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RISC-V: More Than a Core


The open-source RISC-V instruction set architecture (ISA) is attracting a lot of attention across the semiconductor industry, but its long-term success will depend on levels of cooperation never seen before in the semiconductor industry. The big question now is how committed the industry is to RISC-V's success. The real value that RISC-V brings is the promise of an ecosystem and the opportun... » read more

RISC-V Inches Toward The Center


RISC-V is pushing further into the mainstream, showing up across a wide swath of designs and garnering support from a long and still-growing list of chipmakers, tools vendors, universities and foundries. In most cases it is being used as a complementary processor than a replacement for something else, but that could change in the future. What makes RISC-V particularly attractive to chipmaker... » 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

Searching For A System Abstraction


Without abstraction, advances in semiconductor design would have stalled decades ago and circuits would remain about the same size as analog blocks. No new abstractions have emerged since the 1990s that have found widespread adoption. The slack was taken up by IP and reuse, but IP blocks are becoming larger and more complex. Verification by isolation is no longer a viable strategy at the system... » read more

DAC 2018: System Design, Cloud And Machine Learning


This marks the 10th DAC that I have covered as a blogger. At DAC 2008 in Anaheim, the industry had just come together behind the SystemC TLM 2.0 standard to enable virtual platforms, finally getting to model interoperability. System design is the common thread that is also present in this year’s DAC in 2018 in San Francisco. But a lot has changed. Big data analytics, artificial intelligence a... » read more

The Week In Review: Design


Tools Synopsys revealed a power analysis solution for early SoC design as well as signoff-accurate power and reliability closure. PrimePower has reliability as a major focus, expanding power and reliability signoff and ECO closure capabilities from physical awareness to cell electromigration effects. Supported power types include peak power, average power, clock network power, leakage power, a... » read more

The Week In Review: Design


Startup OnScale launched with advanced CAE multi-physics solvers that are seamlessly integrated with a scalable, high performance cloud computing platform built on Amazon's AWS. The company's model is built around a Solver-as-a-Service pay-as-you-go subscription model and targets 5G, IoT/Industrial IoT, biomedical, and autonomous car markets. The company has $3 million in strategic seed fund... » read more

The Week In Review: Design


Tools Imperas debuted its RISC-V Processor Developer Suite, a set of models, a software simulator, and tools to validate, verify, and provide early estimation of timing performance and power consumption for RISC-V processors. IP Minima Processor revealed its dynamic-margining subsystem IP for near-threshold voltage design. The startup's hardware and software IP works with a CPU or DSP proc... » read more

How To Handle Concurrency


The evolution of processing architectures has solved many problems within a chip, but for each problem solved another one was created. Concurrency is one of those issues, and it has been getting much more attention lately. While concurrency is hardly a new problem, the complexity of today’s systems is making it increasingly difficult to properly design, implement and verify the software an... » read more

The Week In Review: Design


M&A PLDA is divesting its Reflex CES brand. The FPGA board maker will become wholly managed by its own management and investment teams. In 2015, Reflex CES took over the hardware businesses of PLDA, including FPGA-based boards and the System-on-Module product lines. Tools Mentor uncorked a new tool for in-system test and diagnosis of automotive ICs. Tessent MissionMode provides infrast... » read more

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