Author's Latest Posts


The Challenge Of Defining Worst Case


Worst case conditions within a chip are impossible to define. But what happens if you missed a corner case that causes chip failure? As the semiconductor market becomes increasingly competitive — startups and systems companies are now competing with established chipmakers — no one can afford to consider theoretical worst cases. Instead, they must intelligently prune the space to make sur... » read more

Speeding Up 3D Design


2.5D and 3D designs have garnered a lot of attention recently, but when should these solutions be considered and what are the dangers associated with them? Each new packaging option trades off one set of constraints and problems for a different set, and in some cases the gains may not be worth it. For other applications, they have no choice. The tooling in place today makes it possible to de... » read more

Migrating 3D Into The Mainstream


Semiconductor Engineering sat down to discuss changes required throughout the ecosystem to support three-dimensional (3D) chip design with Norman Chang, chief technologist for ANSYS' Semiconductor Business Unit; John Park, product management director for IC packaging and cross-platform solutions at Cadence; John Ferguson, director of marketing for DRC applications at Mentor, a Siemens Business;... » read more

Rapid Evolution For Verification Plans


Verification plans are rapidly evolving from mechanisms to track verification progress into multi-faceted coordination vehicles for several teams with disparate goals, using complex resource management spread across multiple abstractions and tools. New system demands from industries such as automotive are forcing tighter integration of those plans with requirements management and product lif... » read more

Abstract Verification


Verification relies on a separation of concerns. Otherwise the task has no end. Sometimes we do it without thinking, but as an industry, we have never managed to fully define it such that it can become an accepted and trusted methodology. This becomes particularly true when we bring abstraction into the picture. A virtual prototype is meant to be true to behavior, but there could be timing d... » read more

Utilizing Computational Memory


For systems to become faster and consume less power, they must stop wasting the power required to move data around and start adding processing near memory. This approach has been proven, and products are entering the marketplace designed to fill a number of roles. Processing near memory, also known as computational memory, has been hiding in the shadows for more than a decade. Ever since the... » read more

Extending Portable Stimulus


It has been a year since Accellera's Portable Test and Stimulus Specification became a standard. Semiconductor Engineering sat down to discuss the impact it has had, and the future direction of it, with Larry Melling, product management director for Cadence; Tom Fitzpatrick, strategic verification architect for Mentor, a Siemens Business; Tom Anderson, technical marketing consultant for OneSpin... » read more

Pushing Memory Harder


In an optimized system, no component is waiting for another component while there is useful work to be done. Unfortunately, this is not the case with the processor/memory interface. Put simply, memory cannot keep up. Accessing memory is slow, and it can consume a significant fraction of the power budget. And the general consensus is this problem is not going away anytime soon, despite effort... » read more

Focus Shifts To Wasted Power


Mobile phones made the industry aware of power, but now the focus is shifting to the total energy needed to perform a task. Activity that is unnecessary to perform the intended task is wasted power, and reducing it requires some new methodologies and structural changes within development teams. There is a broadening awareness about power. "The companies doing SoCs for mobile lead the charge ... » read more

Solving The Memory Bottleneck


Chipmakers are scrambling to solve the bottleneck between processor and memory, and they are turning out new designs based on different architectures at a rate no one would have anticipated even several months ago. At issue is how to boost performance in systems, particularly those at the edge, where huge amounts of data need to be processed locally or regionally. The traditional approach ha... » read more

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