What’s After PAM-4?


[This is part 2 of a 2-part series. Part 1 can be found here.] The future of high-speed physical signaling is uncertain. While PAM-4 remains one of the key standards today, there is widespread debate about whether PAM-8 will succeed it. This has an impact on everything from where the next bottlenecks are likely to emerge and the best approaches to solving them, to how chips, systems and p... » read more

High-Speed Signaling Drill-Down


Chip interconnect standards have received a lot of attention lately, with parallel versions proliferating for chiplets and serial versions moving to higher speeds. The lowliest characteristic of these interconnect schemes is the physical signaling format. Having been static at NRZ (non-return-to-zero) for decades, change is underway. “Multiple approaches are likely to emerge,” said Brig ... » read more

Week In Review: Auto, Security, Pervasive Computing


Security Ninety-one percent of commercial applications contain outdated or abandoned open-source components —a security threat, says Synopsys in its recently released report 2020 Open Source Security and Risk Analysis (OSSRA). In the fifth annual edition of the report, Synopsys’ research team in its Cybersecurity Research Center (CyRC) found that 99% of the 1,250 commercial codebases revie... » read more

Low-Power Analog


Analog circuitry is usually a small part of a large SoC, but it does not scale in the same way as digital circuitry under Moore's Law. The power consumed by analog is becoming an increasing concern, especially for battery-operated devices. At the same time, little automation is available to help analog designers reduce consumption. "Newer consumer devices, like smartphones and wearables, alo... » read more

Chiplet Momentum Rising


The chiplet model is gaining momentum as an alternative to developing monolithic ASIC designs, which are becoming more complex and expensive at each node. Several companies and industry groups are rallying around the chiplet model, including AMD, Intel and TSMC. In addition, there is a new U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) initiative. The goal is to speed up time to market and reduce the cost... » read more

Big Growth Areas: Connectivity, AI, Reliability


Connectivity and artificial intelligence (AI) will be the biggest drivers for 2020, with an emphasis on improved reliability across all areas. New standards, new applications, and new pressures being placed on old technology will created boundless opportunities for those ready to fill the need. Of course, there will also be a lot of carnage along the way, and we can expect to see a lot of that ... » read more

What Worked, What Didn’t In 2019


2019 has been a tough year for semiconductor companies from a revenue standpoint, especially for memory companies. On the other hand, the EDA industry has seen another robust growth year. A significant portion of this disparity can be attributed to the number of emerging technology areas for semiconductors, none of which has reached volume production yet. Some markets continue to struggle, a... » read more

Making Chip Packaging Simpler


Packaging is emerging as one of the most critical elements in semiconductor design, but it's also proving difficult to master both technically and economically. The original role of packaging was simply to protect the chips inside, and there are still packages that do just that. But at advanced nodes, and with the integration of heterogeneous components built using different manufacturing pr... » read more

Testing Millimeter Wave for 5G


By Susan Rambo and Ed Sperling The telecommunications world is hurtling toward 5G, but there is no consistency about how this next-gen wireless technology will be rolled out across various regions and plenty of unknowns about how it will be tested and how reliable it will be initially. A fair amount of confusion exists around what 5G constitutes in the first place. There is sub-6GHz 5G, w... » read more

Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test


Chipmakers A U.S. federal grand jury has indicted Chinese DRAM maker Jinhua Integrated Circuit Co. (JHICC), Taiwan's UMC and three individuals, charging them with alleged crimes related to a conspiracy to steal, convey, and possess stolen trade secrets from Micron Technology for the benefit of a company controlled by the China government. In addition, the U.S. filed a civil lawsuit seeking... » read more