Exponentials At The Edge

The age of portable communication has set off a scramble for devices that can achieve almost anything a desktop computer could handle even five years ago. But this is just the beginning. The big breakthrough with mobile devices was the ability to combine voice calls, text and eventually e-mail, providing the rudiments of a mobile office-all on a single charge of a battery that was light enou... » read more

Customizing Power And Performance

Designing chips is getting more difficult, and not just for the obvious technical reasons. The bigger issue revolves around what these chips going to be used for-and how will they be used, both by the end user and in the context of other electronics. This was a pretty simple decision when hardware was developed somewhat independently of software, such as in the PC era. Technology generally d... » read more

Warp Speed Ahead

The computing world is on a tear, but not just in one direction. While battery-powered applications are focused on extending the time between charges or battery replacements, there is a whole separate and growing market for massive improvements in speed. Ultimately, this is where quantum computing will play a role, probably sometime in the late 2020/early 2030 timeframe, according to multipl... » read more

Noise At 7nm And Beyond

The digital and analog worlds always have been very different. Digital engineers see the world in terms of electrons and a well-defined set of numerical values. Their waves are discrete and squared off and their devices are often noisy when they turn on and off. Analog engineers think in terms of quiet, smooth waves, and they are very concerned about anything that can disrupt those waves, such ... » read more

Quantum Madness

The race is on to commercialize quantum computing for everything from autonomous vehicles to supercomputers for hire. IBM has been working on a 50-qubit computer. Intel and QuTech, its Dutch research partner, showed off a 17-qubit test chip last month. And Alphabet, Google's parent company, is developing a 20-qubit computer. These numbers sound paltry compared to the billions of transistors ... » read more

New Materials For Computing

The U.S. Department of Energy rolled out a new program to develop materials for "extreme conditions" for high-performance computing, setting the stage for much more mobile versions of AI and machine learning. This effort, if successful, has interesting implications on a number of levels. For one, the DOE's mandate includes everything from energy security to weaponry, and high-performance com... » read more

What’s After 7nm?

The rollout of 10/7nm was a long time coming, and for good reason. It's hard stuff, and chipmakers have to be ready to take a giant step forward with new processes, tools, and to deal with a slew of physical effects that no longer can be handled by just guard-banding a design. The big question is what's next, when it will happen, and how much it will cost. Preparing for the next process node... » read more

Rethinking Computing Fundamentals

New compute architectures—not just new chips—are becoming a common theme in Silicon Valley these days. The whole semiconductor industry is racing to find the fastest, cheapest, lowest-power approach to processing. The drivers of this shift are well documented. Moore's Law is slowing down, in part because it's becoming more difficult to route signals across an SoC at the latest process no... » read more

Performance To The People

Ever since the IoT became a household term, the almost universal concept was that extremely low-power, simplistic devices would rule the edge. They would collect data, send it to the cloud, and the cloud would send back useful information. That's a great marketing concept for gateways and cloud services, but it's not scalable. Consumers don't just want to know when their heartbeat is irregul... » read more

Age Of Acceleration

A shift from the fastest processors to accelerating specific functions is underway, supplanting an era of dark silicon in which one or more processor cores remain in a ready state whenever a single core's performance bogs down. In effect, the dark silicon/multi-core approach is being scrapped for many functions in favor of an accelerator-based microarchitecture that is far more granular. The... » read more

← Older posts