Expecting The Unexpected: Analyzing A Data Center Cooling Failure

Data center thermal management is often a reactive process. Servers issue warning messages, monitoring alarms activate, or employees express concern about general temperature levels/hotspots and then management decides what to do next. For incremental issues, once known, the necessary steps can be taken to resolve or improve these issues; however, what happens when a potential thermal issue onl... » read more

Taking Power Much More Seriously

An increasing number of electronic systems are becoming limited by thermal issues, and the only way to solve them is by elevating energy consumption to a primary design concern rather than a last-minute optimization technique. The optimization of any system involves a complex balance of static and dynamic techniques. The goal is to achieve maximum functionality and performance in the smalles... » read more

CogniFiber: Photonic Computing

Computing with light has many advantages. It's fast, cheap, and it doesn't generate much heat. But it's also difficult to make it work, and it has a number of challenges that are specific to photonics. CogniFiber, an Israeli startup, says it has solved many of these issues. The company uses photonics over fiber, and it has introduced a glass-based chip. “We use light as a data conveyor ... » read more

Thermal Floorplanning For Chips

Heat management is becoming crucial to an increasing number of chips, and it's one of a growing number of interconnected factors that must be considered throughout the entire development flow. At the same time, design requirements are exacerbating thermal problems. Those designs either have to increase margins or become more intelligent about the way heat is generated, distributed, and dissi... » read more

TFETs Cut Sub-Threshold Swing

One of the main obstacles to continued transistor scaling is power consumption. As gate length decreases, the sub-threshold swing (SS) — the gate voltage required to change the drain current by one order of magnitude — increases. As Qin Zhang, Wei Zhao, and Alan Seabaugh of Notre Dame explained in 2006, SS faces a theoretical minimum of 60 mV/decade at room temperature in conventional MO... » read more

FinFET Scaling Reaches Thermal Limit

In 1974, Robert H. Dennard was working as an IBM researcher. He introduced the idea that MOSFETs would continue to work as voltage-controlled switches in conjunction with shrinking features, providing doping levels, the chip's geometry, and voltages are scaled along with those size reductions. This became known as Dennard's Law even though, just like Moore's Law, it was anything but a law. T... » read more

Capturing Performance

The challenge of working out the best performance for a given power budget is not a new one, but in many power-sensitive applications, the balance is tricky and requires sophisticated techniques. This is especially true in the media processor market where many systems companies are held back by power, energy and thermal issues. “It's really not a battery problem, it's a thermal problem... » read more

Power Shift

The disaggregation of the mobile market, which began with Nokia, Ericsson and RIM challenging the entrenched position of Motorola back in the late 1990s, is shifting again. This time it’s being driven by a different kind of power play, namely physical power issues inside a device. The biggest problem in shrinking die and pushing economies of scale in conjunction with Moore’s Law is relat... » read more