Multicore: Is More Better?

By Frank Ferro Two cores are better than one, right? It reminds me of those AT&T commercials where they ask the kids, “Who thinks two is better than one?” And of course the kids all yell, two! In another version of the commercial they ask; “What’s better, doing two things at once or just one?” And again they all yell, two! Well, this is a good summary or of last week’s Multicor... » read more

The Power Treadmill

By Frank Ferro The recent purchase of an LTE smart phone has me back on my power management soapbox. I upgraded my phone about a month ago to the newest version (staying with the same manufacturer as my previous device) and to my dismay, although it wasn’t completely unexpected, the battery life was actually shorter. I did not do a ‘scientific’ comparison, but following the same daily us... » read more

The Business Of Things

By Frank Ferro The Internet of things (IOT) will create $14 trillion dollars in business opportunities according to Cisco. Unless you are a government accumulating debt, most of us think that’s a big number—and a big opportunity. The much quoted “50 billion connected devices to the Internet by 2020” forecast is the impetus driving companies in all parts of the ecosystem including infra... » read more

Power Management: Throwing Down The Gauntlet

By Frank Ferro The recent burst of articles challenging smart phone battery life has me asking the question, “Are we ready to turn the corner on power consumption?” About two years ago I was bemoaning the fact that we are willing to live with a smart phone that gets only one day of battery life (Powering Forward or Moon Walking). As of today, nothing has changed. We still need to charge th... » read more

The CES Effect

By Frank Ferro CES draws a lot of attention. Everyone wants to be first to see the latest and greatest consumer products. If you don’t mind squeezing through the crowd, you can glimpse the startling picture quality of an OLED TV. Never mind viewing the quality of a 4K Ultra HDTV, at CES you can skip a generation and see what an 85” 8K UHDTV looks like. Talk about resolution! You also can e... » read more

The Network Is The SoC…

By Frank Ferro SoC design continues to challenge semiconductor and system companies in their pursuit to create a better user experience for a wide range of products. Given this, I was pleasantly surprised to see that two of the “Ten technologies that will change the world in 2013,” according to EETimes (December 2012 issue) were SoC-related. One is virtual SoC prototypes and the other i... » read more

Open IP Development Tools

By Pascal Chauvet How much time have you wasted trying to understand software tools by deciphering the logic of their creator? I always find it very frustrating to be limited by features and tool capabilities that do not do exactly what I want, or which do not work at all with my other applications. We are engineers! We can learn and adapt, but we often want to be able to extend and improve th... » read more

Coherently Incoherent: Dealing With Complexity

By Frank Ferro I was a bit frustrated this weekend after installing a digital light timer—yes a light timer. As an engineer this should be no big deal, and for the most part, I installed it without shocking myself or other major problems. This timer had all the bells and whistles. It knows about time zones, adjusts daily for dawn and dusk. It even adjusts for daylight savings time. The probl... » read more

You Get What You Want

By Frank Ferro Now that the iPhone 5 hype is quieting down, the discussion has turned to the A6 chip that is powering this must-have device. There is much speculation on what is inside the A6 processor. Is it a dual-core A15 or a custom architecture? Is it a ‘big.LITTLE’ architecture? What speed are cores running at—1.2GHz? Others argue that the graphics processor is of equal importance ... » read more

Verify This

By Frank Ferro Verify this? No, New Jersey in me is not coming out. This is not a pejorative; it is simply a request and a question. It is a request by SoC designers to the verification team. It is also the verification’s team response when they realize the enormity of the task: “You want me to verify this?” As I continue the discussion on the use of System IP for SoC design, one of ... » read more

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