Week In Review: Auto, Security, Pervasive Computing

5G, pervasive computing, auto push global materials market; MLPerf benchmarks; Accellera IP security standards.


Pervasive computing — data center, edge, IoT, 5G
Qualcomm settled its 5G licensing disagreement with Huawei, which will pay $1.8 billion in back royalties and will pay for licensing going forward. Huawei is also now the world’s largest supplier of smartphones, surpassing Samsung Electronics Co. Qualcomm also announced a super-fast charging platform this week for Android devices that is supposed to charge a battery to 50% full in 5 minutes, and 100% full in 15 minutes.

Xilinx wants to help drive open, interoperable, and adaptable Radio Access Network (RAN) 5G technologies. The company this week joined the Open RAN Policy Coalition, an organization that advocates for open and interoperable solutions in RAN. Xilinx is already a member of O-RAN alliance and is a contributor to the 3GPP specifications for 5G mobile networks. Xilinx offers silicon that supports multiple standards, bands, carriers and sub-networks for Open RAN, the company said in its press release. and has been working with Telefonica, the telecommunications company.

Marvell launched updated networking portfolio for networking that is a catch all for many different network types that one enterprise may use, including edge and cloud. The portfolio includes next-generation Prestera Ethernet switches and Alaska PHYs along with analytics and telemetry, flow-aware intelligence, scalable performance and integrated security technologies. Gigabit Ethernet (GE), 2.5GE, 5GE, 10GE, 25GE, 100GE and 400GE platforms are available. Some of the PHYs and switches are available now, the rest by the end of the year, says Marvell.

MLPerf Benchmarks 7.0 were released this week, and NVIDIA said it broke 16 AI performance records in latest MLPerf Benchmarks.

NXP Semiconductors released its eIQ Machine Learning (ML) software support for Glow neural network (NN) compiler for NXP’s i.MX RT crossover MCUs. Facebook originally started Glow (the Graph Lowering NN compiler) as an open community project. Glow optimizes code to reduce the memory footprint of machine learning.

An article from The Linley Group says TSMC won AI chip business in its lower cost 12LP+ technology by trimming power use. TSMC cut voltage and developing a new SRAM and multiply-accumulate (MAC) circuits for AI acceleration, specifically CNNs. “Most of the power actually goes to reading data from local SRAM and transferring it to the MAC units,” writes Linley Gwennap. TSMC found access long data vectors were power hogs and are using smaller data types and lower clock speeds to reduce power use. “Customers such as Groq and Tenstorrent are already achieving industry-leading results using the initial 12LP technology, and the first products manufactured in 12LP+ will tape out later this year.”

Intel, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) unveiled a machine programming (MP) system with a goal to automate and democratize the writing code for embedded systems. The system — right now a research project — will use neural networks to find similar bits of code and determine what the code is used for.

The Accellera System Initiative’s IP security group expects to have the first draft of its IP Security Assurance (IPSA) standard by the end of the year, according to an article in Tech Design Forum. The article quotes Working Group Chair Brent Sherman, principal engineer and security researcher at Intel, from a presentation at the recent Design Automation Conference. Because third-party IP used in integrated circuits has some risk, the goal of the IPSA working group — stated on its web page — is to provide a single “security assurance standard for hardware IP and its associated components to address security risks when integrated into embedded systems.” Basically, this will likely mean using a single clearinghouse database for all security flaws — the Common IP Security Concerns Enumeration (CIPSCE). The IP vendor can add flaws, or various strains of flaws, to the CIPSCE. Some automation may be included to help the IP integrator add any logic needed to secure the IP.

A GRUB2 bootloader vulnerability called Boothole (CVE-2020-10713) may enable malicious actors to upload malware on a massive number of devices. The vulnerability can affect millions of devices with operating systems that use GRUB2 with Secure Boot, including laptops, desktops, network industrial devices — which means medical devices. Some systems may become unbootable after infection.

U.S. company Walmart is trying out autonomously delivered groceries. The company has an agreement with self-driving delivery car company Nuro to deliver orders in Houston, Texas.

FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) and autonomous car company Waymo are expanding their autonomous driving technology partnership. Waymo will be FCA’s preferred and exclusive partner for implementing L4 autonomous technology across all FCA’s products. The L4 Waymo Driver will be used in FCA’s Ram ProMaster light commercial vehicle, which as a delivery van, implies autonomous delivery.

The semiconductor packaging material industry, a beneficiary of pervasive computing, will increase to $20.8 billion globally. The trend is being fueled by big data, high-performance computing (HPC), artificial intelligence (AI), edge computing, advanced memory, 5G infrastructure and smartphones, electric vehicles and automotive safety, according to a forecast from SEMI and TechSearch.

Depending on the market served, the quarterly reports announced this week show the semiconductor industry is still strong. UMC is up 5% quarter over quarter and 23.2% year over year. LAM Research’s revenue was up 12% quarter over quarter. NXP‘s Q2 revenue dropped 18% year-on-year, mainly because the automotive market was hit so hard by COVID-19 pandemic. Xilinx also reported its fiscal Q1 2021 numbers. Revenue for its wireless group was up 27%, while its data center group grew 10%. 

People & Companies
Intel’s chief engineering officer, Murthy Renduchintala, is leaving the company on August 3rd after Intel admitted its 7nm manufacturing process was delayed. Intel re-orged the Technology, Systems Architecture and Client Group (TSCG) that Renduchintala ran into five separate sections reporting directly to the Intel’s CEO: Technology Development (led by Ann Kelleher); Manufacturing and Operations (led by Keyvan Esfarjani); Design Engineering (led in interim by Josh Walden); Architecture, Software and Graphics (led by Raja Koduri); and Supply Chain (led by Randhir Thakur).

Test company Advantest and data-analytics company PDF Solutions announced they will be collaborating closely. Advantest will buy 3,306,924 newly issued shares of PDF Solutions common stock for approximately $65.2 million and create the Advantest Cloud, which will connect Advantest’s automated test equipment (ATE) and provide data analytics. PDF Solutions’ Exensio platform and Data Exchange Network (“DEX”) will be used in the Advantest Cloud.

Former CEO of PMC-Sierra and Integrated Device Technology Greg Lang is joining Rambus’ Board of Directors.

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