Week In Review: Auto, Security, Pervasive Computing

Cadence simulation via hybrid cloud; ARM9 tape outs; smartphones, wearables markets strong.


Pervasive computing — IoT, edge, cloud, data center, and back
Cadence announced it has found a cost-conscience way to scale capacity for 3D electromagnetic (EM) simulations using a hybrid cloud consisting of local computing resources and cloud services from Amazon Web Service (AWS). Data stays safe on the local resources, and, if more computing resources are needed, encrypted simulation-specific data goes to the cloud. The 3D finite element method (FEM) simulation is part of Cadence’s Clarity 3D Solver 3D, which under this new method will automatically set up and run the simulation in a private, secure AWS chamber. The user defines the number of compute cores to be accessed and when. The data in the AWS chamber is deleted after the compute work has been returned to the on-prem computers. “We utilize Clarity 3D Solver with on-premises hardware, but with the new Clarity 3D Solver Cloud, we have access to unlimited compute resources with zero wait time, allowing us to more quickly optimize our designs. This reduces our turnaround time and enables us to produce more robust products with fewer design iterations,” said Cadence customer Steven Ting, director at Inventec, in a press release.

AWS also announced it is making its Amazon Elastic Container Service (ECS) Anywhere generally available so that customers who want to run containers on their own infrastructure without having to set up their own container and resource management system. A container is a way to package and run applications securely on a cloud service. Some customers want the same functionality locally (on-prem) for security, regulatory, or efficiency, says AWS in a press release. Siemens’ DI Software Valor NPI and PCBflow is an example. “With Amazon ECS Anywhere, we found a powerfully simple service with a single management plane to consistently manage container applications running at edge locations across multiple factory floors,” said Dan Hoz, general manager, Siemens Valor in AWS’ press release. “Our team expects to use Amazon ECS Anywhere by our customers to manage the factory floors in the next 1–2 years, which will allow our end customer to get real-time insights into their factory floors.”

Ampere Computing, a startup working on Arm-based data center chip alternatives to Intel and AMD, received media kudos after revealed it will launch its in-house design of Arm-compatible CPU cores made specifically for data centers. The Ampere Cores — to be used in the 128-core Altra Max — will be built on a 5nm process and will use 50% less power than AMD Rome CPU. Tirias Research’s Jim McGregor wrote in Forbes that “the company also has a unique strategy in today’s server market. While many companies are focused on either developing accelerators or processors designed for specific workloads like AI training and inference, Ampere is developing a general-purpose server processor that is targeted at the demands of data center applications and challenges, especially for cloud services.” Ampere’s CEO is Intel veteran Renee James.

AWS is opening data centers in the UAE in 2022.

Arm’s early adopters of its Armv9 architecture report successful tape outs of SoCs for mobile devices using Cadence’s digital and verification flows and Synopsysdesign flow, verification platform, and IP for high-end devices (smartphones, laptops, PCs, digital TVs, wearables, and augmented- and virtual-reality applications). Cadence adapted its RTL-to-GDS digital flow with 5nm / 7nm Rapid Adoption Kits (RAKs) for Arm Cortex-X2, Cortex-A710, and Cortex-A510 CPUs and Mali-G710 GPU. Synopsys adapted flows to target 5 nm, 4nm, and 3nm advanced-process technologies for the Cortex-X2, Cortex-A710, and Cortex-A510 CPUs based on Armv9, Mali-G710 GPUs, and Arm DynamIQ Shared Unit-110.

Siemens is adding a new generative engineering module to its Simcenter simulation portfolio. The Simcenter Studio generates architectures using AI that interprets user’s design requirements as a way to aid design and speed development. Siemens Digital Industries Software also announced that its simulator-independent Questa Verification IP (QVIP) solution supports PCI Express 6.0.

High-performance software simulation company IAR Systems is using Imperas Simulation Reference Models for Arm 64bit in its IAR Embedded Workbench for Arm. IAR chose Imperas’ ARM model AArch64 Armv8-A to use in the Embedded Workbench, which is a test and development environment for embedded systems designers to compile, debug, and analyze code without the using external hardware or boards. Imperas makes processor models and virtual prototype solutions.

IDC predicts 2021 smartphone growth will reach its highest level since 2015, with shipments reaching 1.38 billion units in 2021. IDC says that’s an increase of 7.7% over 2020. In the wearables market, small companies are fueling growth even though the market leaders are a few large companies with double digit market share — Apple, Samsung, Xiaomi, Huawei, says IDC in another forecast. 104.6 million units shipped in 1Q21, which is the first time wearables hit the 100 million mark in a quarter, says IDC. 11.4 million of those units in 1Q21 were from India’s wearables market, with strong momentum in the watch and earwear categories.

Automotive & transportation
Advanced nodes will make some sophisticated automotive systems possible, such as self-driving vehicles that use AI in driving. Cadence and Synopsys both announced milestones with TSMC’s N3 and N4 processes. Synopsys’ DesignWare PVT Subsystem — the in-chip sensing from Moortec, a company that Synopsys acquired — is now available for TSMC’s N3 process. The process, voltage, and temperature (PVT) are the indicators of chip health, which is why the PVT Subsystem monitoring and sensing IP is part of Synopsys’ Silicon Lifecycle Management (SLM) platform. Cadence’s digital and custom/analog tools have been optimized and certified for TSMC’s N3 and N4 process technologies, supporting the latest Design Rule Manual (DRM) certification and SPICE correlation. The corresponding N3 and N4 process design kit (PDKs) are available now.

Automated driving software company AImotive upgraded its aiWare automotive NPU hardware IP. aiWare4, the fourth generation of the IP, now delivers up to 64 TOPS per core, uses wavefront-processing algorithms, has upgraded memory architecture that improved PPA and built-in ISO26262 safety support.

Consumer Reports dinged Tesla’s 2021 Model 3 because it removed a radar sensor used in safety features. “Tesla removed the front radar sensor during the 2021 model year,” says Consumer Reports on its website. “Without the sensor, some features such as Lane Keeping Assistance and Smart Summon are temporarily limited or inactivated. NHTSA reports that models produced after April 27, 2021, no longer offer Forward Collision Warning or Automatic Emergency Braking, causing CR to lower the score of this model until those features are restored or are confirmed.”

GM plans to restart four North American automotive plants next month. The plants went dark because of the chip shortage.

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