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A New Year’s Wish


Every year I run a predictions article. It is a mashup of ideas from many people within the industry, and while many predictions are somewhat self-serving, there are other which come more from the heart — or perhaps they are dreams rather than expectations. I see hope in some of those, particularly the ones that look toward sustainability within our industry, and of our industry. Just like... » read more

Power Issues Causing More Respins At 7nm And Below


Power consumption has been a major design consideration for some time, but it is far from being a solved issue. In fact, an increasing number of designs have a plethora of power-related problems, and those problems are getting worse in new chip designs. Many designs today are power-limited — or perhaps more accurately stated, thermal-limited. A chip only can consume as much power as it is ... » read more

What Does 2023 Have In Store For Chip Design?


Predictions seem to be easier to make during times of stability, but they are no more correct than at any other period. During more turbulent times, fewer people are courageous enough to allow their opinions to be heard. And yet it is often those views that are more well thought through, and even if they turn out not to be true, they often contain some very enlightening ideas. 2022 saw some ... » read more

Selecting The Right RISC-V Core


With an increasing number of companies interested in devices based on the RISC-V ISA, and a growing number of cores, accelerators, and infrastructure components being made available, either commercially or in open-source form, end users face an increasingly difficult challenge of ensuring they make the best choices. Each user likely will have a set of needs and concerns that almost equals th... » read more

Design And Verification Methodologies Breaking Down


Tools, methodologies and flows that have been in place since the dawn of semiconductor design are breaking down, but this time there isn't a large pool of researchers coming up with potential solutions. The industry is on its own to formulate those ideas, and that will take a lot of cooperation between EDA companies, fabs, and designers, which has not been their strong point in the past. It ... » read more

Readership Explosion


Every year, I use my last blog of the year to look back over the stories that have been published in the Systems and Design and Low Power-High Performance channels — the two channels that I write for — at Semiconductor Engineering. I am looking for the most read stories. I do this for a number of reasons, such as trying to gauge if readers' interests are changing, and the preferred type and... » read more

Adapting To Broad Shifts Essential In 2022


Change creates opportunity, but not every company is able to respond quickly enough to take advantage of those opportunities. Others may respond too quickly, before they properly understand the implications. At the start of a typical year, optimism is in plentiful supply. Any positive trend is seen as continuing, and any negative is seen as turning around. Normally the later in the year that... » read more

Challenges With Adaptive Control


Historically, the performance and power consumption of a system was controlled by what could be done at design time, but chips today are becoming a lot more adaptive. This has become a necessity for cutting edge nodes, but also provides a lot of additional benefits at the expense of greater complexity and verification challenges. Design margins are a tradeoff between performance and yield. C... » read more

The Politics Of Standards


Standards often are seen as an industry coming together to agree upon a common solution to a common problem, but there are times when this could not be further from the truth. Having been involved in standards at all levels — from participant to chair for several standards — some were successful, some were not, some are seeing significant adoption while others are withering by the wayside, ... » read more

Is UCIe Really Universal?


Chiplets are rapidly becoming the means to overcome the slowing of Moore's Law, but whether one interface is capable of joining them all together isn't clear yet. The Universal Chiplet Interconnect Express (UCIe) believes it will work, but some in the industry remain unconvinced. At least part of the problem is that interconnect standards are never truly finished. Even today, the protocols tha... » read more

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