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

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

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

Raising The Abstraction Level For Power


Power-aware design is still a relatively new concern for many semiconductor products, and since inception it has changed several times and in different ways. Initially people were concerned about peak power. Today, they care about peak, total energy, thermal and other effects. The industry has tried several abstractions ranging from system-level analysis, which promised to swamp implementati... » read more

Designing For The Edge


Chip and system architectures are beginning to change as the tech industry comes to grips with the need to process more data locally for latency, safety, and privacy/security reasons. The emergence of the intelligent edge is an effort to take raw data from endpoints, extract the data that requires immediate action, and forward other data to various local, regional or commercial clouds. The b... » read more

Target: 50% Reduction In Memory Power


Memory consumes about 50% or more of the area and about 50% of the power of an SoC, and those percentages are likely to increase. The problem is that static random access memory (SRAM) has not scaled in accordance with Moore's Law, and that will not change. In addition, with many devices not chasing the latest node and with power becoming an increasing concern, the industry must find ways to... » read more

Low Power Meets Variability At 7/5nm


Power-related issues are beginning to clash with process variation at 7/5nm, making timing closure more difficult and resulting in re-spins caused by unexpected errors and poor functional yield. Variability is becoming particularly troublesome at advanced nodes, and there are multiple causes of that variability. One of the key ones is the manufacturing process, which can be affected by every... » read more

Optimization Challenges For Safety And Security


Complexity challenges long-held assumptions. In the past, the semiconductor industry thought it understood performance/area tradeoffs, but over time it became clear this is not so simple. Measuring performance is no longer an absolute. Power has many dimensions including peak, average, total energy and heat, and power and function are tied together. Design teams are now dealing with the impl... » read more

The Growing Challenge Of Thermal Guard-Banding


Guard-banding for heat is becoming more difficult as chips are used across a variety of new and existing applications, forcing chipmakers to architect their way through increasingly complex interactions. Chips are designed to operate at certain temperatures, and it is common practice to develop designs with some margin to ensure correct functionality and performance throughout the operat... » read more

Using Less Power At The Same Node


Going to the next node has been the most effective way to reduce power, but that is no longer true or desirable for a growing percentage of the semiconductor industry. So the big question now is how to reduce power while maintaining the same node size. After understanding how the power is used, both chip designers and fabs have techniques available to reduce power consumption. Fabs are makin... » read more

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