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Targeting Redundancy In ICs


Technology developed for one purpose is often applicable to other areas, but organizational silos can get in the way of capitalizing on it until there is a clear cost advantage. Consider memory. All memories are fabricated with spare rows and columns that are swapped in when a device fails manufacturing test. "This is a common method to increase the yield of a device, based on how much memor... » read more

Thermal Floorplanning For Chips


Heat management is becoming crucial to an increasing number of chips, and it's one of a growing number of interconnected factors that must be considered throughout the entire development flow. At the same time, design requirements are exacerbating thermal problems. Those designs either have to increase margins or become more intelligent about the way heat is generated, distributed, and dissi... » read more

Power, Performance — Avionics Designers Want It All


Not long ago, the prevailing philosophy among chip designers for aviation systems could be summed up as, “I feel the need — the need for speed.” Today, aviation’s top guns have pulled back on the throttle a bit. There’s a more nuanced discussion balancing the need for performance versus power, with other factors coming into consideration such as safety, security certifications and ove... » read more

Customizing Chips For Power And Performance


Sandro Cerato, senior vice president and CTO of the Power & Sensor Systems Business Unit at Infineon Technologies, sat down with Semiconductor Engineering to talk about fundamental shifts in chip design with the rollout of the edge, AI, and more customized solutions. What follows are excerpts of that conversation. SE: The chip market is starting to fall into three distinct buckets, the e... » read more

Reliability Costs Becoming Harder To Track


Ensuring reliability in chips is becoming more complex and significantly more expensive, shifting left into the design cycle and right into the field. But those costs also are becoming more difficult to define and track, varying greatly from one design to the next based upon process node, package technology, market segment, and which fab or OSAT is used. As the number of options increases fo... » read more

Is There a Practical Test For Rowhammer Vulnerability?


Rowhammer is proving to be a difficult DRAM issue to fix. While efforts continue to mitigate or eliminate the effect, no solid solution has yet made it to volume production. In addition, more aggressive process nodes are expected to exacerbate the problem. In the absence of a fix, then, testing may be one way to give DRAM manufacturers and users some way to segregate devices that are more su... » read more

Digging Much Deeper With Unit Retest


Keeping test costs flat in the face of product complexity continues to challenge both product and test engineers. Increased data collection at package-level test and the ability to respond to it in a never-before level of detail has prompted device makers and assembly and test houses to tighten up their retest processes. Test metrology, socket contamination, and mechanical alignment have alw... » read more

The Case For FPGAs In Cars


Field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) thrive in rapidly evolving new markets before being replaced by hard-wired ASICs, but in automotive that crossover is likely to happen significantly later than in the past. Historically, FPGAs have held temporary positions until volumes increased enough to cost-reduce the FPGAs out in favor of a hardened version. With automobiles, there are so many chan... » read more

The Good And Bad Of Auto IC Updates


Keeping automobiles updated enough to avoid problems is becoming increasingly difficult as more complex electronics are added into vehicles, and as the lifetimes of those devices are extended to a decade or more. Modern vehicles are full of electronics. In fact, the value of electronic devices used in modern vehicles is expected to double in the next 10 years, growing to $469 billion by 2030... » read more

Startup Funding: May 2021


Big investment poured into AI hardware companies this month, with a focus on edge applications. Companies are experimenting with different architectures, including analog-focused devices and those that are capable of withstanding the harsh conditions of space. IP and EDA startups in China also drew funding as the country tries to create a full chip design ecosystem. Plus, PCB assembly, photonic... » read more

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