The Week in Review: IoT

Finance Toronto-based Ecobee, which markets smart thermostats, raised $61 million in its Series C funding, bringing the total funding for the 11-year-old company to $146 million. Energy Impact Partners led the new round and was joined by Amazon’s Alexa Fund, Relay Ventures, and Thomvest. Ecobee counts Nest Labs, the Google subsidiary, as its chief rival. ThoughtWire, also headquartered in... » 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

GDDR6 PHYs: From The Data Center To Self-Driving Cars

The demand for ever-increasing bandwidth has resulted in a growing interest in GDDR across a number of market verticals, including data centers and the automotive sector. As an example of the former, deep learning applications require ever-increasing speed and bandwidth memory solutions in the data center. In deep learning and other emerging technologies, GDDR memory can help companies addre... » read more

Turning Down The Power

Chip and system designers are giving greater weight to power issues these days. But will they inevitably hit a wall in accounting for ultra-low-power considerations? Performance, power, and area are the traditional attributes in chip design. Area was originally the main priority, with feature sizes constantly shrinking according to Moore's Law. Performance was in the saddle for many years. M... » read more

Optimizing The Data Center With PCI Express 4.0

PCI Express (Peripheral Component Interconnect Express), also known as PCIe, is a high-speed serial computer expansion bus standard designed to replace older PCI, PCI-X and AGP bus standards. Officially launched in 2003, PCIe was rapidly adopted by chip, system and software designers and emerged as the dominant interface standard for connecting peripherals to the CPU. Modern CPUs rely on the... » read more

Big Challenges, Changes For Debug

By Ann Steffora Mutschler & Ed Sperling Debugging a chip always has been difficult, but the problem is getting worse at 7nm and 5nm. The number of corner cases is exploding as complexity rises, and some bugs are not even on anyone's radar until well after devices are already in use by end customers. An estimated 39% of verification engineering time is spent on debugging activities the... » read more

More Volatility Ahead

The entire semiconductor industry had a wild ride on the stock market this week, plunging on Wednesday and recovering on Thursday. This is just a sign of things to come. The cause of this week's volatility can be tied directly to a Morgan Stanley report, which said that NAND prices have peaked and will begin dropping at the beginning of 2018 because supply has caught up with demand. The repo... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: Oct. 17

Harvesting body heat Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology developed a flexible, wearable thermoelectric generator that can harvest energy from body heat to power simple biosensors. Thermoelectric generators have been available for decades, but standard designs use inflexible inorganic materials that are too toxic for use in wearable devices. The team's device uses thousands... » read more

The Week In Review: Design

Storage Western Digital uncorked disk drives based upon microwave-assisted magnetic recording technology. MAMR technology is one of two energy-assisted technologies the company has under development, the other being heat-assisted magnetic recording. Of the two, Western Digital said only MAMR has achieved the reliability required in data centers. The company noted that densities of its MAMR dev... » read more

New Materials For Computing

The U.S. Department of Energy rolled out a new program to develop materials for "extreme conditions" for high-performance computing, setting the stage for much more mobile versions of AI and machine learning. This effort, if successful, has interesting implications on a number of levels. For one, the DOE's mandate includes everything from energy security to weaponry, and high-performance com... » read more

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