The Process Design Kit: Protecting Design Know-How


Once upon a time, integrated circuits (ICs) were built by the same companies that designed them. The design of an IC was tightly integrated with the manufacturing processes available within each company. In these days, when designs contained hundreds of transistors, companies modeled each feature in an IC at a first principles level, meaning each transistor or fundamental device was analyzed an... » read more

Week In Review: Design, Low Power


Tools OneSpin launched a formal verification tool that integrates with all major simulators, coverage databases and viewers, and chip design verification planning tools to provide a comprehensive view of verification progress. Comprised of two new formal apps, it can identify unreachable coverage points and provide them to the simulator to reduce wasted effort. Synopsys released the latest ... » read more

Five DAC Keynotes


The ending of Moore's Law may be about to create a new golden age for design, especially one fueled by artificial intelligence and machine learning. But design will become task-, application- and domain-specific, and will require that we think about the lifecycle of the products in a different way. In the future, we also will have to design for augmentation of experience, not just automation... » read more

The Week In Review: Design


M&A IoT-focused memory chipmaker Adesto Technologies acquired S3 Semiconductors, a provider of mixed-signal and RF ASICs and IP. Based in Ireland, S3 Semiconductors was founded in 1986. S3 Semiconductors will become a business unit of Adesto and will continue to operate under its current model in the $35 million deal. S3 Semiconductor's parent company, S3 Group, will continue as a separate... » read more

New Issues In Advanced Packaging


Advanced packaging is gaining in popularity as the cost and complexity of integrating everything onto a planar SoC becomes more difficult and costly at each new node, but ensuring that these packaged die function properly and yield sufficiently isn't so simple. There are a number of factors that are tilting more of the the semiconductor industry toward advanced [getkc id="27" kc_name="packag... » read more

How Reliable Are FinFETs?


Stringent safety requirements in the automotive and industrial sectors are forcing chipmakers to re-examine a number of factors that can impact reliability over the lifespan of a device. Many of these concerns are not new. Electrical overstress (EOS), electrostatic discharge (ESD) and [getkc id="160" kc_name="electromigration"] (EM) are well understood, and have been addressed by EDA tools f... » read more

Modeling On-Chip Variation At 10/7nm


Simulation, a workhorse tool for semiconductor design, is running out of steam at 10/7nm. It is falling behind on chips with huge gate counts and an enormous number of possible interactions between all the different functions that are being crammed onto a die. At simulation's root is some form of SPICE, which has served as its underpinnings ever since SPICE was first published 44 years ago. ... » read more

Power Challenges At 10nm And Below


Current density is becoming much more problematic at 10nm and beyond, increasing the amount of power management that needs to be incorporated into each chip and boosting both design costs and time to market. Current per unit of area has been rising since 90nm, forcing design teams to leverage a number of power-related strategies such as [getkc id="143" kc_name="dynamic voltage and frequency... » read more

Device Pin-Specific Property Extraction For Layout Simulation


As we work through the sub-20 nm design space, the interactions between and effects on devices that are near each other are becoming critical factors in achieving the desired electrical performance. Accurate extraction of device pin-specific properties for modelling these effects is essential to attaining design goals. LVS extraction challenges Layout vs. schematic (LVS) comparison tools prov... » read more

What’s Holding Back Analog?


The uneasy relationship between digital and analog, coupled with tools that are either ineffective or outright ignored by the analog community, may be limiting the growth potential and technological advances in that market. That certainly doesn’t mean analog isn’t growing. In fact, analog is an increasingly critical component of ICs and the electronic devices they inhabit. The global ele... » read more

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