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Week In Review: Design, Low Power

AI for edge; AI image signal processor; Intel, AMD debut new processors; enterprise quantum computing.

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SK Hynix completed the first phase of its acquisition of Intel’s NAND and SSD business. In this first step it took control Intel’s SSD business and the Dalian NAND flash manufacturing facility in China, for a price of $7 billion. Next, it will acquire from Intel the remaining assets in relation to its NAND business, including IP related to the manufacture and design of NAND flash wafers, R&D employees for NAND flash wafers, the Dalian facility workforce, and the other associated assets, for consideration of $2 billion. The new SK Hynix subsidiary will be known as Solidigm and be headquartered in San Jose, California.

AMD’s acquisition of Xilinx has been delayed. “We continue making good progress on the required regulatory approvals to close our transaction. While we had previously expected that we would secure all approvals by the end of 2021, we have not yet completed the process and we now expect the transaction to close in the first quarter of 2022. Our conversations with regulators continue to progress productively, and we expect to secure all required approvals,” the companies said in a statement.

AI
CEVA debuted its latest generation processor architecture for AL/ML inference workloads on edge devices. NeuPro-M is a self-contained heterogeneous architecture that is composed of multiple specialized co-processors and configurable hardware accelerators that simultaneously process diverse workloads of deep neural networks. Initial configurations are a single NeuPro-M engine with up to 20 TOPS at 1.25GHz, or eight NeuPro-M engines with up to 160 TOPS at 1.25GHz.

Ambarella debuted its Artificial Intelligence Image Signal Processor (AISP). The AI based ISP architecture uses neural networks to augment the image processing done by the hardware ISP integrated into its SoCs. “Being able to see clearly in low-light or high-contrast conditions is key to robust camera systems,” said Les Kohn, Ambarella’s CTO and co-founder. “Traditional camera systems have had to live with noisy or dark black and white video in low-light conditions, and dark shadows or blown-out highlights in high contrast conditions. Both of these cases result in the loss of details that are detrimental to both human viewing and AI applications. With our new AISP technology, we increase the useful range of camera systems while reducing the total system cost to build high quality cameras.”

Processors
Intel announced its 12th Gen Intel Core family of mobile processors with the launch of the H-series mobile processors. The flagship Core i9-12900HK offers up to 5 GHz frequencies, 14 cores (6 P-cores and 8 E-cores) and 20 threads. It particularly targets high-performance gaming laptops. The company also added a lineup of 22 new 65- and 35-watt 12th Gen Intel Core desktop processors.

AMD introduced a wide range of new products, including Ryzen 6000 Series processors with on-chip graphics available for notebook PCs, Radeon RX 6000S Series GPUs optimized for thin-and-light gaming laptops, Radeon RX 6000M Series GPUs for premium gaming laptops, Radeon RX 6500 XT and Radeon RX 6400 desktop graphics cards, and new technologies to boost performance and extend battery life on laptops.

Quantum computing
Quantum computer developer Rigetti Computing and Supernova Partners Acquisition Company II (the SPAC Rigetti is the process of merging with to go public) announced $45 million in additional commitments for a private placement of Supernova II common stock. The commitments include a new investment from Lansdowne Partners (UK) LLP and from an existing PIPE investor, bringing PIPE investment up to $148 million. Rigetti also recently introduced its next-generation ‘Aspen-M’ 80-qubit quantum computer into private beta.

Quantum software company Zapata Computing commissioned a report on enterprise adoption of quantum computing. According to the report, 71% of respondents are most interested in using quantum computing to address machine learning and data analytics problems. An increasing number of organizations are budgeting over $1 million for quantum computing, but the complexity of integrating quantum computing with their existing IT stack is still a hurdle. The transportation industry had the highest percentage of respondents in the early stages of adoption.

The Indian Ministry of Defence announced that the Indian Army established a quantum laboratory at the Military College of Telecommunication Engineering (MCTE) in Mhow, in the state of Madhya Pradesh. It also established an Artificial Intelligence Centre at the same institution. Key research areas will include quantum key distribution, quantum communication, quantum computing and post quantum cryptography.

