Taming Concurrency


Concurrency adds complexity for which the industry lacks appropriate tools, and the problem has grown to the point where errors can creep into designs with no easy or consistent way to detect them. In the past, when chips were essentially a single pipeline, this wasn't a problem. In fact, the early pioneers of EDA created a suitable language to describe and contain the necessary concurrency ... » read more

Chip Industry In Rapid Transition


Wally Rhines, CEO Emeritus at Mentor, a Siemens Business, sat down with Semiconductor Engineering to talk about global economics, AI, the growing emphasis on customization, and the impact of security and higher abstraction levels. What follows are excerpts of that conversation. SE: Where do you see the biggest changes happening across the chip industry? Rhines: 2018 was a hot year for fab... » read more

Fundamental Shifts In 2018


What surprised the industry in 2018?  While business has been strong, markets are changing, product categories are shifting and clouds are forming on the horizon. As 2018 comes to a close, most companies are pretty happy with the way everything turned out. Business has been booming, new product categories developing, and profits are meeting or beating market expectations. "2018 was indeed a... » read more

Debug Tops Verification Tasks


Verification engineers are spending an increased percentage of their time in debug — 44%, according to a recent survey by the Wilson Research Group. There are a variety or reasons for this, including the fact that some SoCs are composed of hundreds of internally developed and externally purchased IP blocks and subsystems. New system architectures contribute to the mix, some of which are be... » read more

Mitigating Risk Through Verification


Verification is all about mitigating risk, and one of the growing issues alongside of increasing complexity and new architectures is coverage. The whole notion of coverage is making sure a chip will work as designed. That requires determining the effectiveness of the simulation tests that stimulate it, and its effectiveness in terms of activating structures of functional behavior and design.... » read more

Make-Or-Break Time For Portable Stimulus


I’m pretty upbeat when it comes to portable stimulus. Or maybe it’d be better to say I’m pretty upbeat on the idea of portable stimulus. While doing my best to brush aside the usual EDA propaganda (propaganda I’ve found to be a bit haphazard, but more on that in a minute), I’ve put a lot of thought into how portable stimulus could fit into verification flows, the purpose of using it a... » read more

Blog Review: Sept. 12


Cadence's Paul McLellan checks out the impact the Meltdown, Spectre, and Foreshadow vulnerabilities will have on future processor design with an overview of speculative execution and why it's important to current architectures. Mentor's Matthew Ballance suggests some ways to find existing information and descriptions that can be used to jump-start the creation of portable stimulus models. ... » read more

Cracking The Auto IC Market


The market for automotive electronics is booming, and it has set off a global scramble among established chipmakers and startups. What's becoming clear, though, is that not everyone understands just how different automotive is from the mobile market. Mobile is still the highest-volume market for semiconductors, but the growth has flattened. In contrast, the value of the automotive electronic... » read more

Agile Standards


Semiconductor Engineering sat down with Lu Dai, chairman for Accellera and senior director of engineering at Qualcomm, to discuss what's changing in standards development. What follows are excerpts of that conversation. SE: Accellera has had a great first half of the year. Dai: Yes, we are only half way through the year and yet we got Portable Stimulus Standard (PSS) out, the SystemC CCI ... » read more

Debug Issues Grow At New Nodes


Debugging and testing chips is becoming more time-consuming, more complicated, and significantly more difficult at advanced nodes as well as in advanced packages. The main problem is that there are so many puzzle pieces, and so many different use cases and demands on those pieces, that it's difficult to keep track of all the changes and potential interactions. Some blocks are "on" sometimes,... » read more

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