What’s Changing, What Isn’t


The global pandemic is creating economic chaos on a global scale. The big question now is when the coronavirus is brought under control, and just how long its effects will extend beyond the current health crisis. For the semiconductor industry, which has weathered many long and deep financial swings, this one at least is finite. When the virus stops spreading, or when treatments are availabl... » read more

Chip Design Is Getting Squishy


So many variables, uncertainties and new approaches are in play today across the chip industry today that previous rules are looking rather dated. In the past, a handful of large companies or organizations set the rules for the industry and established an industry roadmap. No such roadmap exists today. And while there are efforts underway to create new roadmaps for different industries, inte... » read more

Chips, Business And The Coronavirus


In the spring of 2003, the SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) hit China and Hong Kong, creating such panic that no one would touch crates on shipping docks. Ultimately, it erased an estimated $40 billion from the global economy and effectively shut down the Chinese semiconductor industry for several months. It could have been much worse, though, and this is what is particularly troubli... » read more

What Will AI Look Like In 10 Years?


There's no such thing as reverse in AI systems. Once they are let loose, they do what they were programmed to do — optimize results within a given set of parameters. But today there is no consistency for those parameters. There are no standards by which to measure how AI deviates over time. And there is an expectation, at least today, that AI systems will adapt to whatever patterns they di... » read more

Designing In 4D


The chip design world is no longer flat or static, and increasingly it's no longer standardized. Until 16/14nm, most design engineers viewed the world in two dimensions. Circuits were laid out along x and y axes, and everything was packed in between those two borders. The biggest problems were that nothing printed as neatly as the blueprint suggested, and current leaked out of two-dimension... » read more

Disaggregation Of The SoC


The rise of edge computing could do to the cloud what the PC did to the minicomputer and the mainframe. In the end, all of those co-existed (despite the fact that the minicomputer morphed into commodity servers from companies like Dell and HP). What's different this time around is that the computing done inside of those boxes is moving. It is being distributed in ways never considered feasi... » read more

The Great Data Flood Ahead


The number of devices connected to the Internet is expected to exceed 1 trillion devices over the next decade or so. The timeline is a bit fuzzy, in part because no one is actually counting all of these devices, but the implications are pretty clear. A data deluge of biblical proportions is headed our way, and so far no one has any idea of what to do with all of it. From a system-level s... » read more

Surround And Conquer


The processor wars are back in full swing, this time with some new players in the field. But what defines winning this time around is far less obvious than it was in the past, and it will take years before we know the outcome. The strategy is the same, though, and it's one that has been in use for years in the tech world. It began in the 1990s, when IBM came to the realization that it could ... » read more

China Accelerates Its Timetable


China has been doing more than just creating a separate supply chain. It has begun an entirely separate stock market with backing from the government. Known as the Star Market, this offshoot of the Shanghai Stock Exchange includes some big-name companies such as Alibaba, Xiaomi and Tencent. But what's particularly noteworthy is that the government is supporting top startups like governments ... » read more

Rethinking What Goes On A Chip


There are hints across the chip industry that chipmakers are beginning to reexamine one of the basic concepts of chip design. For more than 50 years, progress in semiconductors was measured by the ability to double the density of transistors on a piece of silicon. While that approach continues to be useful, the power and performance benefits have been dwindling for the past couple of nodes. ... » read more

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