Increase In Analog Problems


Analog and mixed signal design has always been tough, but a resent survey suggests that the industry has seen significantly increased failures in the past year because the analog circuitry within an ASIC was out of tolerance. What is causing this spike in failures? Is it just a glitch in the data, or are these problems real? The answer is complicated, and to a large extent it depends heavily... » read more

Slower Metal Bogs Down SoC Performance


Metal interconnect delays are rising, offsetting some of the gains from faster transistors at each successive process node. Older architectures were born in a time when compute time was the limiter. But with interconnects increasingly viewed as the limiter on advanced nodes, there’s an opportunity to rethink how we build systems-on-chips (SoCs). ”Interconnect delay is a fundamental tr... » read more

Searching For Power Bugs


How much power is your design meant to consume while performing a particular function? For many designs, getting this right may separate success from failure, but knowing that right number is not as easy as it sounds. Significant gaps remain between what power analysis may predict and what silicon consumes. As fast as known gaps are closed, new challenges and demands are being placed on the ... » read more

Confusion Grows Over Packaging And Scaling


The push toward both multi-chip packaging and continued scaling of digital logic is creating confusion about how to classify designs, what design tools work best, and how to best improve productivity and meet design objectives. While the goals of design teams remains the same — better performance, lower power, lower cost — the choices often involve tradeoffs between design budgets and ho... » read more

Why Data Format Slows Chip Manufacturing Progress


The Standard Test Data Format (STDF), a workhorse data format used to pull test results data from automated test equipment, is running out of steam after 35 years. It is unable to keep up with the explosive increase in data generated by more sensors in various semiconductor manufacturing processes. First developed in 1985 by Teradyne, STDF is a binary format that is translated into ASCII or ... » read more

Demand Grows For Reducing PCB Defects


Board manufacturers are boosting their investment in inspection, test and analytics to meet the increasingly stringent demands for reliability in safety-critical sectors like automotive. This represents a significant shift from the past, where concerns about reliability primarily targeted the devices connected to printed circuit boards. But as SoCs become disaggregated into advanced packages... » read more

Scramble For The White Space


Chipmakers are pushing to utilize more of the unused portion of a design for different functions, reducing margin in the rest of the chip to more clearly define that white space. White space typically is used to relieve back-end routing congestion before all of the silicon area is used up. But a significant amount of space still remain unused. That provides an opportunity for inserting monit... » read more

The Quest To Make 5G Systems Reliable


Semiconductor Engineering sat down to discuss 5G reliability with Anthony Lord, director of RF product marketing at FormFactor; Noam Brousard, system vice president at proteanTecs; Andre van de Geijn, business development manager at yieldHUB; and David Hall, head of semiconductor marketing at National Instruments. What follows are excerpts of that conversation. SE: How do we measure the reli... » read more

Sensor Fusion Challenges In Cars


The automotive industry is zeroing in on sensor fusion as the best option for dealing with the complexity and reliability needed for increasingly autonomous vehicles, setting the stage for yet another shift in how data from multiple devices is managed and utilized inside a vehicle. The move toward greater autonomy has proved significantly more complicated than anyone expected at first. There... » read more

Are FPGAs More Secure Than Processors?


Security concerns often focus on software being executed on processors. But not all electronic functionality runs in software. FPGAs provide another way to do work, and they can be more secure than functions executed in software. FPGAs provide more control of hardware and are more opaque to attackers. In the case of embedded FPGAs, the designer is in complete control of the entire system. Th... » read more

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