Author's Latest Posts


Will Open-Source EDA Work?


Open-source EDA is back on the semiconductor industry's agenda, spurred by growing interest in open-source hardware. But whether the industry embraces the idea with enough enthusiasm to make it successful is not clear yet. One of the key sponsors of this effort is the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which is spearheading a number of programs to lower the cost of chip ... » read more

5G Drives New Test Approaches


Test/validation providers are claiming steady progress in the race to deliver 5G network components that support millimeter-wave as well as lower-frequency networks. Going from a state of no existing off-the-shelf test equipment suitable for 5G standalone new radio (NR), test companies are introducing equipment that can handle mmWave component testing on a limited scale. 5G is a next-generat... » read more

Accelerating Endpoint Inferencing


Chipmakers are getting ready to debut inference chips for endpoint devices, even though the rest of the machine-learning ecosystem has yet to be established. Whatever infrastructure does exist today is mostly in the cloud, on edge-computing gateways, or in company-specific data centers, which most companies continue to use. For example, Tesla has its own data center. So do most major carmake... » read more

Machine Learning Drives High-Level Synthesis Boom


High-level synthesis (HLS) is experiencing a new wave of popularity, driven by its ability to handle machine-learning matrices and iterative design efforts. The obvious advantage of HLS is the boost in productivity designers get from working in C, C++ and other high-level languages rather than RTL. The ability to design a layout that should work, and then easily modify it to test other confi... » read more

5G Heats Up Base Stations


Before 5G can be deployed commercially on a large scale, engineers have to solve some stubborn problems—including how to make a hot technology a whole lot cooler. 5G-capable modem chipsets are already on the market from Qualcomm, Samsung, Huawei, MediaTek, Intel and Apple, with some 5G service (LTE-Advanced/LTE-Advanced Pro) available in the U.S. But still mostly missing from the 5G equati... » read more

Gaps In 5G Test


Add one more industry to the long list that analysts expect 5G technology to disrupt—test. While the initial versions of this wireless technology will be little more than a faster version of 4G, concern is growing about exactly how to test the second phase of this technology, which will be based upon millimeter wave. A number of fundamental problems need to be addressed. Among them: T... » read more

Blockchain May Be Overkill for Most IIoT Security


Blockchain crops up in many of the pitches for security software aimed at the industrial IoT. However, IIoT project owners, chipmakers and OEMs should stick with security options that address the low-level, device- and data-centered security of the IIoT itself, rather than the effort to promote blockchain as a security option as well as an audit tool. Only about 6% of Industrial IoT (IIoT) p... » read more

Issues In Designing 5G Beamforming Antennas


As 5G networking inches closer to reality, one of the more stubborn problems also will be one of the smallest. Several issues have yet to be cracked with beamforming and massive MIMO antennas, which will make millimeter wave (mmWave) spectrum—a key ingredient in 5G networks—work on multiple devices and base-station locations. Millimeter wave is problematic yet promising. Between bands 30... » read more

Making Autonomous Vehicles Safer


While self-driving vehicles are beta-tested on some public roads in real traffic situations, the semiconductor and automotive industries are still getting a grip on how to test and verify that vehicle electronics systems work as expected. Testing can be high stakes, especially when done in public. Some of the predictions about how humans will interact with autonomous vehicles (AVs) on public... » read more

AV Testing Advances Without Standards


The failure of the AV START Act in the United States Senate did more than just delay U.S. federal regulations for self-driving car technology that has yet to progress beyond the pilot-test stage. It delayed discussions that could have narrowed the almost infinite number of choices automated vehicles (AVs) must be prepared to make by creating guidelines defining what constitutes "safe" operat... » read more

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