Power/Performance Bits: May 15


Aluminum battery materials Scientists from ETH Zurich and Empa identified two new materials that could boost the development of aluminum batteries, a potential low cost, materially abundant option for temporary storage of renewable energy. The first is a corrosion-resistant material for the conductive parts of the battery; the second is a novel material for the battery's positive pole that ... » read more

The Case For Chiplets


Discussion about chiplets is growing as the cost of developing chips at 10/7nm and beyond passes well beyond the capabilities of many chipmakers. Estimates for developing 5nm chips (the equivalent 3nm for TSMC and Samsung) are well into the hundreds of millions of dollars just for the NRE costs alone. Masks costs will be in the double-digit millions of dollars even with EUV. And that's assum... » read more

Toward Autonomous Farming


While the automotive industry works diligently towards self-driving vehicles, it's possible the carrots you've eaten recently were semi-autonomously planted and harvested with Case IH equipment by Bolthouse Farms, one of the largest carrot growers in the United States. And the U.S. is hardly alone. Autonomous agriculture is coming everywhere, and it's happening much faster than autonomous ca... » read more

Ayar Labs: Faster I/O


Startup AyarLabs is using a combination of high-bandwidth fiberoptics, low-cost CMOS fabrication and careful target selection to strike efficiently at the datacenter's worst bottleneck. "Moore's Law only covers the processor, not how we move data in and out of it during processing or how to get the processor and memory working at the same speed," according to Alexandra Wright-Gladstein, co-f... » read more

Blog Review: Feb. 7


Cadence's Paul McLellan checks out why DARPA's excited about open-source IP at last year's RISC-V conference. Synopsys' Richard Solomon checks out what's new in PCIe 4.0, from the 16GT/s data rate to lane margining. Mentor's Colin Walls shares another set of tips for embedded software developers, including when to use [ ] and exception handling. Arm's Jason Andrews presents a tutorial ... » read more

Walk A Mile In Their Shoes


To most of us, when we think about how artificial intelligence (AI) enhances our mobility, the most top-of-mind examples might be how our smart phones respond to voice commands when we ask for directions to the nearest coffee shop or the current weather at the location to which we’re heading. But for people missing limbs, AI has the potential to give them the mobility that they might never ha... » read more

Manufacturing Bits: Jan. 30


SRC’s new R&D centers The Semiconductor Research Corp. has launched a network of research centers within its recently-announced Joint University Microelectronics Program (JUMP). SRC officially launched the 5-year, $200 million program on Jan. 1. With various research centers, the mission of JUMP is to lay the groundwork that extends the viability of Moore’s Law through 2040. The idea is... » read more

System Bits: Jan. 16


Nitrogen-atom-sized sensors A new quantum sensor developed by Fraunhofer researchers will be able to measure the tiny magnetic fields of the next generation of hard discs, leveraging the new opportunities that quantum technology promises. [caption id="attachment_430671" align="aligncenter" width="300"] The special ellipsoid form of the plasma reactor developed at Fraunhofer IAF allows for l... » read more

Getting Serious About Chiplets


Demand for increasingly complex computation, more features, lower power, and shorter lifecycles are prompting chipmakers to examine how standardized hard IP can be used to quickly assemble systems for specific applications. The idea of using chiplets, with or without a package, has been circulating for at least a half-dozen years, and they can trace their origin back to IBM's packaging schem... » read more

Reflection On 2017: Design And EDA


People love to make predictions, and most of the time they have it easy, but at Semiconductor Engineering, we ask them to look back on the predictions they make each year and to assess how close to the mark they were. We see what they missed and what surprised them. Not everyone accepts our offer to grade themselves, but most have this year. (Part one looked at the predictions associated with s... » read more

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