Making Chips To Last Their Expected Lifetimes


Chips are supposed to last their lifetime, but that expectation varies greatly depending upon the end market, whether the device is used for safety- or mission-critical applications, and even whether it can be easily replaced or remotely fixed. It also depends on how those chips are used, whether they are an essential part of a complex system, and whether the cost of continual monitoring and... » read more

Blog Review: Oct. 21


Rambus' Frank Ferro and IDC's Shane Rau compare the evolution of HBM and GDDR6, as well as the design tradeoffs and challenges of the two memory types. Mentor's Neil Johnson compares unit testing and formal property checking as first steps for verifying low-level RTL functionality. Synopsys' Patrick Carey considers the competing demands of delivering a product as soon as possible and maki... » read more

Increase In Analog Problems


Analog and mixed signal design has always been tough, but a resent survey suggests that the industry has seen significantly increased failures in the past year because the analog circuitry within an ASIC was out of tolerance. What is causing this spike in failures? Is it just a glitch in the data, or are these problems real? The answer is complicated, and to a large extent it depends heavily... » read more

Week In Review: Design, Low Power


Tools & IP Cadence debuted System-Level Verification IP (System VIP), a suite of tools and libraries for automating SoC testbench assembly, bus and CPU traffic generation, cache-coherency validation, and system performance bottleneck analysis. Tests created using the System VIP solution are portable across Cadence simulation, emulation and prototyping engines and can also be extended to po... » read more

Week In Review: Auto, Security, Pervasive Computing


Security Intel announced new security features for its code-named Ice Lake CPU, according to a story in SecurityWeek. The 10nm-based Xeon Scalable will have SGX trusted execution environment and several new features for memory encryption, firmware resilience, and cryptographic performance acceleration. The new Total Memory Encryption (TME) feature in the CPU will encrypt access to memory. S... » read more

Effective Clock Domain Crossing Verification


As chips grow ever larger and more complex, gate count and amount of embedded memory grow dramatically. The number of clock domains is also increasing steadily. Several dozen different clocks are common in today’s chips, with some designs having more than a thousand domains. There are several reasons for this explosion: Multiple external interfaces with distinct clock requirements Lic... » read more

Slower Metal Bogs Down SoC Performance


Metal interconnect delays are rising, offsetting some of the gains from faster transistors at each successive process node. Older architectures were born in a time when compute time was the limiter. But with interconnects increasingly viewed as the limiter on advanced nodes, there’s an opportunity to rethink how we build systems-on-chips (SoCs). ”Interconnect delay is a fundamental tr... » read more

Searching For Power Bugs


How much power is your design meant to consume while performing a particular function? For many designs, getting this right may separate success from failure, but knowing that right number is not as easy as it sounds. Significant gaps remain between what power analysis may predict and what silicon consumes. As fast as known gaps are closed, new challenges and demands are being placed on the ... » read more

Confusion Grows Over Packaging And Scaling


The push toward both multi-chip packaging and continued scaling of digital logic is creating confusion about how to classify designs, what design tools work best, and how to best improve productivity and meet design objectives. While the goals of design teams remains the same — better performance, lower power, lower cost — the choices often involve tradeoffs between design budgets and ho... » read more

Why Data Format Slows Chip Manufacturing Progress


The Standard Test Data Format (STDF), a workhorse data format used to pull test results data from automated test equipment, is running out of steam after 35 years. It is unable to keep up with the explosive increase in data generated by more sensors in various semiconductor manufacturing processes. First developed in 1985 by Teradyne, STDF is a binary format that is translated into ASCII or ... » read more

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