Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test


Materials A major setback has been dealt to the United States’ efforts to develop rare earths. The U.S. is attempting to develop its own supply of rare earths, hoping to reduce its reliance on China. China controls nearly 90% of the world’s rare earths, which are used in magnets and various electronic systems. In April, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) awarded two U.S.-based firms, Lyn... » read more

The Increasingly Ordinary Task Of Verifying RISC-V


As RISC-V processor development matures and its usage in SoCs and microcontrollers grows, engineering teams are starting to look beyond the challenges of the processor core itself. So far, the majority of industry verification efforts have focused on ISA compliance to standardize the RISC-V core. Now the focus is shifting to be how to handle verification as the system grows, especially as this... » read more

Using Processor Trace At The System Level


The race to process more data faster using less power is creating a series of debug challenges at the system level, where developers need to be able to trace interactions across multiple and often heterogeneous processing elements that may function independently of each other. In general, trace is a hardware debug feature that allows the run-time behavior of IP to be monitored. More specific... » read more

Will Open-Source Processors Cause A Verification Shift?


While the promised flexibility of open source could have advantages and possibilities for processors and SoCs, where does the industry stand on verification approaches and methodologies from here? Single-source ISAs of the past relied on general industry verification technologies and methodologies, but open-source ISA-based processor users and adopters will need to review the verification flows... » read more

Week in Review: IoT, Security, Autos


Products/Services Rambus reports completing the sale of its Payments and Ticketing businesses to Visa for $75 million in cash. “With 30 years of experience pushing the envelope in semiconductor design, we look toward a future of continued innovation to carry on our mission of making data faster and safer,” Rambus President and CEO Luc Seraphin said in a statement. “Completing this transa... » read more

Open ISAs Gaining Traction


Open instruction set architectures are starting to gain a foothold, often in combination with other processors, as chipmakers begin to add more specialized compute elements and more flexibility into their designs. There are a number of these open ISAs available today, including Power, MIPS, and RISC-V, and there are a number of permutations and tools available for sale based on those archite... » read more

RISC-V Pros And Cons


Simpler, faster, lower-power hardware with a free, open, simple instruction set architecture? While it sounds too good to be true, efforts are underway to do just that with RISC-V, the instruction-set architecture (ISA) developed by UC Berkeley engineers and now administered by a foundation. It has been known for some time that with [getkc id="74" comment="Moore's Law"] not offering the same... » read more

Supporting CPUs Plus FPGAs (Part 3)


While it has been possible to pair a CPU and FPGA for quite some time, two things have changed recently. First, the industry has reduced the latency of the connection between them and second, we now appear to have the killer app for this combination. Semiconductor Engineering sat down to discuss these changes and the state of the tool chain to support this combination, with Kent Orthner, system... » read more

How Cache Coherency Impacts Power, Performance


As discussed in part one, one of the reasons cache coherency is becoming more important is the shared common memory resource in designs today. Various agents in the design want to access the data the fastest they can, putting pressure on the CPU complex to manage all of the requests. Until a generation ago, it was okay for the CPU to control that memory and have access to it, as well as be t... » read more

Will Open-Source Work For Chips?


Open source is getting a second look by the semiconductor industry, driven by the high cost of design at complex nodes along with fragmentation in end markets, which increasingly means that one size or approach no longer fits all. The open source movement, as we know it today, started in the 1980s with the launch of the GNU project, which was about the time the electronic design automation (... » read more

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