Storage
Samsung Electronics uncorked a new SSD for enterprise servers that integrates the PCIe 5.0 interface with Samsung’s sixth-generation V-NAND. PM1743 will feature a sequential read speed of up to 13,000 MB/s and a random read speed of 2,500K input/output operations per second (IOPS), with a sequential write speed of 6,600 MB/s and a random write speed of 250K IOPS. It has a power efficiency of up to 608 MB/s per watt, about a 30% boost over the previous generation.

IoT & connectivity
Infineon launched a new Bluetooth LE SoC. AIROC CYW20829 is a Bluetooth 5.3 core spec-compliant device that integrates a power amplifier with 10 dBm of transmit output power and has receive sensitivity of -98.5 dBm for LE and -106 dBm for LE-LR 125 Kbps. It targets IoT, smart home, and industrial applications. “The device has been designed from the ground up with efficient peripheral design, low leakage silicon with scalable and efficient MIPS, and a low power Bluetooth radio. The solution offers superior RF performance for reliable, robust connections, enabling the best user experience in the latest smart, connected devices,” said Sonal Chandrasekharan, Vice President of the Bluetooth product line at Infineon.

Wi-Fi Alliance published Wi-Fi 6 Release 2, adding support for uplink multi-user MIMO, which enables devices to upload content concurrently to an access point and aims to reduce latency while uploading documents, video conferencing, and similar activity. It also includes three new power management features, broadcast target wake time (TWT), extended sleep time, and dynamic multi-user spatial multiplexing power save (SMPS). The features allow multiple devices to receive extended sleep periods, allow for specific “wake up” times for transmitting data, and enable dynamic shut off of redundant receive chains to optimize power consumption.

Infineon and location-as-a-service company Deeyook teamed up to combine Deeyook’s indoor/outdoor Wi-Fi/4G/5G location tracking technology with Infineon’s AIROC Wi-Fi portfolio.

Automotive
Infineon made samples available of its new AURIX TC4x family of 28nm MCUs for next-generation eMobility, ADAS, automotive E/E architectures, and AI applications. It includes the next-generation TriCore 1.8, along with a SIMD vector DSP parallel processing unit. It is also collaborating with Synopsys on a Virtualizer Development Kit and other tools.

EasyMile utilized Ansys software to help demonstrate the safety of its L4 driverless electric vehicles, which include shuttles and tow tractors. EasyMile said it was able to establish guidelines for safety analysis, along with the unique templates and supporting documentation needed to demonstrate the safety of their AV solutions for customers and various government regulatory bodies.

Innoviz Technologies is using Ansys simulation solutions in designing its automotive-grade lidar sensor, including structural analysis, dynamic simulation, and thermal simulation. The company said it helped reduce product development by two full design cycles over one and a half years.

Space
IR HiRel, an Infineon company, supplied mission-critical radiation-hardened components for the recently-launched James Webb Space Telescope. “The spacecraft bus provides vital support functions for the telescope’s operation, not the least of which is power distribution, command, control and data handling, etc.,” said Chris Opoczynski, Senior Vice President and General Manager of IR HiRel.

Business
GlobalFoundries is increasing the volume of chips it will supply to AMD. The deal, which runs through 2025, includes supply assurance for AMD chips serving the datacenter, personal computing, embedded, and other growth markets.

Arteris IP was added to the Russell 2000 Index. “The addition of Arteris IP to the Russell 2000 Index builds on the momentum of our successful IPO in October,” said K. Charles Janac, president and CEO of Arteris IP. “Arteris IP’s inclusion in the Russell indexes marks another step forward that will continue expanding our reach broadly within the investment community.”

Ansys and 3M created an advanced simulation training program that aims to teach engineers how to model with tape and structural adhesives, optimize adhesive and joint design, decrease waste, and improve production efficiency.



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