Chiplet Momentum Builds, Despite Tradeoffs


Chip design is a series of tradeoffs. Some are technical, others are related to cost, competitive features or legal restrictions. But with the nascent 'chiplet' market, many of the established balance points are significantly altered, depending on market segments and ecosystem readiness. Chiplets provide an alternative mechanism for integrating intellectual property (IP) blocks into a semico... » read more

Raising The Abstraction Level For Power


Power-aware design is still a relatively new concern for many semiconductor products, and since inception it has changed several times and in different ways. Initially people were concerned about peak power. Today, they care about peak, total energy, thermal and other effects. The industry has tried several abstractions ranging from system-level analysis, which promised to swamp implementati... » read more

Defining Verification


There was a time when the notion of rigorous verification was seen as being unnecessary and even wasteful. I can remember early in my career working on flight control computers. We did no functional verification and created no models. We prototyped it and ran some engineering tests through it, primarily to structurally verify the system. We did not test the functionality of the system – that ... » read more

Digital Twins Deciphered


Ever since Siemens acquired Mentor Graphics in 2016, a new phrase has become more common in the semiconductor industry – the digital twin. Exactly what that is, and what impact it will have on the semiconductor industry, is less clear. In fact, many in the industry are scratching their heads over the term. The initial reaction is that the industry has been creating what are now termed digi... » read more

The Automation Of AI


Semiconductor Engineering sat down to discuss the role that EDA has in automating artificial intelligence and machine learning with Doug Letcher, president and CEO of Metrics; Daniel Hansson, CEO of Verifyter; Harry Foster, chief scientist verification for Mentor, a Siemens Business; Larry Melling, product management director for Cadence; Manish Pandey, Synopsys fellow; and Raik Brinkmann, CEO ... » read more

Chip Industry In Rapid Transition


Wally Rhines, CEO Emeritus at Mentor, a Siemens Business, sat down with Semiconductor Engineering to talk about global economics, AI, the growing emphasis on customization, and the impact of security and higher abstraction levels. What follows are excerpts of that conversation. SE: Where do you see the biggest changes happening across the chip industry? Rhines: 2018 was a hot year for fab... » read more

The Impact of Moore’s Law Ending


Over the past couple of process nodes the chip industry has come to grips with the fact that Moore's Law is slowing down or ending for many market segments. What isn't clear is what comes next, because even if chipmakers stay at older nodes they will face a series of new challenges that will drive up costs and increase design complexity. Chip design has faced a number of hurdles just to get ... » read more

Enabling Cheaper Design


While the EDA industry tends to focus on cutting edge designs, where design costs are a minor portion of the total cost of product, the electronics industry has a very long tail. The further along the tail you go, the more significant design costs become as a percent of total cost. Many of those designs are traditionally built using standard parts, such as microcontrollers, but as additional... » read more

Abstraction Aging


During the course of doing interviews for my article on system simulation and abstraction, I spoke to several people who, just like myself, had started their career pushing abstraction. At the time, we were all frustrated that the industry didn't move fast enough. The advantages of abstraction appeared to be so clear. Everyone developed slides showing that the cost to fix bugs increased the fur... » read more

Abstracting Abstracter Abstractions In Functional Verification


I heard a clear three-part message during DVCon at the end of February: verification engineers must abstractly embrace the abstract idea of abstracting abstract abstraction through higher levels of abstraction; we overuse the word abstract to emphasize the value of whatever verification technique we happen to be talking about; and the key to new abstractions is using Portable Stimulu... » read more

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