Power/Performance Bits: May 21


More speculative vulnerabilities Security researchers at the Graz University of Technology, KU Leuven, Cyberus Technology, and Worcester Polytechnic Institute point to two new speculative execution vulnerabilities related to Meltdown and Spectre. The first, which they dubbed ZombieLoad, uses a similar approach to Meltdown. After preparing tasks in parallel, the processor needs to discard th... » read more

In-Chip Monitoring Becoming Essential Below 10nm


Rising systemic complexity and more potential interactions in heterogeneous designs is making it much more difficult to ensure a chip, or even a block within a chip, will functioning properly without actually monitoring that behavior in real-time. Continuous and sporadic monitoring have been creeping into designs for the past couple of decades. But it hasn’t always been clear how effective... » read more

HPE to Buy Cray in $1.3B Deal


Hewlett Packard Enterprise agreed to acquire Cray Inc. for $35 a share in cash, with the transaction valued at about $1.3 billion, net of cash. The proposed merger would add supercomputing system technology to HPE’s product portfolio, expanding its offerings in high-performance computing (HPC). The HPC segment of the IT market, together with the associated data storage and services, is for... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: May 14


Detecting malware with power monitoring Engineers at the University of Texas at Austin and North Carolina State University devised a way to detect malware in large-scale embedded computer systems by monitoring power usage and identifying unusual surges as a warning of potential infection. The method relies on an external piece of hardware that can be plugged into the system to observe and m... » read more

Chiplet Momentum Builds, Despite Tradeoffs


Chip design is a series of tradeoffs. Some are technical, others are related to cost, competitive features or legal restrictions. But with the nascent 'chiplet' market, many of the established balance points are significantly altered, depending on market segments and ecosystem readiness. Chiplets provide an alternative mechanism for integrating intellectual property (IP) blocks into a semico... » read more

Bottlenecks For Edge Processors


New processor architectures are being developed that can provide two to three orders of magnitude improvement in performance. The question now is whether the performance in systems will be anything close to the processor benchmarks. Most of these processors doing one thing very well. They handle specific data types and can accelerate the multiply-accumulate functions for algorithms by distri... » read more

The Growing Uncertainty Of Sign-Off At 7/5nm


Having enough confidence in designs to sign off prior to manufacturing is becoming far more difficult at 7/5nm. It is taking longer due to increasing transistor density, thinner gate oxides, and many more power-related operations that can disrupt signal integrity and impact reliability.  For many years, designers have performed design rule checks as part of physical verification of the desi... » read more

Driving AI, ML To New Levels On MCUs


One of the most dramatic impacts of technology of late has been the implementation of artificial intelligence and machine learning on small edge devices, the likes of which are forming the backbone of the Internet of Things. At first, this happened through sheer engineering willpower and innovation. But as the drive towards a world of a trillion connected devices accelerates, we must find wa... » read more

ASIC/IC Trends With A Focus On Factors Of Silicon Success


“The more you know, the more you know you don't know.” ― Aristotle, 4th C. BC When Aristotle uttered this humble aphorism, he wasn’t telling us to throw up our hands and not bother with learning. He was encouraging us to continue digging deeper, to get answers and ask questions of those answers — that the thrills and rewards of study are truly without end. This is a big part of ou... » read more

The Limits Of Energy Harvesting


Energy harvesting, once considered an inexpensive alternative to low-power design and a way of achieving nearly unlimited power in mobile devices, has settled down to more modest expectations. This approach to generating energy through a variety of means—from solar to motion to ambient RF and even pH differences between soil and trees—has been proven to work. The problem is that it doesn... » read more

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