Advanced ASICs: It Takes An Ecosystem


I remember the days of the IDM (integrated device manufacturer). For me, it was RCA, where I worked for 15 years as the company changed from RCA to GE and then ultimately to Harris Semiconductor. It’s a bit of a cliché, but life was simpler then, from a customer point of view at least. RCA did it all. We designed all the IP, did the physical design, owned fabs, assembly and test facilities a... » read more

Talking The Talk On Training


In my prior post, I discussed the value of good design flow training. A properly executed program can turn average engineers into above average problem solvers with the right tools and techniques. We got to thinking about this opportunity quite seriously at eSilicon. Is there a way to develop a focused, intense training program to create a new “army” of elite designers? In short, we thin... » read more

Training As A Strategic Weapon


In my last post, I discussed the topic of applying machine learning to the design of machine learning chips. I pointed out that one can achieve significant improvements in schedule predictability, PPA compliance and an overall reduction in program risk if machine learning is applied to the right kind of knowledge base. This is very real, and we are seeing the benefits of this approach daily. Bu... » read more

A Learning Machine For Machine Learning


Artificial intelligence and machine learning are hot. Many, many startups, exciting new applications and lots of venture money. The technology promises to change the world. Whether it’s autonomous vehicles, domestic robots or machines that replace doctors and lawyers, the implications are astounding, and somewhat frightening. Let’s put the socio-economic dimension of this discussion aside f... » read more

Historic FinFET/2.5D Firsts


Recently, I had an opportunity to watch the Academy Award nominated movie “Hidden Figures.” If you’re a geek at heart, you need to see this movie. It chronicles the strong contributions of three black women to the NASA space program during the 1960s. The civil rights backstory of the movie is powerful, but there is another aspect of the movie that stayed with me as well: all of the “fir... » read more

Advanced ASICs Are A Team Sport


The recent Super Bowl proved that a team with conviction and focus can do anything. This notion comes in handy when you think about the nearly impossible job of designing and manufacturing an advanced ASIC – in finFET technologies, with an interposer, multiple die, and never-before-proven throughput rates. For these kind of advanced technologies, it does take a village. What works is open, tr... » read more

Rush Hour On The Technology Roadmap


Starting this week, the International Solid State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) will commence at the Marriott in downtown San Francisco. This prestigious conference showcases the latest semiconductor innovations from around the world. Looking at the advance program, one can’t help but notice a shift in the work presented. The conference theme this year is: “Intelligent Chips for a Smart World... » read more

All I Want For Christmas…


As I write this, we’re heading into the 2016 holiday season. December 21 is also the shortest day of the year, so I better get right to the point. 2016 has been a year of many surprises. The spectacular consolidation in the semiconductor industry has permanently altered the landscape.  It has created new, world-class capability and left a few gaps as well. 2.5D designs are finally moving ... » read more

IoT – And A Tear In The Fabric Of The Connected World


Billions of connected things. Massive silicon consumption. Exponentially rising data volumes. Global compute farm build-out to make sense out of all of it. Lots of dollar signs. Everyone is talking about IoT with an optimistic view toward the future. There is a dark side to all this. Many, including yours truly have written about it. If you’re familiar with the Terminator series, you can call... » read more

Designers: Take Control Of Your Chip


This is a familiar story for us – maybe it is for you, too. From time to time, a customer contacts us and says they have a design in mind, but they just can’t fit in the package, or meet the power budget, or meet timing. Fifty percent or more of the area for many of the chips we see is composed of memory. So we start there. After a Pareto analysis of the memory sub-system, we typically find... » read more

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