Designing Resilient Electronics


Electronic systems in automobiles, airplanes and other industrial applications are becoming increasingly sophisticated and complex, required to perform an expanding list of functions while also becoming smaller and lighter. As a result, pressure is growing to design extremely high-performance chips with lower energy consumption and less sensitivity to harsh environmental conditions. If this ... » read more

Battling Persistent Hacks At The Flash Level


Hardware vendors are beginning to close up security vulnerabilities across a broader range of technology than in the past, a sign that they are taking potential hardware breaches much more seriously. Awareness of security flaws has been growing since the introduction of Meltdown, Spectre and Foreshadow, and more recently, the Cable Haunt attack. The general conclusion among chipmakers is tha... » read more

Week In Review: Auto, Security, Pervasive Computing


AI The European Union put out a white paper about artificial intelligence. The United States Chief Technology Officer Michael Kratsios criticized the EU stance on Thursday as clumsy. "We found, what they actually put out yesterday, really, I think, in some ways clumsily attempts to bucket AI-powered technologies as either ‘high-risk’ or ‘not high-risk,’” he said, according to a news ... » read more

The MCU Dilemma


The humble microcontroller is getting squeezed on all sides. While most of the semiconductor industry has been able to take advantage of Moore's Law, the MCU market has faltered because flash memory does not scale beyond 40nm. At the same time, new capabilities such as voice activation and richer sensor networks are requiring inference engines to be integrated for some markets. In others, re... » read more

Non-Volatile Memory Tradeoffs Intensify


Non-volatile memory is becoming more complicated at advanced nodes, where price, speed, power and utilization are feeding into some very application-specific tradeoffs about where to place that memory. NVM can be embedded into a chip, or it can be moved off chip with various types of interconnect technology. But that decision is more complicated than it might first appear. It depends on the ... » read more

Analog: Avoid Or Embrace?


We live in an analog world, but digital processing has proven quicker, cheaper and easier. Moving digital data around is only possible while the physics of wires can be safely abstracted away enough to provide reliable communications. As soon as a signal passes off-chip, the analog domain reasserts control for modern systems. Each of those transitions requires a data converter. The usage ... » read more

Managing Power Dynamically


Design teams are beginning to consider dynamic power management techniques as a way of pushing the limits on performance and low power, leveraging approaches that were sidelined in the past because they were considered too difficult to deploy. Dynamic voltage and frequency scaling (DVFS), in particular, has resurfaced as a useful approach. Originally intended to dynamically balance performan... » read more

Why Standard Memory Choices Are So Confusing


System architects increasingly are developing custom memory architectures based upon specific use cases, adding to the complexity of the design process even though the basic memory building blocks have been around for more than half a century. The number of tradeoffs has skyrocketed along with the volume of data. Memory bandwidth is now a gating factor for applications, and traditional memor... » read more

Week In Review: Design, Low Power


M&A eSilicon will be acquired by Inphi Corporation and Synopsys. Inphi is acquiring the majority of the company, including the ASIC business and 56/112G SerDes design and related IP, for $216 million in both cash and the assumption of debt. Inphi expects to combine its DSP, TiA, Driver and SiPho products with eSilicon’s 2.5D packaging and custom silicon design capabilities for electro-optics... » read more

Power Complexity On The Rise


New chip architectures and custom applications are adding significant challenges to chip design and verification, and the problems are becoming much more complex as low power is added into the mix. Power always has been a consideration in design, but in the past it typically involved different power domains that were either on, off, or in some level of sleep mode. As hardware architectures s... » read more

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