The Impact of Moore’s Law Ending


Over the past couple of process nodes the chip industry has come to grips with the fact that Moore's Law is slowing down or ending for many market segments. What isn't clear is what comes next, because even if chipmakers stay at older nodes they will face a series of new challenges that will drive up costs and increase design complexity. Chip design has faced a number of hurdles just to get ... » read more

Autonomous Vehicles: IC Design Flow Walk Through


Automotive applications, particularly those related to AI and computer vision, are a significant driver of the current semiconductor boom. Established companies are mostly thriving, it’s true, but perhaps more interesting are all the new faces in the game. As usual, Mentor CEO Wally Rhines is one of the great sense-makers of the all this activity. Wally has been making the rounds at variou... » read more

Enabling Cheaper Design


While the EDA industry tends to focus on cutting edge designs, where design costs are a minor portion of the total cost of product, the electronics industry has a very long tail. The further along the tail you go, the more significant design costs become as a percent of total cost. Many of those designs are traditionally built using standard parts, such as microcontrollers, but as additional... » read more

Is Software Necessary?


Hardware must be capable of running any software. While that might have been a good mantra when chips were relatively simple, it becomes an impossible verification task when dealing with SoCs that contain dozens of deeply embedded processors. When does it become necessary to use production software and what problems can that get you into? When verification targets such as power are added, it... » read more

Synthesizing Computer Vision Designs To Hardware


Computer vision is one of the hottest markets in electronic design today. Digital processing of images and video with complex algorithms in order to interpret meaning has almost as many applications and markets as there are uses for the human eye. The biggest problem that designers face is that the computer vision system requirements and algorithms change quickly and often. Even the targ... » read more

Accelerate Computer Vision Design Using High-Level Synthesis


Computer vision solutions are all around us, in cars, consumer products, security, retail, and agriculture. But, designing these solutions is not easy, mainly because of constant algorithm upgrades and related requirements changes. This means that wherever the team is in the RTL creation and verification flow, they might have to start over, which can cause an unacceptable delay in the productio... » read more

Design Reuse Vs. Abstraction


Chip designers have been constantly searching for a hardware description language abstraction level higher than RTL for a few decades. But not everyone is moving in that direction, and there appear to be enough options available through design reuse to forestall that shift for many chipmakers. Pushing to new levels of abstraction is frequent topic of discussion in the design world, particula... » read more

Abstraction Aging


During the course of doing interviews for my article on system simulation and abstraction, I spoke to several people who, just like myself, had started their career pushing abstraction. At the time, we were all frustrated that the industry didn't move fast enough. The advantages of abstraction appeared to be so clear. Everyone developed slides showing that the cost to fix bugs increased the fur... » read more

IoT Wireless Battles Ahead


"The good thing about standards is that there are so many to choose from." – Andrew S. Tanebaum The extended version of that quote adds "furthermore, if you do not like any of them, you can just wait for next year's model." That could not be truer when it comes to IoT and wireless connectivity. Every standards group is rushing to create new versions of existing standards that use less p... » read more

Electronic System-Level Design: Are We There Yet?


I am writing this while attending NI Week in Austin and am admittedly wowed by National Instruments’ open test platform. NI Week’s theme is “Developing the Future Faster.” The Tuesday keynote included guest speakers from Mazda, Honeywell, and NXP, and these were great examples of system-level design of different scopes, from cars to distributed systems to chips enabling them. Personally... » read more

← Older posts