Debate Over Health Of Moore’s Law Continues


Semicon West 2019 was kicked off by the ‘AI Design Forum’ and featured a panel of CEOs that debated if Moore’s Law was still making power, performance and area optimization possible in the same way as it had been. Synopsys chairman and co-CEO Aart de Geus asserted that Moore’s Law is completely alive. “The discussion of Moore's Laws invariably goes back to the ‘65 document, and t... » read more

Security’s Very Strange Path To Success


Security at the chip level appears to be heading toward a more promising future. The reason is simple—more people are willing to pay for security than in the past. For the most part, security is like insurance. You don't know it's working until something goes wrong, and you don't necessarily even know right away if there has been a breach. Sometimes it takes years to show up, because it ca... » read more

Rethinking What Goes On A Chip


There are hints across the chip industry that chipmakers are beginning to reexamine one of the basic concepts of chip design. For more than 50 years, progress in semiconductors was measured by the ability to double the density of transistors on a piece of silicon. While that approach continues to be useful, the power and performance benefits have been dwindling for the past couple of nodes. ... » read more

Playing Into China’s Hands


The fallout over blacklisting Huawei in particular, and China in general, has set the tone for a nasty global race. But it is almost certain to produce a different result than the proponents of a trade war are expecting. The idea behind tariffs and the blacklisting of Huawei is to starve China of vital technology. So far, the impact has been minimal. Reports from inside of China are equa... » read more

Why Chips Are Getting Noisier


In the past, designers only had to worry about noise for sensitive analog portions of a design. Digital circuitry was immune. But while noise gets worse at newer process nodes, staying at 28nm does not mean that it can be ignored anymore. With Moore's Law slowing, designs have to do more with less. Margins are being squeezed, additional concurrency is added, and attempts are made to opti... » read more

Moore Open Source Coming


The sunsetting of Moore's Law is creating some interesting ripples throughout the EDA and IP industries. No longer is the low-risk path defined by a migration to the next node. Most companies cannot afford it and don’t need it. Neither can their competitors. Suddenly, they have to do more with less, or at least the same amount. Consider just a few things that are changing today: Stick... » read more

The Case For Embedded FPGAs Strengthens And Widens


The embedded FPGA, an IP core integrated into an ASIC or SoC, is winning converts. System architects are starting to see the benefits of eFPGAs, which offer the flexibility of programmable logic without the cost of FPGAs. Programmable logic is especially appealing for accelerating machine learning applications that need frequent updates. An eFPGA can provide some architects the cover they ne... » read more

The Problem With Post-Silicon Debug


Semiconductor engineers traditionally have focused on trying to create 'perfect' GDSII at tape-out, but factors such as hardware-software interactions, increasingly heterogeneous designs, and the introduction of AI are forcing companies to rethink that approach. In the past, chipmakers typically banked on longer product cycles and multiple iterations of silicon to identify problems. This no ... » read more

Gearing Up For 5G


5G has been touted as the new enabler for many market segments, including mobile phones, automotive, virtual reality, and IoT. But there are many questions and much speculation about when and how this new wireless standard will impact different market segments and what effect it will have on semiconductor design. With a promise of orders of magnitude improvement in communication speed an... » read more

Adapting Mobile To A Post-Moore’s Law Era


The slowdown in Moore's Law is having a big impact on chips designed for the mobile market, where battery-powered devices need to still improve performance with lower power. This hasn't slowed down performance or power improvements, but it has forced chipmakers and systems companies to approach designs differently. And while feature shrinks will continue for the foreseeable future, they are ... » read more

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