What Makes A Chip Design Successful Today?


"Transistors are free" was the rallying cry of the semiconductor industry during the 1990s and early 2000s. That is no longer true. The end of Dennard scaling made the simultaneous use of all the transistors troublesome, but transistors remained effectively unlimited. This led to an era where large amounts of flexibility could be built into a chip. It didn't matter if all of it was being use... » read more

Impacts Of Reliability On Power And Performance


Making sure a complex system performs as planned, and providing proper access to memories, requires a series of delicate tradeoffs that often were ignored in the past. But with performance improvements increasingly tied to architectures and microarchitectures, rather than just scaling to the next node, approaches such as determinism and different kinds of caching increasingly are becoming criti... » read more

How To Improve Analog Design Reuse


Digital circuit design is largely automated today, but most analog components still are designed manually. This may change soon. As analog design grows increasingly complex and error-prone, design teams and tool vendors are focusing on how to automate as much of the design of analog circuits as possible. Analog design is notoriously difficult and varied. It can include anything from power ma... » read more

Design For Advanced Packaging


Advanced packaging techniques are viewed as either a replacement for Moore's Law scaling, or a way of augmenting it. But there is a big gap between the extensive work done to prove these devices can be manufactured with sufficient yield and the amount of attention being paid to the demands advanced packaging has on the design and verification flows. Not all advanced packaging places the same... » read more

Taming NBTI To Improve Device Reliability


Negative-bias temperature instability is a growing issue at the most advanced process nodes, but it also has proven extremely difficult to tame using conventional approaches. That finally may be starting to change. NBTI is an aging mechanism in field-effect transistors that leads to a change of the characteristic curves of a transistor during operation. The result can be a drift toward unint... » read more

Computing Way Outside Of A Box


Mike Muller, CTO of Arm, sat down with Semiconductor Engineering to talk about changing boundaries between client and server machines, the end of Moore's Law and the impact of machine learning on chip architectures. What follows are excerpts of that conversation. SE: Are the lines blurring between what's considered a client device and what's considered a server? Muller: It's less about a ... » read more

The Building Blocks Of Future Compute


Eric Hennenhoefer, vice president of research at Arm, sat down with Semiconductor Engineering to talk about privacy, security, high-performance computing, accelerators, and Arm’s research. What follows are excerpts of that conversation. SE: Privacy, cybersecurity, silicon photonics, quantum computing are all hot topics today. What do you find really interesting with these emerging areas? ... » read more

RISC-V: More Than a Core


The open-source RISC-V instruction set architecture (ISA) is attracting a lot of attention across the semiconductor industry, but its long-term success will depend on levels of cooperation never seen before in the semiconductor industry. The big question now is how committed the industry is to RISC-V's success. The real value that RISC-V brings is the promise of an ecosystem and the opportun... » read more

Power Issues Grow For Cloud Chips


Performance levels in traditional or hyperscale data centers are being limited by power and heat caused by an increasing number of processors, memory, disk and operating systems within servers. The problem is so complex and intertwined, though, that solving it requires a series of steps that hopefully add up to a significant reduction across a system. But at 7nm and below, predicting exactly... » read more

Reliability, Machine Learning And Advanced Packaging


Semiconductor Engineering sat down to discuss reliability, resilience, machine learning and advanced packaging with Rahul Goyal, vice president in the technology and manufacturing group at Intel; Rob Aitken, R&D fellow at Arm; John Lee, vice president and general manager of the semiconductor business unit at ANSYS; and Lluis Paris, director of IP portfolio marketing at TSMC. What follows ar... » read more

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