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A Paradigm Shift With Vertical Nanowire FETs For 5nm And Beyond


When I was in undergrad not so long ago, all my circuits and semiconductor textbooks/professors were talking about MOSFETs (metal-oxide semiconductor field-effect transistor) that were just “better” than BJTs (bi-polar junction transistor). There were still some old professors talking about how they did an excellent job using BJTs, but everyone knew it was MOSFET that was leading the game i... » read more

It’s All About Staying Ahead Of The Test Challenges Curve


Since the early days when semiconductor devices contained a mere handful of gates, the manufacturing test world has been focused on how to detect the greatest number of potential defects in the shortest amount of time. This fundamental goal has not changed over the years and continues at 5nm and beyond. What has dramatically changed over the years, however, is the variety of techniques used ... » read more

Is Synthesis Still Process-Independent?


For many years, the idea that the release of a new process node from one of the major silicon foundries would require you to update your synthesis flow was a non-starter. Synthesis used the available timing, area and power models in the libraries and that was the beginning and end of the discussion. With the arrival of physical synthesis, physical effects could be taken into consideration in... » read more

“Good Enough For Government Work?” Not Anymore.


When I was an engineer fresh out of college, I worked for a large defense contractor in southern California. The workplace was filled with employees that worked their whole life with the company; some of them for as many as 40 years. To get an idea of how many people I’m talking about, there was a retirement party for at least 3 or 4 people every week just in our division. You can imagine tha... » read more

First Look At USB 3.2


I’m super excited to write about and show to you the world’s first USB 3.2 demonstration. Go watch the video first and then read the rest. https://youtu.be/WPUvHeq_Sgs USB 3.2 hardware and software setup We implemented our USB 3.2 Device and Host in the HAPS-80 FPGA-Based hardware prototyping platform. The platforms use USB PHYs, which are implemented in a FinFET process node. ... » read more

Design Flows At 5nm And Beyond


It’s probably the first time that you’ll ever hear an old (well, old-ish!) person say this, but things were easier back in my day. 40 nanometers was the most advanced node that I ever designed SoCs at and, although it wasn’t easy back then, it pales against the myriad of challenges facing designers today. Back then, compartmentalization of function and roles was relatively easy. We do ... » read more

In-Design Rail Analysis Is A Beautiful Thing


As a long time designer, ASIC flows amaze me and making them better is my goal. Although a very complex and intricate process, each part of the ASIC flow abstracts the complexity underneath it to ultimately create silicon that could end up in your smartwatch, your electric vehicle, or the latest cell phone – how amazing! Consumers concerns include product reliability and robustness, which bri... » read more

Regain Your Power With Machine Learning


It wasn’t too long ago that machine learning (ML) seemed like a fascinating research topic. However, in no time at all, it has made a swift transition from a world far-off to common presence in news, billboards, workplaces, and homes. The concept itself is not new but evidently what has caused it to take off is the rapid growth of data in many applications and more computational power. Closer... » read more

3D Extraction Necessities For 5nm And Below


For most of my career in product marketing I’ve been focused on Static Timing Analysis (STA). It was, and still is, an area with a diverse set of topics including graph based analysis and path based analysis, on-chip variation modeling, delay calculation, evolving library models, etc. During those years I always understood that  parasitic extraction was a crucial element of STA and more impo... » read more

Bulletproofing Virtual Prototypes


The big benefits of virtual prototyping methods are that they don’t rely on the availability of RTL or physical hardware. Instead they utilize modes of the future SoC. These models are typically lightweight and optimized for their use case, which is important in regards of simulation speed, modeling and testing effort. Model quality is a key concern, as the virtual prototyping end user accept... » read more

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