Blog Review: April 16

Automating traffic lights; fighting robots; aftermarket batteries; lightbulb costs; predictions; UVM tips; car trouble; wearables; switching activity results; finFET issues.


Cadence’s Richard Goering attended a workshop on “extreme” scale design automation, which looked at where else EDA tools can be used—such as intelligent traffic lights. At least there are well-defined use cases.

Mentor’s Nazita Saye has compiled five predictions from the 1964 New York World’s Fair that are worth revisiting. Three of them came true. Check out the ones that didn’t, along with the rather freaky video with some very human-looking robots.

Synopsys’ Mick Posner has discovered the next betting venue: fighting robots. There are no referees needed in this sport. There’s no such thing as a low blow to a robot.

Sonics’ Scott Seiden finds that aftermarket batteries for cell phones aren’t exactly the same as the originals, which can cause huge problems. Make sure to read the fine print.

ARM’s Lakshmi Mandyam attends the Open Compute Project Summit, where AMD, Applied Micro and Intel delivered a succession of keynotes. The server world has become much more interesting now that power is a driving concern.

Semico Research’s Michell Prunty observes that sometimes turning off fluorescent light bulbs consumes more energy than leaving them on. Well, that should put a damper on those switches that turn off the lights after 15 minutes if they don’t detect any motion.

Cadence’s Brian Fuller interviews colleague Kevin Rinebold about IC packaging and co-design and comes up with a new term (new to us, anyway): Multi-fabric planning.

Mentor’s Colin Walls has discovered the real value in USB 3.1—support for a reversible connector. There’s also the performance and power improvements. But how many times to you try to plug in the connector the wrong way—or even the right way and think it’s wrong?

ARM’s Andy Frame attends the Freescale Technology Forum and finds 280 technical sessions. He came back with four videos from the show to prove the strength of ecosystems.

Independent blogger Gaurav Jalan takes on hierarchical sequences in UVM, a modular approach that can be used for debug, maintenance and reuse of code. If this is your space, here are three good tips.

Mentor’s John Day says the slick electronics that used to be in high-end cars are now headed downstream. There will be so many things to look at while driving that we may need driverless cars just to stay alive.

ARM’s Jem Davies digs into GPU performance and how to measure it. Graphics is computing, after all, so there is plenty of work in this area.

And in case you missed the most recent Low Power-High Performance newsletter, here are some standout blogs:

Executive Editor Ann Steffora Mutschler looks at where are the most interesting IoT apps. Hint: Anywhere and everywhere.

Mentor Graphics’ John Parry and Byron Blackmore uncork seven important steps you need to build into your current and future flows deal with heat.

Synopsys’ David Hsu argues that for low power verification, it is not sufficient just to provide low-power checkers or to support low-power design intent.

Cadence’s Brian Fuller distills the key discussion points of a panel involving platforms, standards and methodologies and why they’re essential to conquer design challenge. The good news is there are always ways through or around problems, no matter how daunting they seem at first.

Ansys-Apache’s Aveek Sarkar finds that finFETs add challenges and increase existing ones, especially with power budgeting, voltage drop, EM and overall power-noise reliability sign-off.

Jasper’s Joseph Hupcey examines the power consumed by low-power verification in a user case study.

Atrenta’s Mark Baker looks at current design methodologies and tackles the question about whether RTL power estimation accuracy can be improved.

Calypto’s Rob Eccles contends that the quality of switching activity information can have a direct effect on quality of results.

ARM’s Andrew Frame and Bee Hayes-Thakore take a look at the next phase of the IoT and find the market almost limitless for wearables.

And Nvidia’s Barry Pangrle looks at the predictions about the death of Moore’s Law on one side and 10 THz chips on the other and concludes reality is somewhere in the middle.

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