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The Next Phase Of Computing


Apple's new M1 chip offers a glimpse of what's ahead, and not just from Apple. Being able to get 18 to 20 hours of battery life from a laptop computer moves the ball much farther down the field in semiconductor design. All of this is entirely dependent on the applications, of course. But what's important here is how much battery life and performance can be gained by designing hardware specif... » read more

The Battery Problem


The fires sweeping the West Coast of the United States point to the need for a whole different way of managing power on both a macro and a micro level. Since the millennium, the power demand from data centers and from mobile devices has been climbing steadily. There are roughly 7.8 billion people on the planet, up from 6.115 billion people in 2000, according to the World Bank. Many of them o... » read more

The Next Leap


Some interesting new technologies are about to go on display. Chipmakers and systems companies have been working on quantum computing, photonics, and specialized AI processors, for the past several years, and those efforts are beginning to gain momentum. The goal is no longer a doubling of performance and power. It's now orders of magnitude improvement, and next week's Hot Chips conference i... » read more

Rethinking Architectures Based On Power


The newest chips being developed for everything from the cloud to the edge of the network look nothing like designs of even a year or two ago. They are architected for speed, from the throughput of high-speed buses and external interconnects to the customized accelerators and arrays of redundant MACs. But many of these designs have barely scratched the surface for saving power, which will becom... » read more

3 Challenges In Edge Designs


As companies begin exploring what will be necessary to win at the edge, they are coming up with some daunting challenges. Designing chips for the edge is far different than for the IoT/IIoT. The idea with the IoT was that simple sensors would relay data through a gateway to the cloud, where it would be processed and data could be sent back to the device as needed. That works if it's a small ... » read more

The Other Storage Race


Tesla's push to extend the life of lithium ion batteries used in cars by repurposing them for less-intensive applications could have a major impact on the business model for a whole slew of other markets. As anyone with a smartphone knows, batteries degrade over time. A new phone holds a charge longer than one that has been in use for several years, but in the case of a smartphone that's gen... » read more

Thinking Way, Way Outside The Box


The COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium has set records for global cooperation by giant companies, universities and various federal agencies and national laboratories. But it also may have cracked opened a door for much more than that. Until now, there has been a massive race for dominance in the data center. Big companies have gotten rich on data, building infrastructure at a col... » read more

How Much Power Will AI Chips Use?


AI and machine learning have voracious appetites when it comes to power. On the training side, they will fully utilize every available processing element in a highly parallelized array of processors and accelerators. And on the inferencing side they, will continue to optimize algorithms to maximize performance for whatever task a system is designed to do. But as with cars, mileage varies gre... » read more

Thinking About AI Power In Parallel


Most AI chips being developed today run highly parallel series of multiply/accumulate (MAC) operations. More processors and accelerators equate to better performance. This is why it's not uncommon to see chipmakers stitching together multiple die that are larger than a single reticle. It's also one of the reasons so much attention is being paid to moving to the next process node. It's not ne... » read more

More Knobs, Fewer Markers


The next big thing in chip design may be really big — the price tag. In the past, when things got smaller, so did the cost per transistor. Now they are getting more expensive to design and manufacture, and the cost per transistor is going up along with the number of transistors per area of die, and in many cases even the size of the die. That's not exactly a winning economic formula, which... » read more

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