Blog Review: Oct. 16

Standards, reset buttons, clock domains, screen resolution, tablets, simplicity, strace, hammers, power, thermals, security, unknowns.


Cadence’s Richard Goering follows Si2’s move into SPICE modeling following the acquisition of the Compact Model Council. Combining standards groups is a growing trend these days.

Mentor’s Colin Walls points to the demise of reset buttons. You can always trip a circuit breaker, and usually turn off a device by pulling out the battery, but a reset button is simpler. Where did they go?

Real Intent’s Graham Bell spills some of the secret sauce for clock domain crossing verification. How many clock domains are in your design?

ARM’s Lakshmi Mandyam spent a year living without a laptop and comparing the pros and cons of tablets. The differences are fading, though. Tablets now have detachable keyboards, and ultrabooks have touchscreens with 10-hour battery life.

Synopsys’ Mick Posner wonders who uses a hammer to put in a screw. Or if you’re like us, do you use a screwdriver to hammer in a nail? What’s in your tool belt…and what else can you do with the belt?

Applied Materials’ Kerry Cunningham drills into smartphone screen resolution and why there’s such a rush to improve it. There’s a limit to what the human eye can discern, but we’re nowhere near it.

Cadence’s Brian Fuller follows a discussion about the last simple node—28nm. This is where lots of “things” will gain traction, at least for the time being. No double patterning. No finFETs. Mature processes. It’s a pretty compelling argument.

Mentor’s Christopher Hallinan digs into strace, originally for system call tracing, to debug and profile Linux apps. Software debug is a growing problem, and tips about good tools are most welcome.

Cadence’s Team Allegro drills into why signal integrity needs to be power aware. With growing power density at each new process node, everyone needs to pay attention to power.

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

Apache Design’s Arvind Shanmugavel says that finFETs are a game changer, but they also create reliability issues that need to be addressed.

Jasper’s Joe Hupcey questions how secure designs are and points out why security is becoming such a big deal.

Synopsys’ David Hsu looks at X values and why those can mean the difference between a working chip and a functional disaster.

Mentor’s Vijay Chobisa examines different approaches to reducing power consumption and smaller, lightweight batteries.

Nvidia’s Barry Pangrle points to the increasing need for thermal analysis with finFETs so you don’t cook the chip. But there’s a hidden benefit to doing it wrong: People with cold hands actually like holding warm phones.

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