Blog Review: March 25

Sci-fi to reality; is a black box better?; three takes on link training; verifying the AMBA system level environment; always-alert paradox; heatsink trees; side-channel attacks; auto security in 20 years.

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From brain implants that recover memories to color-shifting shoes, Ansys’ Bill Vandermark features sci-fi visions of the future that are becoming reality in his top five tech picks of the week.

In the world of embedded software, is a black box better? Mentor’s Colin Walls questions whether the advantages that come of having full access to source code outweigh the downsides.

Cadence’s Neelabh Singh says that while a communications channel may have a specified transfer rate, the reality is that it goes as fast as the source, sink and channel will allow. Finding out how fast this is can be a little tricky.

Writing for Synopsys, Broadcom’s Hari Balisetty takes a detailed look at link training for USB 3.0 and 3.1 and some techniques that can be used during verification for both normal or error conditions.

ARM’s Ashwin Matta adds another angle on link training and discusses the important aspects of DFI, an industry standard that defines the boundary signals and protocol between a memory controller and the PHYs that connect the memory sub-system to the external DRAM.

Independent verification blogger Gaurav Jalan looks at the long and rather involved history of Shift Left. The idea is necessarily new, but the buzz word is certainly getting a lot of attention.

Synopsys’ Satyapriya Acharya investigates some UVM features that enable the verification of system level capabilities for highly configurable AMBA fabrics.

There’s a fundamental paradox in the IoT, according to Chris Rowen. Cadence’s Richard Goering brings us the details of his CDNLive talk.

The maturation of 3D printing means heatsink topology will start looking very different, says Mentor’s Robin Bornoff. To find out just how different, plant a seed and watch it grow.

Rambus’ Aharon Etengoff takes a look at a sophisticated attack that may allow external sensors to compromise Microsoft’s hard drive encryption through a chip’s electromagnetic signals.

NXP’s Lars Reger sets his sights on the changes and accompanying security challenges increasingly-connected cars will face during the next two decades.

And in case you missed last week’s Manufacturing, Design & Test newsletter, here are some noteworthy blogs:

Editor in Chief Ed Sperling looks at the increasing uncertainty in getting chips manufactured, what’s causing it and why it could reshape the entire chip industry.

Executive Editor Mark LaPedus finds five important issues that received very little attention at SPIE.

Mentor Graphics’ Jeff Wilson notes that because foundries are favoring established nodes instead of the leading edge processes, companies will need a deeper understanding of their DFM options.

Semico Research’s Joanne Itow travels to Semicon China to find traffic buzzing over $19B in government funding, the IoT, virtual reality and the JCET/STATS merger.

SEMI’s Bettina Weiss looks at the Indian government’s vision and the reality for three new fabs.



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