Week In Review: Design, Low Power

Arm’s new architecture; hardware-assisted verification; Magnachip goes private; RISC-V ISS.


Magnachip will be acquired by Wise Road Capital for $1.4 billion, taking the NYSE-listed company private. The company designs and manufactures OLED display driver ICs and a range of power management discretes and ICs. Magnachip’s management team and employees are expected to continue in their roles, and the company will remain based in Cheongju, Seoul, and Gumi, South Korea. The all-cash transaction, with a price of $29 per share, is expected to close during the second half of 2021.

Arm introduced its new Arm v9 architecture. A big focus is security, with the company announcing the Confidential Compute Architecture (CCA), which shields portions of code and data from access or modification while in-use, even from privileged software, by performing computation in a hardware-based secure environment. Another key area is expanding the Scalable Vector Extension (SVE), a Single Instruction Multiple Data (SIMD) instruction set that is used as an extension to AArch64, to allow for flexible vector length implementations. SVE2 extends the SVE instruction set to enable data-processing domains beyond HPC and ML to applications such as computer vision, LTE baseband processing, genomics, and in-memory database. With v9, Arm expects CPU performance increases of more than 30% over the next two generations of mobile and infrastructure CPUs, as well as increased frequency, bandwidth, and cache size, and reduced memory latency.

Siemens Digital Industries Software unveiled its latest hardware-assisted verification system. New products in the Veloce family include HYCON for virtual platform/software-enabled verification; Strato+, an upgrade to the Veloce Strato hardware emulator with a capacity roadmap that scales up to 15 billion gates; Primo for enterprise-level FPGA prototyping that scales up to 320 FPGAs; and proFPGA for desktop FPGA prototyping with a modular approach to capacity. To ease moving between products, Veloce Strato+ and Primo use the same RTL, virtual verification environment, and transactors and models to maximize the reuse of verification collateral, environment, and test content.

Imperas Software released riscvOVPsimCOREV, a free Instruction Set Simulator (ISS) based on the Imperas reference models of the OpenHW Group’s processor RISC-V core IP. The ISS can be configured for the complete range of the OpenHW CORE-V processor IP portfolio, including the RTL-frozen CV32E40P (formally known as PULP RI5CY), the under-development CV32E40S and CV32E40X, plus the upcoming CVA6-32/64 bit (formally known as PULP ARIANE), and will be extended overtime to cover the future roadmap of CORE-V.

A new agreement lets DARPA-funded research programs access Tortuga Logic’s Radix technology through the DARPA Toolbox, enabling proactive security verification and assurance measures for the semiconductor chip development process. “This program is going to drop all of the barriers to bringing Tortuga’s security design lifecycle platform to the DARPA community.  Additionally, it is going to broaden visibility into how FPGAs, ASICs, and SoCs can be secured, proactively, during the chip design process, well before these devices ever see the light of day,” said Brian Walsh, Director of Tortuga Logic Sales. DARPA Toolbox is an initiative to provide access to commercially available tools and IP for DARPA-sponsored research.

Codasip and Veridify Security teamed up to provide secure boot functionality for the Codasip Low Power Embedded RISC-V processors. The new security features are enabled by Veridify’s quantum-resistant security methods that can confirm the firmware used by these processors during the boot process is authentic. It can also be used to enable additional security features like secure firmware updates, authentication, and data protection. The security features will be available in the second half of 2021.

Market research firm IC Insights predicts that sales of optoelectronics, sensors and actuators, and discrete semiconductors (O-S-D) will increase by 13% to $99.4 billion this year, with a rise of 10% in 2022 to $109.1 billion. “Optoelectronics sales in 2020 were bogged down by drops in LED-dominated lamp devices (-6%), infrared devices (-4%), and light sensors (-3%) despite strong growth in laser transmitters (+10%) and a narrow increase in CMOS image sensors (+4%).  Total sensor sales grew 8% in 2020 while actuator revenues climbed 15%, partly because of high demand for MEMS-based RF filters in smartphones and wireless systems,” the report notes.

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

SEMI’s MEMS & Sensors Technical Congress will be held April 13-15. GSA’s Silicon Leadership Summit will be held April 14-15. The Linley Spring Processor Conference 2021 will take place April 19-23. On April 20-22, several events will take place: Synopsys’ SNUG World, Ansys’ Simulation World, and the Industry Strategy Symposium Europe 2021. The IEEE Custom Integrated Circuits Conference (CICC 2021) will close out the month on April 25-30.

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