Bottlenecks For Edge Processors


New processor architectures are being developed that can provide two to three orders of magnitude improvement in performance. The question now is whether the performance in systems will be anything close to the processor benchmarks. Most of these processors doing one thing very well. They handle specific data types and can accelerate the multiply-accumulate functions for algorithms by distri... » read more

Driving AI, ML To New Levels On MCUs


One of the most dramatic impacts of technology of late has been the implementation of artificial intelligence and machine learning on small edge devices, the likes of which are forming the backbone of the Internet of Things. At first, this happened through sheer engineering willpower and innovation. But as the drive towards a world of a trillion connected devices accelerates, we must find wa... » read more

ASIC/IC Trends With A Focus On Factors Of Silicon Success


“The more you know, the more you know you don't know.” ― Aristotle, 4th C. BC When Aristotle uttered this humble aphorism, he wasn’t telling us to throw up our hands and not bother with learning. He was encouraging us to continue digging deeper, to get answers and ask questions of those answers — that the thrills and rewards of study are truly without end. This is a big part of ou... » read more

Engineering The Signal For GDDR6


DDR1 through DDR3 had their challenges, but speeds were below one gigabit and signal integrity (SI) challenges were more centered around static timing and running pseudo random binary sequence (PRBS) simulations. Now, with GDDR6, we are working on 16 to 20 gigabits per second (Gbps) signaling and even faster in the near future. As a result, engineering the signal for GDDR6 will require careful ... » read more

The Rising Importance Of Design Planning


Design Planning is often overlooked in the chip design flow. The front-end designer carefully architects the design functionality to produce golden RTL. This is then poured into the synthesis engine to produce logic gates. The synthesized netlist is then thrown over the wall by the front-end designer for physical implementation. The back-end designer receives a gate-level netlist, timing con... » read more

More Memory And Processor Tradeoffs


Creating a new chip architecture is becoming an increasingly complex series of tradeoffs about memories and processing elements, but the benefits are not always obvious when those tradeoffs are being made. This used to be a fairly straightforward exercise when there was one processor, on-chip SRAM and off-chip DRAM. Fast forward to 7/5nm, where chips are being developed for AI, mobile ph... » read more

The Weather Report: 2018 Study On IC/ASIC Verification Trends


Nobel Laureate Bob Dylan observed, “You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.” Similarly, we can get a feeling for where our industry is going by attending to the flow of thought at conferences, on line, or in our daily business. But that gives us only a small window to observe the hurricane-like forces of the very large and complicated, extremely dynamic global semico... » read more

GDDR6 And HBM2: Signal Integrity Challenges For AI


In a nutshell, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its growing list of applications demand a considerably large amount of bandwidth to push bits in and out of memory at the highest speeds possible. AI has been getting a lot of industry attention, and certainly it’s not a new phenomenon because it’s been gaining even greater traction in the last year or two. This is especially true since a n... » read more

Exascale Emulation Debug Challenges


For years, semiconductor industry surveys have shown that functional verification is the dominant phase in chip development and that debug is the most time-consuming task for verification. The problem is getting worse in today’s era of exascale debug, in which software applications drive tests of more than a billion cycles run in emulation on designs of more than a billion gates. System-on-ch... » read more

Taking Security-By-Design To The Next Level


It’s hard to argue that the pre-eminent challenge before our industry today is security. While each sensational hacking headline gets readers’ attention, countless engineers and developers behind the scenes innovate security solutions every day to stay one step ahead of the hackers. At a high level, companies have begun to work together toward holistic solutions to complement their own s... » read more

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