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Partitioning For Power


By Pallab Chatterjee Design partitioning for power in an IC is driven by which functions are on simultaneously. The new generation of “smart” power management chips introduces new constraints to the task. Case in point: The new LP8725 from National Semiconductor. These chips have multiple DC-DC converters and both analog and digital low-dropout regulators (LDOs), with a common I2C inter... » read more

Listening In With Better Audio


By Pallab Chatterjee The high profile discussion on new consumer products has been high definition-video and high-definition TV broadcast. The other end of the experience is starting to catch up with improved audio. Since the shift from LPs and CDs has taken place towards downloadable portable audio data, there have been complaints from the listeners about the quality of the sound. The f... » read more

Low-Power Architectures Go Mainstream


By Pallab Chatterjee Until recently, low power engineering has been defined by the automated use of EDA tools in the design flow to help cut back on peak dynamic power. The new generation of mobile and video products has forced a change in that methodology. There are two other fast rising architectural approaches. The first is multicore, which is prevalent in new product introductions fr... » read more

Slow Start To Software-As-A-Service


By Pallab Chatterjee Can software as a service (SaaS) really work in the SoC design tools world? While many of the large EDA vendors continue to experiment with it, the future of this model isn’t especially promising. This is contrary to the overall trend among big software makers, which even in the large enterprise applications space are finding success with SaaS and the related cl... » read more

Methodology Shifts Ahead


By Pallab Chatterjee The high cost of SoC development at advanced process nodes is forcing a significant shift in many of the methodologies used in design. Hierarchical design methods are giving way to IP integration and hierarchical analysis at the architectural and functional design levels. Previously, large blocks were implemented at the top level of the chip and the analysis was pushe... » read more

Get Ready For 3D


By Pallab Chatterjee The advent of digital imaging in the production, broadcast and projection of films will drive the current 3D craze into a sustainable long-term trend. The digital medium allows for “headache-free” viewing and is expected to produce about $1 billion in revenue this year in North America. What’s changed this time is 3D formats will not be limited to feature films in t... » read more

Hot Chips 2009: It’s All About Multicore And Low-Power


By Pallab Chatterjee The game has changed for processors. The goal now is data throughput, not higher gigahertz and more watts. That shift dominated the presentations at the Hot Chips conference this week. In previous years, the theme was higher single-core performance, more power and smaller geometries processes. This year it was all about multi-core and multi-power options as the realities ... » read more

New Low-Power Memory Technology Under Development


By Pallab Chatterjee Unity Semiconductor, which was formed in 2002 and has been in stealth mode until May of 2009, is progressing on the development of a very dense and low power non-volatile solid state memory technology. Unlike traditional semiconductor memory, which uses an active device and electron transport as the primary storage element, the Unity Semiconductor CMOx technology uses... » read more

One Design, Many Products


By Pallab Chatterjee The tightening worldwide economy finally has forced the consumer products arena to adopt an aggressive single-SKU mentality for their products. This means companies are now making a single standard product that can be sold into multiple applications. This marks a radical shift in the way products are being designed, a direction that makes the design and development proces... » read more