Author's Latest Posts


GaN Versus Silicon For 5G


The global race to launch 5G mmWave frequencies could provide a long-anticipated market opportunity for gallium nitride (GaN) as an alternative to silicon. GaN is more power-efficient than silicon for 5G RF. In fact, GaN has been the heir apparent to silicon in 5G power amplifiers for years, especially when it comes to mmWave 5G networks. What makes it so attractive is its ability to efficie... » read more

How Many Test Miles Make A Vehicle Safe?


The road to reliable safety testing of autonomous vehicles (AVs) is shifting left. Standards groups are beginning to publish functional safety standards that could make it possible to verify what a machine-learning AV pilot application will do in a traffic situation even before hardware or software is released from validation testing. This kind of approach has been possible for some time in ... » read more

5G OTA Test Not Ready For Production


5G is poised to dominate the wireless world, but over-the-air (OTA) testing of 5G beamforming antennas is still not ready for volume production. Beamforming is a critical element in the millimeter wave version of 5G, because of the limitations of ultra-high-frequency signals. Unlike 4G and its predecessors, millimeter wave technology will not penetrate objects, so signals need to be directed... » read more

Machine Learning Inferencing Moves To Mobile Devices


It may sound retro for a developer with access to hyperscale data centers to discuss apps that can be measured in kilobytes, but the emphasis increasingly is on small, highly capable devices. In fact, Google staff research engineer Pete Warden points to a new app that uses less than 100 kilobytes for RAM and storage, creates an inference model smaller than 20KB, and which is capable of proce... » read more

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

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

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

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

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