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Who Does Processor Validation?


Defining what a processor is, and what it is supposed to do, is not always as easy as it sounds. In fact, companies are struggling with the implications of hundreds of heterogenous processing elements crammed into a single chip or package. Companies have extensive verification methodologies, but not for validation. Verification is a process of ensuring that an implementation matches a specif... » read more

IC Reliability Burden Shifts Left


Chip reliability is coming under much tighter scrutiny as IC-driven systems take on increasingly critical and complex roles. So whether it's a stray alpha particle that flips a memory bit, or some long-dormant software bugs or latent hardware defects that suddenly cause problems, it's now up to the chip industry to prevent these problems in the first place, and solve them when they do arise. ... » read more

Why Hardware-Dependent Software Is So Critical


Hardware and software are two sides of the same coin, but they often live in different worlds. In the past, hardware and software rarely were designed together, and many companies and products failed because the total solution was unable to deliver. The big question is whether the industry has learned anything since then. At the very least, there is widespread recognition that hardware-depen... » read more

IP Industry Transformation


The design IP industry is developing an assortment of new options and licensing schemes that could affect everything from how semiconductor companies collaborate to how ICs are designed, packaged, and brought to market. The IP market already has witnessed a sweeping shift from a "design once, use everywhere" approach, to an "architect once, customize everywhere" model, in which IP is highly ... » read more

Week In Review: Design, Low Power


EnSilica listed on the London Stock Exchange's AIM market under the ticker ENSI. EnSilica designs mixed signal ASICs for system developers in the automotive, industrial, healthcare, and communications markets. It also has a portfolio of core IP covering cryptography, radar and communications systems. AIM is the LSE’s market for small and medium sized growth companies. "In connection with Admi... » read more

Week In Review: Auto, Security, Pervasive Computing


Automotive, mobility Cadence is now an official technology partner of the McLaren Formula 1 Team. The team will use Cadence’s Fidelity CFD Software to look at the computational fluid dynamics (CFD) of the airflow around the race cars and predict how a car design will affect the airflow. Infineon uncorked its XENSIV 60 GHz automotive radar sensor for in-cabin monitoring systems. One use ca... » read more

How To Optimize A Processor


Optimizing any system is a multi-layered problem, but when it involves a processor there are at least three levels to consider. Architects must be capable of thinking across these boundaries because the role of each of the layers must be both understood and balanced. The first level of potential optimization is at the system level. For example, how does data come in and out of the processing... » read more

Embedded Software: Sometimes Easier, Often More Complex


Embedded software, once a challenge to write, update, and optimize, is following the route of other types of software. It is abstracted, simpler to use, and much faster to write. But in some cases, it's also much harder to get right. From a conceptual level, the general definition of embedded software has not changed much. It's still low-level drivers and RTOSes that run close to the hardwar... » read more

Choosing Which Tasks To Optimize In Chips


The optimization of one or more tasks is an important aspect of every SoC created, but with so many options now on the table it is often unclear which is best. Just a few years ago, most people were happy to buy processors from the likes of Intel, AMD and Nvidia, and IP cores from Arm. Some even wanted the extensibility that came from IP cores like Tensilica and ARC. Then, in 2018, John Henn... » read more

The Challenges Of Incremental Verification


Verification consumes more time and resources than design, and yet little headway is being made to optimize it. The reasons are complex, and there are more questions than there are answers. For example, what is the minimum verification required to gain confidence in a design change? How can you minimize the cost of finding out that the change was bad, or that it had unintended consequences? ... » read more

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