Enabling Cheaper Design

While the EDA industry tends to focus on cutting edge designs, where design costs are a minor portion of the total cost of product, the electronics industry has a very long tail. The further along the tail you go, the more significant design costs become as a percent of total cost. Many of those designs are traditionally built using standard parts, such as microcontrollers, but as additional... » read more

The Battle To Embed The FPGA

There have been many attempts to embed an [gettech id="31071" comment="FPGA"] into chips in the past, but the market has failed to materialize—or the solutions have failed to inspire. An early example was [getentity id="22924" comment="Triscend"], founded in 1997 and acquired by [getentity id="22839" e_name="Xilinx"] in 2004. It integrated a CPU—which varied from an [getentity id="22186" co... » read more


Semiconductor Engineering sat down to compare the benefits, risks and challenges of moving to finFETs compared with fully depleted silicon on insulator ([getkc id="220" kc_name="FD-SOI"]) with Philippe Magarshack, group vice president for technology R&D at [getentity id="22331" comment="STMicroelectronics"]; Marco Brambilla, director of engineering at [getentity id="22150" e_name="Synapse D... » read more

Moore’s Law At 50

Moore's Law turned 50 this week…but not because of Gordon Moore. He observed that the number of transistors crammed onto a piece of silicon was doubling every 18 to 24 months and predicted that would continue to be the case. He was right, but it took many thousands of engineers who created methodologies and tools to automate the design and equipment to manufacture complex chips to make that o... » read more

The Real Numbers: Redefining NRE

Developing ICs at the most advanced nodes is getting more expensive, but exactly how much more expensive is the subject of debate across the semiconductor industry. There are a number of reasons for this discrepancy. Among them: As design flows shift from serial to parallel, it's hard to determine which groups within companies should be saddled with different portions of the bill. The re... » read more

More Than Moore

Semiconductor Engineering sat down to discuss the value of feature shrinks and what comes next with Steve Eplett, design technology and automation manager at Open-Silicon; Patrick Soheili, vice president and general manager of IP Solutions at eSilicon; Brandon Wang, engineering group director at Cadence; John Ferguson, product manager for DRC applications at Mentor Graphics; and Kevin Kranen, d... » read more

Executive Insight: Jack Harding

SE: What’s worrying you these days? Harding: One thing that bothers me is the cost of chip development on a per-chip basis. We seduce ourselves into thinking everything is wonderful because the cost per transistor is dropping in chunks. Gate costs are going down at every node. If you look at the secular trend, we’ve done a pretty good job putting a lot of stuff in a small space. In my bu... » read more

Semiconductor Self-Service: The Next Wave

The Internet is a marvelous invention. We all know it can bring a universe of human knowledge to our desktop. Thanks to some clever technology produced by some very successful companies, you also can browse all this information in real time, learning and discovering all the way. This ability to learn and discover is particularly interesting from a business perspective. It has created a truly... » read more

The Next Dimension

It’s hard to say definitively whether this is a trend or an aberration, but after what appears to have been a slam-dunk sprint to the finish line with finFETs some companies are re-evaluating their alternatives based upon return on investment. In place of perpetually shrinking features—and looming multipatterning at the next node—there is renewed interest in staying at 28nm with FDSOI,... » read more

Uncertainty, But Not Over Power

The semiconductor industry has reached a crossroads. Lithography has stalled out, NRE is rising, and chipmakers are torn between choices of when and whether to jump to the next process node—and even more daunting, the next one after that—or whether to take half steps with fan outs, 2.5D, or fully depleted SOI. While chips do continue to tape out, the number of critical choices that need... » read more

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