Week In Review: Auto, Security, Pervasive Computing

Automotive chips and Renesas fire; Cadence, GF 12LP/12LP+, collaborations.


A fire at a Renesas fab may put a further squeeze on the supply of automotive chips, according to an Associated Press story. The fire in Naka Factory (located in Japan in Hitachinaka, Ibaraki Prefecture) was caused by plating equipment igniting within the first floor of the N3 Building and was extinguished the same day it started on March 19th, according to a press release. “The casing of the equipment and the plating tank have relatively low resistance to heat,” according to statements at a March 2nd press conference, “The equipment ignited due to overcurrent. However, the cause of the overcurrent and the reason for the ignition is currently being investigated.” The factory made parts for Toyota, Nissan and Honda, according to the AP.

Chinese cell phone maker Xiaomi will make electric vehicles at Great Wall Motor Co Ltd’s factory, according to a story in Reuters.

The security of popular apps on our phones is not strong, concludes a report from the Synopsys Cybersecurity Research Center (CyRC). The CyRC examined 3,335 of the most popular Android mobile apps on the Google Play Store from the first quarter 2021. Sixty-three percent of the apps contained open-source components with known security vulnerabilities. Other common problems are information leakage and apps that require far more access than necessary.

Pervasive computing — IoT, edge, cloud, data center, and back
Cadence and Globalfoundries (GF) are working together on design for manufacturing (DFM) signoff improvements that use machine learning (ML) prediction to find hotspots during manufacturing. GF is using Cadence’s Litho Physical Analyzer with ML technology with GF models installed. The analyzer, now qualified for GF 12LP/12LP+, provides up to 33% greater detection efficiency with less than 10% runtime impact, according to a press release from Cadence. GF 12LP,12LP+ is used by the AI, data center, hyperscale, aerospace, and industrial markets.

Cadence and GF also collaborated on a tapeout of a new test Tensilica SoC on GF’s 22FDX platform. The test chip demonstrated ultra-low power (ULP)  and ultra-low voltage (ULV), according to a press release, using a combination of Tensilica HiFi 5 and Fusion F1 DSPs that will appeal to designers of audio processing, IoT and AI systems. The Cadence digital full flow was used along with the 22FDX feature called Adaptive Body Bias (ABB), which can adapt transistor voltages on the fly to achieve ULV.

The workflow of Ansys HFSS 3D Layout is being used by Global Unichip Corporation (GUC) to speed up advanced-IC designs. The layout workflow is used for die-to-die solution across CoWoS, InFO, and interposer designs in AI, high-performance computing, and data center networking customer ASICs. GUC also used it in its GUC multi-die interLink (GLink) interface.

People, companies
Intel is expanding its third-party manufacturing while also investing $20 billion in two new fabs at its Ocotillo campus in Arizona. The company plans to provide foundry capacity in the U.S. and Europe. Intel reports that its 7nm process development is progressing well.

KLA used its equipment to help investigate if N95 masks are less effective when reused after disinfection. KLA used a Nano Indenter G200X and a Zeta-20 optical profiler to measure fibers that had repeat exposures to ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI). The UV did affect the fibers measured in the N95 filtering facepiece respirators (FFRs), as the masks are called.

Flex Logix, supplier AI edge inference accelerator and eFPGA IP, closed a $55 million oversubscribed Series D funding round. Mithril Capital Management led the financing with significant participation by existing investors Lux Capital, Eclipse Ventures, and the Tate Family Trust, according to a press release.

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