Inevitable Bugs


Are bug escapes inevitable? That was the fundamental question that Oski Technology recently put to a group of industry experts. The participants are primarily simulation experts who, in many cases, help direct the verification directions for some of the largest systems companies. In order to promote free discussion, all comments have been anonymized, distilling the primary thoughts of the parti... » read more

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

Testing Autonomous Vehicles


Jeff Phillips, head of automotive marketing at National Instruments, talks about how to ensure that automotive systems are reliable and safe, how test needs to shift to adapt to continual updates and changes, and why this is particularly challenging in a world where there is no known right answer. » read more

Verification In The Era Of Autonomous Driving, Artificial Intelligence And Machine Learning


The last couple of weeks have been busy with me participating on three panels that dealt with AI and machine learning in the contexts of automotive and aero/defense, in San Jose, Berlin and Detroit. The common theme? Data is indeed the new oil, and it messes with traditional value creation in electronics. Also, requirements for system design and verification are changing and there are completel... » read more

A Formal Transformation


A very important change is underway in functional verification. In the past, this was an esoteric technology and one that was difficult to deploy. It was relegated to tough problems late in the verification cycle, and it was difficult to justify the ROI unless the technology actually did find some problems. But all of that has changed. Formal verification companies started to use the technology... » read more

Reaching For ROI


The simplest way to assess power and performance ROI of a chip design is to ask if the chip works and whether it meets the design specifications. But chips can be used in very different ways, and a single chip may have a number of operational modes, so that formula isn't so clear anymore. "Preventing failures is the No. 1 priority when it comes to ROI," said Aveek Sarkar, vice president of p... » read more

A Milestone In Imprint Lithography


The announcement on Feb. 13 of the acquisition of the semiconductor arm of Molecular Imprints (MII) by Canon is a seminal event in the story of imprint patterning. Full disclosure requires me to mention that as a founding team member at Molecular Imprints, my founders shares are now worth something — but well short of not needing to write a free blog as a marketing exercise for my consulting ... » read more

The Essential Tool Kit


By Ann Steffora Mutschler Is there an essential chip design tool kit today that has only the ‘must haves?’ Sure, this sounds like a straightforward question, but the answer really depends on what process node the design will be manufacturing on. According to Jon McDonald, technical marketing engineer for the design and creation business at Mentor Graphics, there’s actually nothi... » read more

Investment Options


It's clear that something fundamental has changed in the semiconductor manufacturing industry. What's less clear is how this will play out over the long term. Intel's agreement to invest more than $4 billion in ASML to ensure the continued development of EUV and 450mm wafer technology is more than just a one-off deal. It's a very public recognition that the astronomical cost of design and ma... » read more

Redefining ‘Good Enough’


The old definition of a good chip was that it could be manufactured with reasonable yield, it was functionally solid, and it performed at least as well as the market demanded. That definition is changing, however. There will always be a difference between ‘good’ and ‘good enough.’ We all want to own the ‘good’ chips in our electronic devices. But what’s noteworthy are the chang... » read more