System-in-Package For Heterogeneous Designs


System integration is increasingly being done using 3D packaging technologies rather than integrating everything onto a huge SoC. One motivation is the ability to not just to split up a design in a single process, but to package die from different processes. Sometimes there are economic reasons. Several presentations at HOT CHIPS had a partition of the design into the processor itself, and a... » read more

Mary Jane Irwin Receives The Kaufman Award


Mary Jane Irwin just got back from a cruise around the Greek islands with her husband of 53 years to celebrate being the first woman to receive the Kaufman award. When I wrote my post The 2019 Kaufman Award Goes to Mary Jane Irwin about her receiving the awards last week, I mostly just used the boilerplate biographical information from the press release. But that's rather dry, so I called her u... » read more

Scan Compression Is No Longer About Compression


Scan compression was introduced in the year 2000 and has seen rapid adoption. Nearly every design’s test methodology today implements this technology, which inserts compression logic in the scan path between the scan I/Os and the internal chains. In this article, we take a critical look at the technology to understand how scan compression has matured. The road to scan compression Since th... » read more

IC Test: Doing It At The Right Place At The Right Time


In the real world, we are slaves to our environment. The decisions we make are dependent on the resources available at any given time. In school, I remember coming up with a binary decision diagram (BDD) variable-ordering algorithm that relied on partial BDDs. Was that the best algorithm to determine the variable ordering of a BDD for a design? Probably not. However, it was easy to do as a coll... » read more

Psst, Says 5G… Wanna See What My New Antenna Tech Challenge Looks Like?


5G offers incredible potential, enabling 1000X more traffic, 10X faster speeds and an increase in the device battery capacity by 10X! So why hasn’t 5G technology been rolled out yet? The benefits all sound great, but there are also some challenges that need to be addressed. 5G is destined to cause a revolution around the world with burgeoning industries like autonomous driving, internet of... » read more

Processors Are Exciting Again


Today is a very exciting time in the world of processor architectures. Domain-specific processor architectures are now fully realized as the best answers to the challenges of low power and high performance for many applications. Advancements in artificial intelligence are leading the way to exciting new experiences and products today and in our future. There have been more advances in deep lear... » read more

Designers Face Growing Problems With On-Chip Power Distribution


The technology evolution in semiconductor manufacturing has led to chips with ever-higher power densities, which is leading to serious problems with on-chip power distribution. Specifically, the problems surrounding voltage drop—or IR drop (from V=IxR)—have become so acute that we have seen multiple companies starting to get back dead silicon from the fab. For example, a recent 7nm chip ... » read more

Power Reduction In A Constrained World


Back when 40-28nm were new, leakage power for wireless designs dominated the optimization technology focus. This led to multiple VT optimization and power intent management for digital designs to minimize or shut off leakage. As wireless devices moved to FinFET nodes, dynamic power became dominant. As a result, optimization technology focus shifted to build up dynamic techniques to complement y... » read more

Can Machine Learning Chips Help Develop Better Tools With Machine Learning?


As we continue to be bombarded with AI- and machine learning-themed presentations at industry conferences, an ex-colleague told me that he is sick of seeing an outline of the human head with a processor in place of the brain. If you are a chip architect trying to build one of these data-centric architecture chips for machine learning or AI (as opposed to the compute-centric chips, which you pro... » read more

Where The Rubber Hits The Road: Implementing Machine Learning On Silicon


Machine learning (ML) is everywhere these days. The common thread between advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) vision applications in our cars and the voice (and now facial) recognition applications in our phones is that ML algorithms are doing the heavy lifting, or more accurately, the inferencing. In fact, neural networks (NN) can even be used in application spaces such as file compressi... » read more

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