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

Memory Tradeoffs Intensify in AI, Automotive Applications


The push to do more processing at the edge is putting a strain on memory design, use models and configurations, leading to some complex tradeoffs in designs across a variety of markets. The problem is these architectures are evolving alongside these new markets, and it isn't always clear how data will move across these chips, between devices, and between systems. Chip architectures are becom... » read more

Using Analog For AI


If the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. But development of artificial intelligence (AI) applications and the compute platforms for them may be overlooking an alternative technology—analog. The semiconductor industry has a firm understanding of digital electronics and has been very successful making it scale. It is predictable, has good yield, and while every de... » read more

Gearing Up For 5G


5G has been touted as the new enabler for many market segments, including mobile phones, automotive, virtual reality, and IoT. But there are many questions and much speculation about when and how this new wireless standard will impact different market segments and what effect it will have on semiconductor design. With a promise of orders of magnitude improvement in communication speed an... » read more

Adapting Mobile To A Post-Moore’s Law Era


The slowdown in Moore's Law is having a big impact on chips designed for the mobile market, where battery-powered devices need to still improve performance with lower power. This hasn't slowed down performance or power improvements, but it has forced chipmakers and systems companies to approach designs differently. And while feature shrinks will continue for the foreseeable future, they are ... » read more

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