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Customize Off-The-Shelf Processor IP


Processor customization is one approach to optimizing a processor IP core to handle a certain workload. In some case it makes sense to design a dedicated core from scratch, but in many cases an existing core may partially meet your requirements and can be a good starting point for your optimized core. In the past some processor IP vendors, notably ARC and Tensilica, offered extensible cores ... » read more

Microchip Sees Significant Productivity Gains In Mature-Node Custom IC Design With In-Design Signoff DRC


Microsemi pioneered the design of innovative chips that are used for multiple purposes across a variety of industries, using both mature and advanced process nodes. In mature node custom design implementation, layout designers still spend a significant amount of their valuable time fixing DRC errors—time that could be more beneficially spent ensuring their designs meet their PPA goals. By rep... » read more

In-Design Signoff DRC For Productivity Improvement


Microsemi, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Microchip Technology, produces a portfolio of semiconductor and system solutions for communications, defense and security, aerospace, and industrial markets. In addition to high-performance and radiation-hardened analog/mixed-signal integrated circuits, FPGAs, SoCs and ASICs, they also design power management products, timing and synchronization devices, ... » read more

Impact Of Instruction Memory On Processor PPA


The area of any part of a design contributes both to the silicon cost and to the power consumption. A simplistic following of the “A” in a processor IP vendor’s PPA numbers can be misleading. A processor is never in isolation but is part of a subsystem additionally including instruction memory, data memory, and peripherals. In most cases, instruction memory will be dominant and the proc... » read more

AMD Wants An FPGA Company, Too


AMD signed a definitive agreement to acquire Xilinx for $35 billion in stock, setting the stage for a head-to-head battle against Intel in nearly all major markets. But there's more to this acquisition than just keeping up with AMD's arch-competitor. To begin with, the acquisition has a big impact on the programmable logic market. The only pure-play FPGA vendors left are Lattice, Achronix, a... » read more

Week In Review: Design, Low Power


Aldec launched the HES-MPF500-M2S150 Development Kit for early co-development and co-verification of hardware and software for FPGA-based embedded systems that will use devices from either or both of Microchip’s PolarFire or SmartFusion2 families. The HES-MPF500-M2S150 Development Kit features Microchip’s low power PolarFire MPF500T FCG1152 FPGA, which has 481k logic elements, 1480 math blo... » read more

Week In Review: IoT, Security, Autos


Internet of Things Amazon is expanding its IoT services. Alexa Voice Services will require less processing power on the device, moving from the 100MB of RAM and Arm Cortex A microprocessor to 1MB and an Arm Cortex-M. Amazon will do more of the processing in the cloud, enabling developers to add Alexa to smaller, single purpose devices. “It just opens up the what we call the real ambient inte... » read more

The Rapid Rise Of RISC-V


The first RISC-V Summit, which took place last month in Santa Clara, CA, appears to be a watershed for the RISC-V ecosystem. The technology is maturing and the ecosystem is growing fast – and that was reflected in the nature of the presentations and news announcements we saw. The accent has started to move to how the technology will be used in real life. UltraSoC’s announcement of a har... » read more

Building Security Into RISC-V Systems


Semiconductor Engineering sat down with Helena Handschuh, a Rambus fellow; Richard Newell, senior principal product architect at Microsemi, a Microchip Company; and Joseph Kiniry, principal scientist at Galois. Part one is here. (This is the second of two parts.) L-R: Joseph Kiniry, Helena Handschuh, Richard Newell. SE: Some of the new applications for hardware designs are tied to AI, d... » read more

Open-Source RISC-V Hardware And Security


Semiconductor Engineering sat down with Helena Handschuh, a Rambus fellow; Richard Newell, senior principal product architect at Microsemi, a Microchip Company; and Joseph Kiniry, principal scientist at Galois. What follows are excerpts of that conversation. (L-R) Joseph Kiniry, Helena Handschuh and Richard Newell. SE: Is open-source hardware more secure, or does it just open up vulnera... » read more

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