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Week In Review: Design, Low Power

Synopsys, Juniper form silicon photonics venture; EDA, IP revenue up 14.4%; quantum collaborations.

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Synopsys and Juniper Networks are forming a new, separate company that will provide the industry with an open silicon photonics platform that will include integrated lasers, optical amplifiers, and a full suite of photonic components to form a complete solution that will be accessible through a Process Design Kit (PDK). The new company is being formed, in part, from the carve-out of integrated silicon photonics assets from Juniper. While part of Juniper, it collaborated with Tower Semiconductor to develop and qualify Tower Semiconductor’s PH18DA process technology for a “laser-on-a-chip” open silicon photonics platform. The new company has created 400G and 800G photonics reference designs with integrated lasers and expects first samples to be available in summer 2022. “This revolutionary technology will change the economics of how people are going to build photonic systems,” said Rami Rahim, CEO of Juniper Networks. “We have been strong supporters of integrated silicon photonics and we believe the new company will drive development of these systems by using an advanced open platform that will dramatically reduce costs and increase the performance and reliability of designs across multiple use cases.” The new company will be jointly owned by Synopsys and Juniper, with Synopsys as the majority owner. The new company’s results will be consolidated into Synopsys financials.

AMD will acquire Pensando for approximately $1.9 billion. Pensando provides a distributed services platform that includes a high-performance, fully programmable packet processor and software stack that accelerate networking, security, storage, and other services. “To build a leading-edge data center with the best performance, security, flexibility and lowest total cost of ownership requires a wide range of compute engines,” said Lisa Su, AMD chair and CEO. “The Pensando team brings world-class expertise and a proven track record of innovation at the chip, software, and platform level which expands our ability to offer leadership solutions for our cloud, enterprise, and edge customers.” The deal is expected to close in the second quarter of 2022.

Intel, Micron, Analog Devices, and MITRE Engenuity formed the Semiconductor Alliance to promote creation of a National Semiconductor Technology Center that will focus on innovation in the U.S. semiconductor industry and supply chain. “The semiconductor industry in the U.S. is at an inflection point. There has never been a more important time to come together as an industry to establish the path forward to advance the foundation of innovation that will help solve the nation’s biggest challenges,” said Ann Kelleher, executive vice president and general manager of Technology Development at Intel Corporation. “The Semiconductor Alliance is an open collaboration that will leverage current and future R&D investments by industry and government throughout the U.S. and will support the spirit of the CHIPS for America Act to re-establish American industry leadership.” MITRE operates federally funded research and development centers and manages the CWE and CVE security databases. Its subsidiary MITRE Engenuity is a neutral player that aims to encourage government, industry, and academia R&D collaboration.

Qualcomm completed its acquisition of Arriver, the ADAS assets of Veoneer owned by SSW Partners. Qualcomm will incorporate Arriver’s Computer Vision, Drive Policy, and Driver Assistance assets into its Snapdragon Ride ADAS product. SSW Partners will retain Veoneer’s Tier-1 supplier businesses. The companies also signed a new agreement for continued service and support for customers, future collaboration on roadmap alignment and technology cooperation in the development of ADAS, and joint go-to-market activities.

Tsinghua Unigroup’s reorganization is going forward after a $9.4 billion injection of capital from a consortium led by state-backed Chinese investment fund JAC Capital. The conglomerate has been struggling with debt and filed for bankruptcy last year. Its subsidiaries include NAND memory manufacturer Yangtze Memory Technologies and smartphone chipset maker Unisoc.

Keysight joined the Silicon Integration Initiative (Si2) Technology Interoperability Trajectory Advisory Council (TITAN). TITAN aims to promote innovation through industry collaboration. Keysight will contribute to the secure processed data application programming interface (SPEED API), 2.5D/3D-IC design interoperability, and multi-vendor data management workflows (DMW) groups.

Tools & IP
EDA and IP industry revenue increased 14.4% from $3,031.5 million in Q4 2020 to $3,468.2 million in Q4 2021, according to the ESD Alliance. The four-quarter moving average rose 15.8%. The sector to see the largest increase was services, which jumped 43.1% to $131.1 million, with a 19% increase the four-quarter moving average. IP generated the most revenue, increasing 24.8% to $1,314.3 million, with a four-quarter moving average increase of 23.9%.

