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Customizing An Existing RISC-V Processor


In a previous post, we considered how you could create an optimized ISA for a domain-specific processor core by profiling software and experimenting with adding/removing instructions. Using the open RISC-V ISA can be a great starting point for a processor that combines application-specific capabilities and access to portable software. The old-fashioned way to modify the instruction set wo... » read more

The Problem With Benchmarks


Benchmarks long have been used to compare products, but what makes a good benchmark and who should be trusted with their creation? The answer to those questions is more difficult than it may appear on the surface, and some benchmarks are being used in surprising ways. Everyone loves a simple, clear benchmark, but that is only possible when the selection criteria are equally simple. Unfortuna... » read more

ISA Ownership Matters: A Tale of Three ISAs


An instruction set architecture (ISA) is crucial to the development of processors and their software ecosystems. In the last half century, the majority of ISAs have been owned by single companies, whether product companies for their own chips/systems or processor IP companies who licensed their processors to chip developers. Does ISA ownership matter? Let’s consider three proprietary ISAs a... » read more

Why It’s So Hard To Stop Cyber Attacks On ICs


Semiconductor Engineering sat down to discuss security risks across multiple market segments with Helena Handschuh, security technologies fellow at Rambus; Mike Borza, principal security technologist for the Solutions Group at Synopsys; Steve Carlson, director of aerospace and defense solutions at Cadence; Alric Althoff, senior hardware security engineer at Tortuga Logic; and Joe Kiniry, princi... » read more

Open Source Vs. Commercial RISC-V Licensing Models


Everybody is familiar with commercial licensing from traditional processor IP vendors such as Arm, Cadence, and Synopsys. But in discussing the RISC-V Open Instruction Set Architecture (ISA), there is widespread confusion of terminology with RISC-V often being described as “open source.” Some have even accused vendors of commercial RISC-V IP such as Codasip or Andes as not being in the spir... » read more

Slower Metal Bogs Down SoC Performance


Metal interconnect delays are rising, offsetting some of the gains from faster transistors at each successive process node. Older architectures were born in a time when compute time was the limiter. But with interconnects increasingly viewed as the limiter on advanced nodes, there’s an opportunity to rethink how we build systems-on-chips (SoCs). ”Interconnect delay is a fundamental tr... » read more

RISC-V: Will There Be Other Open-Source Cores?


Part 3: Semiconductor Engineering sat down to discuss the business and technology landscape for RISC-V with Zdenek Prikryl, CTO of Codasip; Helena Handschuh, a Rambus Security Technologies fellow; Louie De Luna, director of marketing at Aldec; Shubhodeep Roy Choudhury, CEO of Valtrix Systems; and Bipul Talukdar, North America director of applications engineering at SmartDV. What follows are exc... » read more

Confusion Persists In Verification Terms


I find it amazing that an area of technology that attempts to show, beyond a reasonable doubt, that a design will work before it is constructed can be so bad at getting some basic things right. I am talking about verification terminology. I have been in this industry for over 40 years and it is not improving. In fact, it is getting worse. The number of calls I have with people where they hav... » read more

The Emergence Of Hardware As A Key Enabler For The Age Of Artificial Intelligence


Over the past few decades, software has been the engine of innovation for countless applications. From PCs to mobile phones, well-defined hardware platforms and instruction set architectures (ISA) have enabled many important advancements across vertical markets. The emergence of abundant-data computing is changing the software-hardware balance in a dramatic way. Diverse AI applications in fa... » read more

Customization And Limitations At The Edge


Semiconductor Engineering sat down to discuss the edge constraints and the need for security with Jeff DeAngelis, managing director of the Industrial and Healthcare Business Unit at Maxim Integrated; Norman Chang, chief technologist at Ansys; Andrew Grant, senior director of artificial intelligence at Imagination Technologies; Thomas Ensergueix, senior director of the automotive and IoT line of... » read more

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