Week In Review: Auto, Security, Pervasive Computing

COVID robotics; work from home security; Ethernet 800G.


The United States now has the highest number of COVID-19 cases, and the state governments in the U.S. are asking technologists for help, according to a story in The Washington Post. Data scientists, software developers, and others are needed to help. New York State started a Technology SWAT team calling for help from the tech community.

Intel AI Builder program participant DarwinAI and University of Waterloo’s VIP Lab collaborated to develop COVID-Net, a convolutional neural network for COVID-19 detection via chest radiography.The source code and dataset are available by open source on GitHub. Read more about DarwinAI’s efforts here.

A new consortium is throwing AI at COVID-19 issues, according to an article in The New York Times. The C3.ai Digital Transformation Institute brings together researchers from the AI company C3.ai, Microsoft, and U.S. universities (Princeton, Carnegie Mellon, MIT, the University of California, the University of Illinois and the University of Chicago).

Data acceleration
Achronix will be developing its Speedster 7t high-performance data acceleration FPGAs using Synopsys‘ DesignWare PCI Express 5.0 and DDR4 IP. Designed for AI, the FPGAs need fast, reliable access to memory. The DDR4 controller and PHY IP provides high-bandwidth and low-latency memory interfaces, operating at 3200 Mb/s, a key requirement in AI systems needing high-capacity external memory.

Synopsys also released verification IP (VIP) and Universal Verification Methodology (UVM) source code test suite for Ethernet 800G based on the Ethernet Technology Consortium (ETC) specification. Ethernet 800G will provide bandwidth needed to support video-on-demand, social networking and cloud services continues to rise.

With many people around the world working from home, hackers now have more easy pickings because security levels in households and VPNs are often less secure than in the office environment. For instance, hackers are changing Domain Name System (DNS) settings and gain access through routers to promote fake coronavirus information apps, mostly in Germany and France, according to a Threatpost story. Although the outmoded VPN is being used less, U.S. federal government still uses VPNs for those working from home, reports NextGov. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has released VPN guidelines for working more securely from home.

Supplier of hardware security modules (HSMs) Utimaco has signed a patent license agreement with Rambus to license Rambus’ Differential Power Analysis (DPA) Countermeasures, which protect ICs and devices against side-channel attacks.

To help with AR/VR/MR devices, heads-up displays and autonomous vehicles, Synopsys added an aim area feature in its latest LightTools release that can simulate the characteristics of a scattering surface in selected portions of the surface’s scatter distribution. The feature makes it easier to identify stray light and minimize its effect on optical performance.

The role of robotics is clear in future pandemics, says an editorial in ScienceRobotics. Although robots are already used in dirty, dangerous industrial and military applications, only a few attempts were made during past epidemics and pandemics to use robots to replace some medical staff duties, such as testing, disinfection, and resupply. “The impact of COVID-19 may drive further research in robotics to address risks of infectious diseases,” says ScienceRobotics. “But without sustained research efforts robots will, once again, not be ready for the next incident. By fostering a fusion of engineering and infectious disease professionals with dedicated funding we can be ready when (not if) the next pandemic arrives.”

A special report on how robots and automation are fighting Covid-19 in Robotics Online summarizes who is working on what robotics problems, such as disinfection and automation.

Industry updates
SiFive has selected Synopsys’ Fusion Design Platform and Verification Continuum platform to designing silicon IP cores and SoCs.

InterMotion Technology has successfully verified its soft IP portfolio for the latest Lattice Semiconductor CrossLink FPGA family, using Aldec‘s Active-HDL for mixed-HDL simulation and debugging.

Codasip released updated Codasip Studio and Codasip CodeSpace 8.3.0, with minimal runtime library and minimal runtime, memory interface arbiter, tightly coupled memory.

China’s Anti-Monopoly Bureau has lifted restrictive conditions on Advanced Semiconductor Engineering, Inc. (ASE) and Siliconware Precision Industries Co., Ltd. (SPIL), for forming holding company, ASE Technology Holding Co., Ltd. (ASEH). The restrictive conditions have been in place since 2017,

Applied Materials withdrew its business outlook for the second quarter of fiscal 2020, ending on April 26, 2020, because of the uncertainty from COVID-19.

The Churchill Club, a Silicon Valley forum for 35 years, will be closing.

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