Practical Processor Verification


Custom processors are making a resurgence, spurred on by the early success of the RISC-V ISA and the ecosystem that is rapidly building around it. But this shift is amid questions about whether processor verification has become a lost art. Years ago custom processors were common. But as the market consolidated around a handful of companies, so did the tools and expertise needed to develop th... » read more

Using Processor Trace At The System Level


The race to process more data faster using less power is creating a series of debug challenges at the system level, where developers need to be able to trace interactions across multiple and often heterogeneous processing elements that may function independently of each other. In general, trace is a hardware debug feature that allows the run-time behavior of IP to be monitored. More specific... » read more

Re-Imagining The GPU


John Rayfield, CTO at Imagination Technologies, sat down with Semiconductor Engineering to talk about RISC-V, AI, and computing architectures. What follows are excerpts of that conversation. SE: What your plans are for RISC-V? Rayfield: We're actively finalizing the integration of RISC-V cores into future-generation GPUs. That work has been going on for several months. Moving forward, we'... » read more

Power Becomes Bigger Concern For Embedded Processors


Power is emerging as the dominant concern for embedded processors even in applications where performance is billed as the top design criteria. This is happening regardless of the end application or the process node. In some high-performance applications, power density and thermal dissipation can limit how fast a processor can run. This is compounded by concerns about cyber and physical secur... » read more

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

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