Medical, Industrial & Aerospace IC Design Changes


Medical, industrial and aerospace chips are becoming much more complex as more intelligence is added into these devices, forcing design teams to begin leveraging tools and methodologies that typically have been used only at the leading-edge nodes for commercial applications. But as with automotive, the needs of these systems are changing quickly. In addition to strict quality, safety and sec... » read more

Why It’s So Hard To Create New Processors


The introduction, and initial success, of the RISC-V processor ISA has reignited interest in the design of custom processors, but the industry is now grappling with how to verify them. The expertise and tools that were once in the market have been consolidated into the hands of the few companies that have been shipping processor chips or IP cores over the past 20 years. Verification of a pro... » read more

GapFree Processor Verification


Not so long ago, many semiconductor and system suppliers developed their own processors, often with unique features geared toward specific target applications. Although this innovation has continued for specialty processors such as digital signal-processing (DSP) engines and graphics processing units (GPUs), central processing units (CPUs) largely turned into a two-contestant race between x86 a... » read more

Setting Up RISC-V Implementation Verification


This blog provides an overview of STING’s release mode of operation. STING design verification tool is released to the end user in the form of a self extracting script. The script can be used to install the release package in user’s environment. Once the package is installed, the user needs to set few environment variables before the STING executable can be built. The release package ... » read more

Week In Review: Auto, Security, Pervasive Computing


National Instruments is offering free online training courses to anyone anywhere, until the end of April to help support the engineering community during COVID-19 crisis. Some instructor-led virtual training is available at reduced cost. NIWeek has been postponed this year until August 3-5, 2020. Click here for more news about how the semiconductor industry is handling COVID-19. AI, machi... » read more

Week In Review: Design, Low Power


Tools & IP Synopsys revealed DSO.ai (Design Space Optimization AI), an autonomous AI application that searches for optimization targets in very large solution spaces of chip design, inspired by the process of DeepMind's game-playing AlphaZero. DSO.ai engines ingest large data streams generated by chip design tools and use them to explore search spaces, observing how a design evolves over t... » read more

The MCU Dilemma


The humble microcontroller is getting squeezed on all sides. While most of the semiconductor industry has been able to take advantage of Moore's Law, the MCU market has faltered because flash memory does not scale beyond 40nm. At the same time, new capabilities such as voice activation and richer sensor networks are requiring inference engines to be integrated for some markets. In others, re... » read more

Divided On System Partitioning


Building an optimal implementation of a system using a functional description has been an industry goal for a long time, but it has proven to be much more difficult than it sounds. The general idea is to take software designed to run on a processor and to improve performance using various types of alternative hardware. That performance can be specified in various ways and for specific applic... » read more

Making Sure RISC-V Designs Work As Expected


The RISC-V instruction set architecture is attracting attention across a wide swath of markets, but making sure devices based on the RISC-V ISA work as expected is proving as hard, if not harder, than other commercially available ISA-based chips. The general consensus is that open source lacks the safety net of commercially available IP and tools. Characterization tends to be generalized, ra... » read more

Big Design, IP and End Market Shifts In 2020


EDA is on a roll. Design starts are up significantly thanks to increased investment in areas such as AI, a plethora of new communications standards, buildout of the Cloud, the race toward autonomous driving and continued advancements in mobile phones. Many designs demand the latest technologies and push the limits of complexity. Low power is becoming more than just reducing wasted power at t... » read more

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