BMW Group licensed Arteris IP’s FlexNoC interconnect IP and the accompanying FlexNoC Resilience Package IP for use in a chip partially funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) as part of the ZUSE-KI-mobil publicly funded project. The goal of the project is to develop an accelerator chip for high-end deep learning applications that focuses on energy efficiency, reliability, robustness, and security. The IP was chosen for features that enhance system-level functional safety, reliability, energy efficiency, and security while also increasing system performance.

SK Hynix deployed the Cadence Spectre FX Simulator for FastSPICE-based functional verification of its DDR4 and DDR5 DRAMs targeted for PC and mobile applications. SK Hynix used the simulator to check critical output data signal values and top-level currents and timing measurements, enabling it to verify design behavior and ensure that the designs meet their functionality, timing, and power specifications. It plans to expand the simulator’s use to HBM and graphics DRAMs.

Wireless, networking, cloud
Keysight announced an end-to-end PCIe test solution for the simulation, pathfinding, characterization, validation, and compliance testing of PCIe designs. The PCIe test solution includes the company’s physical layer-system simulation; physical layer interconnect, transmitter (Tx) and receiver (Rx) test; and a new protocol layer test solution consisting of hardware and software products. In addition, Keysight introduced a new 120 Giga Baud (GBd) High-Performance Bit Error Ratio Test (BERT) solution for validating next generation chip deployments of up to 120 GBd for 1.6T market while maintaining a high signal integrity enabling more test margin.

Renesas released several designs combining Wi-Fi 6 and 6E chipsets from recently acquired Celeno Communications with a range of embedded processing, analog, power, timing, and connectivity products. They include solutions for IoT, industrial, infrastructure, high performance networking, AI, and video applications.

Microsoft announced its new Linux-based Microsoft Azure Virtual Machine (VM) offerings, powered by the Ampere Altra platform based on the Arm Neoverse N1 CPU. Arm said the architecture enables dense, low-cost, energy efficient servers with a small footprint, low power, and performant compute silicon.

Siemens Digital Industries Software expanded its Xcelerator as a Service offering, adding NX X, a cloud-based version of its NX CAD tool. The subscription service handles software upgrades, back-up, and hardware requirements for the tools. Xcelerator as a Service was recently used by a company developing underwater greenhouses and another working on uncrewed vessels for collecting ocean data.

Keysight also released a subscription-based software solution that enables network equipment manufacturers to validate the performance and security of their offerings when deployed in complex distributed cloud environments utilizing zero trust security policies.

Quantum computing
Pasqal, Siemens Digital Industries Software, and Exeter University will collaborate on a multi-year effort to apply Pasqal’s quantum methods for solve complex nonlinear differential equations to industrial applications. “Our collaboration with Siemens will explore how quantum computing can benefit Siemens’ customers who are looking for more accurate ‘digital-twin’ prototyping, which can reduce the need for costly and time-consuming physical prototyping in sectors like automotive, electronics, energy, and aerospace,” said Georges-Olivier Reymond, CEO and founder of Pasqal.

Quantum Brilliance formed a joint research and development hub with La Trobe University and RMIT University to synthesize the core quantum systems of high-performance, scalable diamond-based quantum microprocessors. They aim to develop techniques that can transition to manufacturing systems in large volumes. “Through our partnership with La Trobe University and RMIT University, we will develop the fabrication techniques necessary to enhance the performance of diamond-based quantum computers to deliver real-world solutions to a broad spectrum of industries,” said Marcus Doherty, co-founder and chief scientific officer of Quantum Brilliance.

Quandela released an open-source software package for developing optical quantum algorithms. “While we plan to make the first complete photonic quantum computer available and accessible on an online platform by the end of 2022, we need to also build an active community of photonic quantum developers. Therefore, we have chosen to make Perceval available as open source,” said Valérian Giesz, CEO and co-founder of Quandela. “Perceval is the first brick of a complete software suite that will allow to develop and optimize quantum algorithms for photonic systems and to run them in a simple way, both on a simulator like Perceval, or on the first quantum hardware platforms that we will make available online this year.”

IQM Quantum Computers, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and Bar-Ilan University started a research cooperation on quantum technologies. IQM will provide commercial-grade quantum-computing hardware for research experiments, including testing the company’s qubit technology. The group also aims to extend the collaboration toward building full-stack quantum computers for scientific and commercial purposes in Israel.



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