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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

Big Changes In Embedded Software


Every good hardware or software design starts with a structured approach throughout the design cycle, but as chip architectures and applications begin focusing on specific domains and include some version of AI, that structure is becoming more difficult to define. Embedded software, which in the past was written for very narrow functions with a minimal footprint, is increasingly getting blended... » read more

Incremental Design Breakdown


For the past two decades, most designs have been incremental in nature. They heavily leveraged IP used in previous designs, and that IP often was developed by third parties. But there are growing problems with that methodology, especially at advanced nodes where back-end issues and the impact of 'shift left' are reducing the savings from reuse. The value of IP reuse has been well established... » read more

How To Justify A Data Center


The breadth of cloud capabilities and improvements in cost and licensing structures is prompting chipmakers to consider offloading at least some of their design work into the cloud. Cloud is a viable business today for semiconductor design. Over the past decade, the interest in moving to cloud computing has grown from an idea that was fun to talk about — but which no one was serious about ... » read more

Week In Review: Design, Low Power


Tools & IP Imperas Software introduced the RISC-V Verification Interface (RVVI). The open standard and methodology can be adapted to any configuration permitted within the RISC-V specifications. RVVI defines interfaces between RTL, reference model, and testbench for RISC-V design verification, with the aim of making RISC-V processor DV reusable. It supports multi-hart, superscalar, and out... » read more

Week In Review: Auto, Security, Pervasive Computing


From pandemic to war — some of the news this week highlights reactions to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Pervasive computing, IoT, 5G and beyond SpaceX sent Starlink satellite dishes to Ukraine to enable Ukrainian access to the Internet. The caveat is the uplink signals from satellite equipment can be used to triangulate the position of the dish, which can then be hit by missile. The dis... » read more

Why RISC-V Is Succeeding


There is no disputing the excitement surround the introduction of the RISC-V processor architecture. Yet while many have called it a harbinger of a much broader open-source hardware movement, the reasons behind its success are not obvious, and the implications for an expansion of more open-source cores is far from certain. “The adoption of RISC-V as the preferred architecture for many sili... » read more

Spreadsheets: Still Valuable, But More Limited


Spreadsheets have been an invaluable engineering tool for many aspects of semiconductor design and verification, but their inability to handle complexity is squeezing them out of an increasing number of applications. This is raising questions about whether they still have a role, and if so, how large that role will be. There are two sides to this issue. On one side are the users who see them... » read more

Growth Spurred By Negatives


The success and health of the semiconductor industry is driven by the insatiable appetite for increasingly complex devices that impact every aspect of our lives. The number of design starts for the chips used in those devices drives the EDA industry. But at no point in history have there been as many market segments driving innovation as there are today. Moreover, there is no indication this... » read more

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