Four Foundries Back MRAM


Four major foundries plan to offer MRAM as an embedded memory solution by this year or next, setting the stage for what finally could prove to be a game-changer for this next-generation memory technology. GlobalFoundries, Samsung, TSMC and UMC plan to start offering spin-transfer torque magnetoresistive RAM (ST-MRAM or STT-MRAM) as an alternative or a replacement to NOR flash, possibly start... » read more

The Secret Life Of Accelerators


Accelerator chips increasingly are providing the performance boost that device scaling once provided, changing basic assumptions about how data moves within an electronic system and where it should be processed. To the outside world, little appears to have changed. But beneath the glossy exterior, and almost always hidden from view, accelerator chips are becoming an integral part of most des... » read more

What’s After FinFETs?


Chipmakers are readying their next-generation technologies based on 10nm and/or 7nm finFETs, but it's still not clear how long the finFET will last, how long the 10nm and 7nm nodes for high-end devices will be extended, and what comes next. The industry faces a multitude of uncertainties and challenges at 5nm, 3nm and beyond. Even today, traditional chip scaling continues to slow as process ... » read more

What Does An IoT Chip Look Like?


By Ed Sperling and Jeff Dorsch Internet of Things chip design sounds like a simple topic on the face of it. Look deeper, though, and it becomes clear there is no single IoT, and certainly no type of chip that will work across the ever-expanding number of applications and markets that collectively make up the IoT. Included under this umbrella term are sensors, various types of processors, ... » read more

Transistor Aging Intensifies At 10/7nm And Below


Transistor aging and reliability are becoming much more troublesome for design teams at 10nm and below. Concepts like ‘infant mortality’ and 'bathtub curves' are not new to semiconductor design, but they largely dropped out of sight as methodologies and EDA tools improved. To get past infant mortality, a burn-in process would be done, particularly for memories. And for reliability, which... » read more

Challenges For Future Fan-Outs


The fan-out wafer-level packaging market is heating up. At the high end, for example, several packaging houses are developing new fan-out packages that could reach a new milestone and hit or break the magic 1µm line/space barrier. But the technology presents some challenges, as it may require more expensive process flows and equipment like lithography. Fig. 1: Redistribution layers. Source: L... » read more

Safety Plus Security: Solutions And Methodologies


By Ed Sperling & Brian Bailey As more technology makes its way into safety-critical markets—and as more of those devices are connected to the Internet—security issues are beginning to merge with safety issues. The number of attempted cyberattacks is up on every front, which has big implications for devices used in safety-related applications. There are more viruses, ransomware, an... » read more

NAND Market Hits Speed Bump


Demand for NAND flash memory remains robust due to the onslaught of data in systems, but the overall NAND flash market is stuck in the middle of a challenging period beset by product shortages, supply chain issues and a difficult technology transition. Intel, Micron, Samsung, SK Hynix and the Toshiba/Western Digital duo continue to ship traditional planar NAND in the market, but this technol... » read more

Neuromorphic Computing: Modeling The Brain


Can you tell the difference between a pedestrian and a bicycle? How about between a skunk and a black and white cat? Or between your neighbor’s dog and a colt or fawn? Of course you can, and you probably can do that without much conscious thought. Humans are very good at interpreting the world around them, both visually and through other sensory input. Computers are not. Though their sheer... » read more

Safety Plus Security: A New Challenge


Nobody has ever integrated safety or security features into their design just because they felt like it. Usually, successive high-profile attacks are needed to even get an industry's attention. And after that, it's not always clear how to best implement solutions or what the tradeoffs are between cost, performance, and risk versus benefit. Putting safety and security in the same basket is a ... » read more

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