Author's Latest Posts


Re-architecting Hardware For Energy


A lot of effort has gone into the power optimization of a system based on the RTL created, but that represents a small fraction of the possible power and energy that could be saved. The industry's desire to move to denser systems is being constrained by heat, so there is an increasing focus on re-architecting systems to reduce the energy consumed per useful function performed. Making signifi... » read more

Why There Are Still No Commercial 3D-ICs


Building chips in three dimensions is drawing increased attention and investment, but so far there have been no announcements about commercial 3D-IC chips. There are some fundamental problems that must be overcome and new tools that need to be developed. In contrast, the semiconductor industry is becoming fairly comfortable with 2.5D integration, where individual dies are assembled on some k... » read more

EDA Back On Investors’ Radar


EDA is transforming from a staid but strategic sector into a hot investment market, fueled by strong earnings and growth, a clamoring for leading-edge and increasingly customized designs across new and existing markets, and the rollout of advanced technologies such as AI for a range of tools that will be needed to develop new architectures with much greater performance per watt. A confluence... » read more

Respect? Confused


In a recent story, I talked about how EDA has gained respect in the financial markets, which is something it has failed to do for decades. EDA, in the eyes of Wall Street, had become a plodder through good times and bad, failing to achieve the growth shown by semiconductor companies or foundries, or the rapid rise to glory of other software companies. Of course, it never experienced the same de... » read more

Chip Industry Silos Are Crimping Advances


Change is never easy, but it is more difficult when it involves organizational restructuring. The pace of such restructuring has been increasing over the past decade, and often it is more difficult to incorporate than technological advancements. This is due to the siloed nature of the semiconductor industry, both within the industry itself, and its relationship to surrounding industries. Inc... » read more

RISC-V Micro-Architectural Verification


RISC-V processors are garnering a lot of attention due to their flexibility and extensibility, but without an efficient and effective verification strategy, buggy implementations may lead to industry problems. Prior to RISC-V, processor verification almost became a lost art for most semiconductor companies. Expertise was condensed into the few commercial companies that provided processors or... » read more

What You Needed To Know In 2023


I always use the last blog of the year to review everything published in the Systems & Design and Low Power – High Performance channels of Semiconductor Engineering, the two channels that I write for. It is useful to see what interests you and, as I have found in the past, it is an indicator of where the industry is going. You read about the issues you are facing as designers, and you nee... » read more

2023: A Good Year For Semiconductors


Looking back, 2023 has had more than its fair share of surprises, but who were the winners and losers? The good news is that by the end of the year, almost everyone was happy. That is not how we exited 2022, where there was overcapacity, inventories had built up in many parts of the industry, and few sectors — apart from data centers — were seeing much growth. The supposed new leaders we... » read more

Data Formats For Inference On The Edge


AI/ML training traditionally has been performed using floating point data formats, primarily because that is what was available. But this usually isn't a viable option for inference on the edge, where more compact data formats are needed to reduce area and power. Compact data formats use less space, which is important in edge devices, but the bigger concern is the power needed to move around... » read more

The Good Old Days Of EDA


Nostalgia is wonderful, but there is something about being involved in the formative years of an industry. Few people ever get to experience it, and it was probably one of the most fortuitous events to have happened in my life. Back in the early '80s, little in the way of design automation existed. There were a few gate- and transistor-level simulators, primarily for test and a few 'calculators... » read more

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