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Firmware Skills Shortage


Good hardware without good software is a waste of silicon, but with so many new processors and accelerator architectures being created, and so many new skills required, companies are finding it hard to hire enough engineers with low-level software expertise to satisfy the demand. Writing compilers, mappers and optimization software does not have the same level of pizazz as developing new AI ... » read more

When Is Verification Done?


Even with the billions of dollars spent on R&D for EDA tools, and tens of billions more on verification labor, only 30% to 50% of ASIC designs are first time right, according to Wilson Research Group and Siemens EDA. Even then, these designs still have bugs. They’re just not catastrophic enough to cause a re-spin. This means more efficient verification is needed. Until then, verificati... » read more

Big Challenges In Verifying Cyber-Physical Systems


Semiconductor Engineering sat down to discuss cyber-physical systems and how to verify them with Jean-Marie Brunet, senior director for the Emulation Division at Siemens EDA; Frank Schirrmeister, senior group director for solution marketing at Cadence; Maurizio Griva, R&D Manager at Reply; and Laurent Maillet-Coutoz, system and architect specialist at STMicroelectronics. This discussion was... » read more

Part Average Tests For Auto ICs Not Good Enough


Part Average Testing (PAT) has long been used in automotive. For some semiconductor technologies it remains viable, while for others it is no longer good enough. Automakers are bracing for chips developed at advanced process nodes with much trepidation. Tight control of their supply chains and a reliance upon mature electronic processes so far have enabled them to increase electronic compone... » read more

Brazil Paves New Semiconductor Path


After struggling to get its semiconductor industry off the ground for the last several years, Brazil finally may have found its place in the market with the development of IC design services, memory modules and packaging. Brazil exists well under the radar when it comes to semiconductors. But with little or no fanfare, the nation over the years has been trying to build fabs, assemble chips a... » read more

Shortages, Challenges Engulf Packaging Supply Chain


A surge in demand for chips is impacting the IC packaging supply chain, causing shortages of select manufacturing capacity, various package types, key components, and equipment. Spot shortages in packaging surfaced in late 2020 and have since spread to other sectors. There are now a variety of choke points in the supply chain. Wirebond and flip-chip capacity will remain tight throughout 2021... » read more

Power Converter Chip Research Booms


Power electronics are booming, fueled by demand ranging from induction chargers for wearable and portable electronics, to charging stagings for electric vehicles. An estimated 80% of all U.S. electricity will pass through some form of power converter by 2030, said Yogesh Ramadass, director of power management at Texas Instruments' Kilby Labs. Transportation applications, in particular, deman... » read more

FeFETs Bring Promise And Challenges


Ferroelectric FETs (FeFETs) and memory (FeRAM) are generating high levels of interest in the research community. Based on a physical mechanism that hasn’t yet been commercially exploited, they join the other interesting new physics ideas that are in various stages of commercialization. “FeRAM is very promising, but it's like all promising memory technologies — it takes a while to get b... » read more

Usage Models Driving Data Center Architecture Changes


Data center architectures are undergoing a significant change, fueled by more data and much greater usage from remote locations. Part of this shift involves the need to move some processing closer to the various memory hierarchies, from SRAM to DRAM to storage. There is more data to process, and it takes less energy and time to process that data in place. But workloads also are being distrib... » read more

The Problem With Benchmarks


Benchmarks long have been used to compare products, but what makes a good benchmark and who should be trusted with their creation? The answer to those questions is more difficult than it may appear on the surface, and some benchmarks are being used in surprising ways. Everyone loves a simple, clear benchmark, but that is only possible when the selection criteria are equally simple. Unfortuna... » read more

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