Foundries Prepare For Battle At 22nm


After introducing new 22nm processes over the last year or two, foundries are gearing up the technology for production—and preparing for a showdown. GlobalFoundries, Intel, TSMC and UMC are developing and/or expanding their efforts at 22nm amid signs this node could generate substantial business for applications like automotive, IoT and wireless. But foundry customers face some tough choic... » read more

Week In Review: Design, Low Power


Tools & Standards Mentor uncorked a PCB design platform for non-specialist PCB engineers focused on multi-dimensional verification. The Xpedition platform can integrate a range of verification tools within a singular authoring environment, providing automatic model creation, concurrent simulation, cross probing from results, and error reviews to identify problems at the schematic or layout... » read more

Blog Review: Nov. 14


Mentor's Jin Hou and Joe Hupcey III explain two fundamental characteristics of formal analysis that simplify things for the formal algorithm and provide better wall clock run time and memory usage performance. Cadence's Paul McLellan shares highlights from five presentations all discussing what's behind AI's movement to edge devices, the vast amount of investment going into the area, and whe... » read more

Why Chips Die


Semiconductor devices contain hundreds of millions of transistors operating at extreme temperatures and in hostile environments, so it should come as no surprise that many of these devices fail to operate as expected or have a finite lifetime. Some devices never make it out of the lab and many others die in the fab. It is hoped that most devices released into products will survive until they be... » read more

Research: The Heart and Soul of DAC


Research is the very heart and soul of the Design Automation Conference (DAC). In fact, one could easily argue that our industry as we know it today would not exist if not for the fundamental research that has been published at DAC for over five decades, as well as many of its sister conferences (e.g., DATE, ICCAD, etc.) This year I am honored to have been selected to serve as the 56th DAC T... » read more

Week In Review: Design, Low Power


M&A SMIT Holdings acquired S2C, a provider of FPGA prototyping hardware and software as well as interfaces and accessories, for $19 million, plus up to US$2 million in milestone based payments to the key management team. S2C was founded in 2003. SMIT, based in Hong Kong, makes pay TV broadcasting access and mobile point-of-sale payment systems for the Chinese market. Tools & IP Syn... » read more

Design For Advanced Packaging


Advanced packaging techniques are viewed as either a replacement for Moore's Law scaling, or a way of augmenting it. But there is a big gap between the extensive work done to prove these devices can be manufactured with sufficient yield and the amount of attention being paid to the demands advanced packaging has on the design and verification flows. Not all advanced packaging places the same... » read more

The Process Design Kit: Protecting Design Know-How


Once upon a time, integrated circuits (ICs) were built by the same companies that designed them. The design of an IC was tightly integrated with the manufacturing processes available within each company. In these days, when designs contained hundreds of transistors, companies modeled each feature in an IC at a first principles level, meaning each transistor or fundamental device was analyzed an... » read more

Taming NBTI To Improve Device Reliability


Negative-bias temperature instability is a growing issue at the most advanced process nodes, but it also has proven extremely difficult to tame using conventional approaches. That finally may be starting to change. NBTI is an aging mechanism in field-effect transistors that leads to a change of the characteristic curves of a transistor during operation. The result can be a drift toward unint... » read more

Straight Talk On Design Tools And ISO 26262


Understanding evolving functional safety goals is difficult. The good news is there are some first principles that apply for safety-minded engineers, including when it comes to evaluating software design tools used to create everything from the systems to the IC components, software and networks and that are so critical in automotive design today. The best advice is a twist on the “think glob... » read more

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