Week In Review: Design, Low Power

Synopsys buys optical measurement company; PSS 2.0 draft; Arm-based supercomputer tops list.


Synopsys acquired Light Tec, a provider of optical scattering measurements and measurement equipment. The company also provides optical engineering consulting services plus training for use of Synopsys’ lighting simulation software. “Light Tec’s proven optical measurement capabilities provide our customers with robust new tools for high-accuracy optical product simulations and visualizations,” said Dr. Howard Ko, general manager of Synopsys’ Silicon Engineering Group. Light Tec is based in Hyères, France, and was founded in 1999. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

MediaTek subsidiary Richtek will acquire Intel’s Enpirion power management solutions and controller product line. The $85 million deal is expected to close in Q4.

Accellera released a draft of the Portable Test and Stimulus Standard 2.0. Additions to the PSS 2.0 draft standard include new language features such as a core library for common PSS applications, collection types, parameterized types, and constraint enhancement. The draft includes about 90% of the projected functionality, and the official Portable Test and Stimulus Standard 2.0 release is expected in March 2021. Public review will close on December 18, 2020.

The Fugaku supercomputer remained the fastest in the world, according to the latest Top500 list. A joint development of RIKEN and Fujitsu, the Arm-based supercomputer added over 300k cores and earned a new record 442 petaflops on the High Performance Linpack (HPL) benchmark; it also reached 2.0 exaflops on a new mixed precision HPC-AI benchmark. The number two system, Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s IBM-built Summit supercomputer, had a performance of 148.8 petaflops on HPL.

Two new systems reached the top ten. At number seven is the JUWELS Booster Module, an Atos-built BullSequana machine recently installed at Forschungszentrum Jülich that uses AMD EPYC processors with NVIDIA A100 GPUs for acceleration. It is part of a modular system. At number ten is Dammam-7, installed at Saudi Aramco, an HPE Cray CS-Storm system that uses Intel Gold Xeon CPUs and NVIDIA Tesla V100 GPUs.

Of the systems that made the Top500 list, 149 are using accelerator/co-processor technology, with 140 of those using NVIDIA chips. 90% of all systems on the list use Intel Xeon or Xeon Phi chips.

In the Green500, a list that ranks supercomputers by energy efficiency, the new NVIDIA DGX SuperPOD took the top spot with 26.2 gigaflops/watt power-efficiency during its 2.4 HPL performance run. Number two is the Xeon-based MN-3 with 26.0 gigaflops/watt. Four supercomputers place in the top ten of both the Green500 and Top500: the JUWELS Booster Module, Selene, HPC5, and Fugaku.

AI startup Deep Vision launched from stealth with its ARA-1 inference processor for vision applications at the edge. The chip utilizes an architecture that optimizes implementation of each layer in a neural network and minimizes data movement between compute and memory. It has raised $19.0 million.

Arm expanded its Flexible Access program, adding both the Cortex-M55 and Ethos-U55, which are targeted for endpoint AI applications. The program provides access to a range of IP with a yearly fee and licensing due at tapeout. Arm also added a guarantee that CPUs included in the portfolio will be available for five years.

Mentor joined Nano 2022, a strategic private/public R&D program focused on driving innovation for France’s microelectronics industry. Mentor will be working with STMicroelectronics on design and verification of low-power chips, power semiconductors, and other advanced circuit architectures as well as on characterization of standard cells, I/Os, and memories.

LG Electronics is using an on-demand virtual learning portal created by Ansys to help teams learn skills for generating and analyzing simulations. The Ansys Learning Hub includes training courses, self-paced workshops, topical lecture videos, and virtual and live training events.

Qualcomm received a license from the U.S. government to sell certain products to Huawei, including 4G phone chips, according to Reuters. However, analysts note that the license may have limited impact if it only covers 4G, and not 5G, products.

Find a new conference or learning opportunity at our events page, or check out an upcoming webinar.

Currently happening is the WE20: Conference For Women Engineers on Nov. 2-30 while the FPGA Hackathon will be held Nov. 20-22.

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