Week In Review: Design, Low Power

Valens and IonQ go public; power integrity for analog, digital; ultra-low resource RISC-V; neuromorphic computing.


Valens Semiconductor began trading on the New York Stock Exchange as VLN after a merger with special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC) PTK Acquisition Corp. Valens offers high-speed connectivity chips for the audio-video and automotive markets, including its HDBaseT technology for connectivity between ultra-HD video sources and remote displays and its in-vehicle high-speed links. The transaction generated about $155 million. Founded in 2006, Valens is based in Hod Hasharon, Israel.

Chip merger and acquisition deals reached $22 billion through August of this year, according to market research firm IC Insights. Q1 deals along totaled $15.8 billion, a record high for the first quarter of a year. The eight-month total is roughly similar to the previous two years, with fourteen acquisitions announcements so far this year.

Siemens Digital Industries Software introduced mPower power integrity software for 2D and 2.5/3D analog, digital, and mixed signal IC designs, including electromigration and voltage drop analysis. Siemens said it can replace rough static analysis and SPICE simulation of select nets for analog ICs along with providing runtime improvements. The digital solution integrates into existing design flows and requires low per-machine memory. MaxLinear and Esperanto noted using the tool.

Siemens is also launching Xcelerator as a Service (XaaS) to make the Xcelerator portfolio of digital twin and digital thread product design software accessible available as a flexible, cloud-based offering.

Synopsys received certification from AIM Photonics for its IC Validator solution for physical verification signoff of photonics ICs. The solution works with Synopsys’ PIC Design Suite and aids in the development of devices such as high-performance networking SoCs and AI accelerator engines.

Networking company GBT Technologies said it is designing a new EDA software tool to automatically generate IC layout IP blocks. The tool will read process design rules, constraints, and detailed system specifications to automatically generate the block.

Bluespec released the MCU RISC-V processor family targeted at ultra-low resource utilization on Xilinx FPGAs. The family of RISC-V processors provides FPGA users with a fully RISC-V ISA compliant processor subsystem that requires less than 2000 LUTs on Xilinx devices, and includes a pre-built open-source toolchain and reference designs for the Digilent Arty Artix-7 FPGA Development board. An evaluation version is available.

SoC-e uncorked a 10G MTSN Switch IP core for Ethernet multiport time sensitive networking. It is compatible with Fast Ethernet, Gigabit Ethernet, and the new 2.5G/5G/10G interfaces, along with legacy speed ports.

Intel uncorked Loihi 2, its second-generation neuromorphic research chip, and Lava, an open-source software framework for developing neuro-inspired applications. Building on what was learned from the first-generation chip, Loihi 2 supports generalized event-based messaging, offers greater neuron model programmability, redesigned asynchronous circuits, and is built on Intel 4 for improved resource density. Lava is an open, modular, and extensible software framework for the neuromorphic research community that doesn’t require specialized hardware.

Collaborators from Samsung Electronics and Harvard University published a paper proposing a way to copy the brain’s neuronal connection map using a new nanoelectrode array and then paste this map onto a high-density three-dimensional network of solid-state memories. The authors say this could be used to create a memory chip that approximates the computing traits of the brain such as low power, facile learning, and adaptation.

Syntiant uncorked a TinyML Development Board kit aimed at both technical and non-technical users for building machine learning-powered applications in smart products, such as speech commands, wake word detection, acoustic event detection, and other sensor use cases. Using an NDP101 Neural Decision Processor, the TinyML board can perform speech and sensor applications to run at under 140 and 100 microwatts, respectively.

A/V & automotive
4D lidar company Aeva Technologies licensed Arteris IP’s FlexNoC interconnect IP for its next-generation digital processing SoC. Aeva’s 4D lidar solution leverages a proprietary frequency modulated continuous wave technology to measure velocity in addition to position, and the company noted that the NoC IP helped it to integrate complex functions on a single digital processing chip. Arteris IP said this deal marks the 200th customer to license its solutions.

Xilinx FPGAs and adapatable SoCs were used in a range of Sony’s electronics products used for professional audio-video (A/V) applications, including the new XVS-G1 4K Live Production Switcher, which uses the Virtex UltraScale+ FPGA with HBM. Other products using Xilinx devices include the VENICE full-frame digital cinema camera, FX9 full-frame 6K sensor camera, BVM-HX310 31-inch 4K TRIMASTER HX Professional Master Monitor, HDC-5500 three 2/3-inch 4K CMOS sensor portable system camera, and the HDCU-5500 Camera Control Unit.

Arasan Chip Systems uncorked its MIPI Soundwire PHY I/O IP. Supporting Soundwire v1.2, it comprises PHY Host IP with 1 clock lane, 1 data lane and PHY Device IP with 1 clock lane, 3 data lanes. It integrates with Arasan’s Soundwire Host and Device Controller and features a programmable delay.

FortifyIQ launched two products for pre-silicon security verification. SideChannel Studio simulates side-channel leakage and produces simulated traces in the same formats real scopes use for traces, while FaultInjection Studio performs a special-purpose fault simulation. Using the simulation output, the tools perform tests and mount attacks to find signs of leakage and see if a device can pass certification.

Quantum computing
Quantum computing company IonQ went public, trading on the New York Stock Exchange as IONQ after a merger with SPAC dMY Technology Group III. IonQ uses a trapped-ion approach to build quantum computers, with systems available through the cloud on Amazon Braket, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud, as well as through direct API access. It expects to receive in excess of $600 million of gross proceeds.

Cambridge Quantum’s quantum software development kit TKET is now open-source and available for all to use without restrictions. TKET combines high-level hardware-agnostic optimization for quantum circuits with target specific compilation passes for the chosen quantum device, allowing users to move between quantum platforms. The company is merging with Honeywell Quantum Solutions later this year.

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