The Challenge Of RISC-V Compliance


The open-source RISC-V instruction set architecture (ISA) continues to gain momentum, but the flexibility of RISC-V creates a problem—how do you know if a RISC-V implementation fits basic standards and can play well with other implementations so they all can run the same ecosystem? In addition, how do you ensure that ecosystem development works for all implementations and that all cores that ... » read more

The Problem With Post-Silicon Debug


Semiconductor engineers traditionally have focused on trying to create 'perfect' GDSII at tape-out, but factors such as hardware-software interactions, increasingly heterogeneous designs, and the introduction of AI are forcing companies to rethink that approach. In the past, chipmakers typically banked on longer product cycles and multiple iterations of silicon to identify problems. This no ... » read more

Can Debug Be Tamed?


Debug consumes more time than any other aspect of the chip design and verification process, and it adds uncertainty and risk to semiconductor development because there are always lingering questions about whether enough bugs were caught in the allotted amount of time. Recent figures suggest that the problem is getting worse, too, as complexity and demand for reliability continue to rise. The... » read more

Week In Review: Design, Low Power


Tools OneSpin unveiled a set of formal apps for development and assessment of RISC-V cores. The RISC-V Integrity Verification Solution formalizes the RISC-V ISA in a set of SystemVerilog Assertions to verify compliance for the ISA is met. It provides a formal bug absence core assessment environment for unbounded proofs and systematic discovery of all hidden instructions or unintended side effe... » read more

EDA Grabs Bigger Slice Of Chip Market


EDA revenues have been a fairly constant percentage of semiconductor revenues, but that may change in 2019. With new customers creating demand, and some traditional customers shifting focus from advanced nodes, the various branches of the EDA tool industry may be where sticky technical problems are solved. IC manufacturing, packaging and development tools all are finding new ways to handle t... » read more

Making Autonomous Vehicles Safer


While self-driving vehicles are beta-tested on some public roads in real traffic situations, the semiconductor and automotive industries are still getting a grip on how to test and verify that vehicle electronics systems work as expected. Testing can be high stakes, especially when done in public. Some of the predictions about how humans will interact with autonomous vehicles (AVs) on public... » read more

AV Testing Advances Without Standards


The failure of the AV START Act in the United States Senate did more than just delay U.S. federal regulations for self-driving car technology that has yet to progress beyond the pilot-test stage. It delayed discussions that could have narrowed the almost infinite number of choices automated vehicles (AVs) must be prepared to make by creating guidelines defining what constitutes "safe" operat... » read more

Fundamental Shifts In 2018


What surprised the industry in 2018?  While business has been strong, markets are changing, product categories are shifting and clouds are forming on the horizon. As 2018 comes to a close, most companies are pretty happy with the way everything turned out. Business has been booming, new product categories developing, and profits are meeting or beating market expectations. "2018 was indeed a... » read more

Debug Tops Verification Tasks


Verification engineers are spending an increased percentage of their time in debug — 44%, according to a recent survey by the Wilson Research Group. There are a variety or reasons for this, including the fact that some SoCs are composed of hundreds of internally developed and externally purchased IP blocks and subsystems. New system architectures contribute to the mix, some of which are be... » read more

What Makes A Chip Design Successful Today?


"Transistors are free" was the rallying cry of the semiconductor industry during the 1990s and early 2000s. That is no longer true. The end of Dennard scaling made the simultaneous use of all the transistors troublesome, but transistors remained effectively unlimited. This led to an era where large amounts of flexibility could be built into a chip. It didn't matter if all of it was being use... » read more

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