Blog Review: April 2

Roundabouts; standards; zap guns; alarm bells; classic advice; virtualization; aliens; near miss; privacy, and much more.


Mentor’s Nazita Saye compares roadway roundabouts to networked systems. One roundabout works fine, but add in a bunch of them and you have a massive traffic jam. How many roundabouts are in your design?

Cadence’s Richard Goering interviews Stan Kroliskoski, chair of the IEEE Design Automation Standards Committee, about four working groups on EDA standards and what’s ahead.

Speaking of standards, Synopsys’ Richard Solomon is expecting a spec. This one is the draft for PCIe 4.0—but only version 0.3 of that spec. There’s even a disintegration gun available if things get really ugly. So that’s how they settle differences in standards meetings.

Rambus’ Ben Jun sounds the alarm bell for security when it comes to the Internet of Things. It’s a lot harder to change a cryptographic key for a thing than a person’s password—and most people never change their passwords.

Advantest CEO Haruo Matsuno gave a speech to new hires, advising them to double check their numbers—a useful skill for anyone working at a measurement company. Make sure you check out the story he uses to emphasize that point. It’s a classic—literally.

ARM’s Andrew Wafaa takes a deep dive into the Xen project—virtualization that is beginning to show up in markets such as automotive and mobile. Xen is the Linux/BSD incarnation of this technology.

Applied Materials’ Ofer Adan says that CD-SEM technology—that stands for critical dimension scanning electron microscope—can extend beyond 10nm. In the metrology world, this is big news. For the rest of the design market, consider this a near miss.

Mentor’s Kamran Shah spills the beans on Mentor’s collaboration with AMD Embedded for open-source embedded Linux on multi-core processors. This seems to be a trend. First ARM’s Linaro, now AMD.

Cadence’s Brian Fuller highlights an interesting new technology—a 3D visualization system that looks like some 3D games. If you see aliens in this one, you’re probably in the wrong room.

On the other hand, Jill Tarter takes aliens very seriously. She’s the head of the SETI institute, as in “the search for extraterrestrial intelligence.” Synopsys’ Karen Bartleson conducts this video interview about the search for patterns and aberrations.

Mentor’s John Day says points to the move by Continental (the carmaker, not the airline) to incorporate a high-speed telematics module. This is one area where dropped signals can be disastrous.

ARM’s Soshun Arai takes a different angle on that need for speed in automotive communication, looking at compute scalability for automotive infotainment and connected cars. Lightning fast communications and compute power are critical in this sector—something that should open the doors for lots of EEs in the automotive world.

Cadence’s Jacek Duda digs into USB controllers, as well as specs for USB 2.0 and 3.x, in this five-minute video from Whiteboard Wednesdays.

Mentor’s Mike Jensen compares risks in designing the America’s Cup sailing vessel to other engineering areas—and what can be done to mitigate those risks. This blog is being scrutinized all over New Zealand.

It looks as if Synopsys’ Mick Posner is designing a tank using FPGAs. So this is why all those men in dark suits and sunglasses were hanging around at SNUG.

And in case you missed last week’s System-Level Design newsletter, here are some noteworthy blogs:

Technology Editor Brian Bailey sounds off on privacy, why it’s a reasonable expectation, and what you need to think about to maintain it.

Arteris’ Kurt Shuler looks at why airlines are safer today than ever before, including all the gear that was present on Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

Mentor Graphics’ Jon McDonald questions whether we are setting our engineering students up with the right expectations.

Cadence’s Frank Schirrmeister observes that overcoming organizational challenges may be just as difficult as the technical challenges.

Independent consultant Neil Hand contends the EDA industry can experience a resurgence if truly open interfaces and open flows are embraced.

Synopsys’ Tom De Schutter unveils a new book that looks at case studies and best practices for mobile, consumer and industrial applications.

eSilicon’s Mike Gianfagna finds the semiconductor industry to woefully slow in adopting its own technology.

DVCon’s Martin Barnasconi points a spotlight on DVCon Europe, a new conference will address complex system-level design, mixed signal verification, design integration and user case studies and experiences for applying design and verification methods and tools.

And Real Intent’s Graham Bell points out that optimistic simulation behavior can hid bugs in a design that don’t show up until after tapeout.

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