Synthesizing Hardware From Software


The ability to automatically generate optimized hardware from software was one of the primary tenets of system-level design automation that was never fully achieved. The question now is whether that will ever happen, and whether it is just a matter of having the right technology or motivation to make it possible. While high-level synthesis (HLS) did come out of this work and has proven to be... » read more

What Is A Custom Processor?


Spurred by the latest cyclical development boom, the semiconductor industry is entering a new golden era of custom processors, but this time ‘custom processor’ means something different. A generation ago, every major semiconductor company had in-house processors: SuperH, PowerPC, V800, Alpha, MEP, Trimedia, etc., with some specializing more than others for particular domains. But industr... » read more

Chiplets, Faster Interconnects, More Efficiency


Big chipmakers are turning to architectural improvements such as chiplets, faster throughput both on-chip and off-chip, and concentrating more work per operation or cycle, in order to ramp up processing speeds and efficiency. Taken as a whole, this represents a significant shift in direction for the major chip companies. All of them are wrestling with massive increases in processing demands ... » read more

Blog Review: Aug. 21


Cadence's Paul McLellan considers the path to autonomous vehicles and the many barriers that stand in the way. Mentor's Colin Walls notes that the fundamental function of an RTOS is to give the developer control of time and points to some of the time oriented services that assist. Synopsys' Taylor Armerding points to ways the financial services industry could improve cybersecurity, from u... » read more

GaN Versus Silicon For 5G


The global race to launch 5G mmWave frequencies could provide a long-anticipated market opportunity for gallium nitride (GaN) as an alternative to silicon. GaN is more power-efficient than silicon for 5G RF. In fact, GaN has been the heir apparent to silicon in 5G power amplifiers for years, especially when it comes to mmWave 5G networks. What makes it so attractive is its ability to efficie... » read more

Blog Review: Aug. 14


Cadence's Paul McLellan digs into Mary Meeker's analysis of Internet trends, from growth of the Inernet as a whole to cyber attacks, online finance, and the gig economy. Synopsys' Taylor Armerding warns that the financial services industry is aware of cybersecurity threats, but isn't doing enough to protect its networks and data. Mentor's Colin Walls considers a few cases where writing in... » read more

Debug Tools Are Improving


Semiconductor Engineering sat down to discuss debugging complex SoCs with Randy Fish, vice president of strategic accounts and partnerships for UltraSoC; Larry Melling, product management director for Cadence; Mark Olen, senior product marketing manager for Mentor, a Siemens Business; and Dominik Strasser, vice president of engineering for OneSpin Solutions. Part one can be found here. Part two... » read more

Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test


Fab tools Lam Research has rolled out two new tools for use in the production of 3D NAND. The first tool, called the VECTOR DT, is geared for backside deposition. The second system, the EOS GS, is a wet etch tool for film removal on backside and bevel. Designed to control the wafer bow in 3D NAND manufacturing, the VECTOR DT system is the latest addition to Lam’s plasma-enhanced chemical ... » read more

Week In Review: Design, Low Power


Synopsys will acquire QTronic GmbH, a provider of simulation, test tools, and services for automotive software and systems development. Based in Germany, QTronic was founded in 2006 and makes a virtual ECU platform as well as a test automation solution with test case generator. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. VeriSilicon uncorked VIP9000, a highly scalable and programmable processor fo... » read more

Optimizing Power For Learning At The Edge


Learning on the edge is seen as one of the Holy Grails of machine learning, but today even the cloud is struggling to get computation done using reasonable amounts of power. Power is the great enabler—or limiter—of the technology, and the industry is beginning to respond. "Power is like an inverse pyramid problem," says Johannes Stahl, senior director of product marketing at Synopsys. "T... » read more

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