempts to bring analysis and decision-making forward in the development process. The earlier an issue can be found, the less of a problem it ultimately becomes. But in many ca... » read more

When To Expect Domain-Specific AI Chips

The chip industry is moving toward domain-specific computation, while artificial intelligence (AI) is moving in the opposite direction, creating a gap that could force significant changes in how chips and systems are architected in the future. Behind this split is the amount of time it takes to design hardware and software. In the 18 months since ChatGPT was launched on the world, there has ... » read more

DAC Panel Could Spark Fireworks

Panels can often become love fests. While a title may sound controversial, it turns out that everyone quickly finds that all the panelists agree on the major points. This is sometimes the result of how the panel was put together – the proposal came from one company, and they wanted to get their customers or clients onto the panel. They are unlikely to ask a major competitor to be part of the ... » read more

RISC-V Heralds New Era Of Cooperation

RISC-V is paving the way for open source to become accepted within the hardware community, creating a level of industry collaboration never seen in the past, while revitalizing the connection between academia and industry. The big question is whether this arrangement is just a placeholder while the industry re-learns how to develop processors, or whether this processor architecture is someth... » read more

Trouble Ahead For IC Verification

Verification complexity is roughly the square of design complexity, but until recently verification success rates have remained fairly consistent. That's beginning to change. There are troubling signs that verification is collapsing under the load. The first-time success rate fell (see figure 1) in the last survey conducted by Wilson Research, on behalf of Siemens EDA, in 2022. A new survey ... » read more

Will Domain-Specific ICs Become Ubiquitous?

Questions are surfacing for all types of design, ranging from small microcontrollers to leading-edge chips, over whether domain-specific design will become ubiquitous, or whether it will fall into the historic pattern of customization first, followed by lower-cost, general-purpose components. Custom hardware always has been a double-edged sword. It can provide a competitive edge for chipmake... » read more

Can Models Created With AI Be Trusted?

EDA models that are created using AI need to pass more stringent quality and cost benefit analysis compared to many AI applications in the broader industry. Money is hanging on the line if AI gets it wrong, and all the associated costs must be factored into the equation. Models are some of the most expensive things a development team can create, and it is important to understand the value th... » read more

Is There Any Hope For Asynchronous Design?

In an era when power has become a fundamental design constraint, questions persist about whether asynchronous logic has a role to play. It is a design style said to have significant benefits and yet has never resulted in more than a few experiments. Synchronous design utilizes a clock, where the clock frequency is set by the longest and slowest path in the design. That includes potential var... » read more

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