Analog: Avoid Or Embrace?


We live in an analog world, but digital processing has proven quicker, cheaper and easier. Moving digital data around is only possible while the physics of wires can be safely abstracted away enough to provide reliable communications. As soon as a signal passes off-chip, the analog domain reasserts control for modern systems. Each of those transitions requires a data converter. The usage ... » read more

What Engineers Are Reading And Watching


By Brian Bailey And Ed Sperling An important indicator of where the chip industry is heading is what engineers are reading and what videos they are watching. While some subjects remain on top, such as the level of interest in the latest manufacturing technologies, other areas come and go. The stories with the biggest traffic numbers are almost identical to last year. Readers want to know wh... » read more

Interdependencies Complicate IC Power Grid Design


Creating the right power grid is a growing problem in leading-edge chips. IP and SoC providers are spending a considerable amount of time defining the architecture of logic libraries in order to enable different power grids to satisfy the needs of different market segments. The end of Dennard scaling is one of the reasons for the increased focus. With the move to smaller nodes, the amount of... » read more

Reducing Data At The Source


Jens Düge, group manager for image acquisition and processing in Fraunhofer IIS’ Engineering of Adaptive Systems Division, talks about how to slash the amount of data that needs to be sent to the cloud or edge for processing by focusing only on the regions of interest in an image, and how that reduces the cost of moving that data. » read more

Power Complexity On The Rise


New chip architectures and custom applications are adding significant challenges to chip design and verification, and the problems are becoming much more complex as low power is added into the mix. Power always has been a consideration in design, but in the past it typically involved different power domains that were either on, off, or in some level of sleep mode. As hardware architectures s... » read more

Tricky Tradeoffs For LPDDR5


LPDDR5 is slated as the next-gen memory for AI technology, autonomous driving, 5G networks, advanced displays, and leading-edge camera applications, and it is expected to compete with GDDR6 for these applications. But like all next-gen applications, balancing power, performance, and area concerns against new technology options is not straightforward. These are interesting times in the memory... » read more

Thermal Challenges And Moore’s Law


Steven Woo, fellow and distinguished inventor at Rambus, looks at the evolution of graphics cards over a couple of decades and how designs changed to deal with more graphics and more heat, and why smaller, faster and cheaper doesn’t apply in this market. » read more

Pushing Memory Harder


In an optimized system, no component is waiting for another component while there is useful work to be done. Unfortunately, this is not the case with the processor/memory interface. Put simply, memory cannot keep up. Accessing memory is slow, and it can consume a significant fraction of the power budget. And the general consensus is this problem is not going away anytime soon, despite effort... » read more

Less Food, More Thought


A trillion "things" are expected to be connected to the Internet sometime in the next decade. No matter how power-efficient these things are, they probably will require enough coin-sized lithium batteries to drain the world's supply of element No. 3 on the Periodic Table. They also will increase the demand for power everywhere, and that's even before tacking on electric vehicles, the edge, robo... » read more

Using Emulators For Power/Performance Tradeoffs


Emulation is becoming the tool of choice for power and performance tradeoffs, scaling to almost unlimited capacity for complex chips used in data centers, AI/ML systems and smart phones. While emulation has long been viewed as an important but expensive asset for chipmakers trying to verify and debug chips, it is now viewed as an essential component for design optimization and analysis much ... » read more

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