Chip Industry Week In Review


Absolics, an affiliate of Korea materials company SKC, will receive up to $75 million in direct funding under the U.S. CHIPS Act for the construction of a 120,000 square-foot facility in Covington, Georgia, for glass substrates in advanced packaging. imec will host a €2.5 billion (~$2.72B) pilot line for researching chips beyond 2nm, partially funded through the EU Chips Act. imec CEO Luc ... » read more

Will Domain-Specific ICs Become Ubiquitous?


Questions are surfacing for all types of design, ranging from small microcontrollers to leading-edge chips, over whether domain-specific design will become ubiquitous, or whether it will fall into the historic pattern of customization first, followed by lower-cost, general-purpose components. Custom hardware always has been a double-edged sword. It can provide a competitive edge for chipmake... » read more

Multi-Die Design Pushes Complexity To The Max


Multi-die/multi-chiplet design has thrown a wrench into the ability to manage design complexity, driving up costs per transistor, straining market windows, and sending the entire chip industry scrambling for new tools and methodologies. For multiple decades, the entire semiconductor design ecosystem — from EDA and IP providers to foundries and equipment makers — has evolved with the assu... » read more

Dealing With AI/ML Uncertainty


Despite their widespread popularity, large language models (LLMs) have several well-known design issues, the most notorious being hallucinations, in which an LLM tries to pass off its statistics-based concoctions as real-world facts. Hallucinations are examples of a fundamental, underlying issue with LLMs. The inner workings of LLMs, as well as other deep neural nets (DNNs), are only partly kno... » read more

Is There Any Hope For Asynchronous Design?


In an era when power has become a fundamental design constraint, questions persist about whether asynchronous logic has a role to play. It is a design style said to have significant benefits and yet has never resulted in more than a few experiments. Synchronous design utilizes a clock, where the clock frequency is set by the longest and slowest path in the design. That includes potential var... » read more

The Path Toward Future Automotive EE Architectures


From a semiconductor market perspective, all eyes are on the automotive domain. According to Gartner, as of 2023, the automotive market is now its second-largest segment, with about 14% of the demand. Only smartphones consume more. As I mused last month in "Automotive Semiconductor March Madness 2024," those who made a bet on automotive a decade or longer ago are pretty happy these days. Still,... » read more

Chip Industry Week In Review


Applied Materials may scale back or cancel its $4 billion new Silicon Valley R&D facility in light of the U.S. government's recent announcement to reduce funding for construction, modernization, or expansion of semiconductor research and development (R&D) facilities in the United States, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. TSMC could receive up to $6.6 billion in direct funding... » read more

NoCs In 3D Space


A network on chip (NoC) has become an essential piece of technology that enables the complexity of chips to keep growing, but when designs go 3D, or when third-party chiplets become pervasive, it's not clear how NoCs will evolve or what the impact will be on chiplet architectures. A NoC enables data to move between heterogeneous computing elements, while at the same time minimizing the resou... » read more

Cache Coherency In Heterogeneous Systems


Until recently, coherency was something normally associated with DRAM. But as chip designs become increasingly heterogeneous, incorporating more and different types of compute elements, it becomes harder to maintain coherency in that data without taking a significant hit on performance and power. The basic problem is that not all compute elements fetch and share data at the same speed, and syst... » read more

Automotive Semiconductor March Madness 2024


As the US is amid "Basketball March Madness" – hard to ignore when you live in Silicon Valley – it also felt like the month of "Automotive Madness." We saw numerous announcements and events across the design chain, from semiconductor IP to software and IP providers to automotive OEMs. And in all of them, data-transport architectures, and with that networks-on-chips (NoCs), are critical. Ma... » read more

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