IoT Debugging Crosses The Hardware-Software Divide


By Paul Hill and Gordon MacNee Debugging is an important part of embedded design; one that necessarily crosses the hardware/software divide. At a system level, the functionality of an embedded design is increasingly defined by firmware, so avoiding bugs requires engineers with specific disciplines to work closely together during the design phase of a project. It can also mean resisting the u... » read more

More Multiply-Accumulate Operations Everywhere


Geoff Tate, CEO of Flex Logix, sat down with Semiconductor Engineering to talk about how to build programmable edge inferencing chips, embedded FPGAs, where the markets are developing for both, and how the picture will change over the next few years. SE: What do you have to think about when you're designing a programmable inferencing chip? Tate: With a traditional FPGA architecture you ha... » read more

Software-Defined Hardware Gains Ground — Again


The traditional approach of running generic software on x86-based CPUs is running out of steam for many applications due to the slowdown of Moore’s Law and the concurrent exponential growth in software application complexity and scale. In this environment, the software and hardware are disparate due the dominance of the x86 architecture. “The need for and advent of the hardware accelerat... » read more

April’19 Startup Funding: Corporate Gushers


It was another rich month for startups, large and small. In April’s top 11 funding rounds, five were investments by big corporations or corporate venture capital funds—an investor consortium led by the SoftBank Vision Fund, PayPal, Ford Motor, NTT DoCoMo, and HAPSMobile, a joint venture of SoftBank Group and AeroVironment. Those 11 investments totaled $3.74 billion. Intel Capital was als... » read more

Warp Speed Ahead


The computing world is on a tear, but not just in one direction. While battery-powered applications are focused on extending the time between charges or battery replacements, there is a whole separate and growing market for massive improvements in speed. Ultimately, this is where quantum computing will play a role, probably sometime in the late 2020/early 2030 timeframe, according to multipl... » read more

Preparing For Bigger Changes Ahead


The semiconductor industry has undergone a fundamental shift over the past year, and it's one that will redefine chipmaking over the next decade or more. While the focus is still on building the fastest, lowest-power devices, whether that's by shrinking features or packaging them into blazing-fast 2.5D or fan-out configurations, these devices are being customized for specific use cases much ... » read more

Lots Of Little Knobs For Power


Dynamic power is becoming a much bigger worry at new nodes as more finFETs are packed on a die and wires shrink to the point where resistance and capacitance become first-order effects. Chipmakers began seeing dynamic power density issues with the first generation of [getkc id="185" kc_name="finFETs"]. While the 3D transistor structures reduced leakage current by providing better gate contro... » read more

Focus Shifts To System Quality


For the past decade, many semiconductor industry insiders predicted that software would take over the world and hardware would become commoditized. The pendulum seems to have stopped, and if anything, it is reversing course. Initial predictions were based on several advantages for software. First, software is easier to modify and patch. Second, universities turn out far more software develop... » read more

Moore’s Law: Toward SW-Defined Hardware


Pushing to the next process node will continue to be a primary driver for some chips—CPUs, FPGAs and some ASICS—but for many applications that approach is becoming less relevant as a metric for progress. Behind this change is a transition from using customized software with generic hardware, to a mix of specialized, heterogeneous hardware that can achieve better performance with less ene... » read more