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Week In Review, Design, Low Power

Google and SkyWater expand open-source chip design platform; U.S. research topics; strong earnings from Cadence, Renesas; MIT’s analog DL; near-threshold computing; more reliable sensor data.

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Financial News

Cadence announced second quarter revenue of $858 million, an increase of 17.9% compared with the same period a year ago when revenue was $728 million. President and CEO Anirudh Devgan said the company’s results are “emblematic of the megatrends of the long-term strength of semis, systems companies investing more in silicon, and the convergence of system and chip designs.”

Renesas reported its second quarter financial results. For the three months ending June 30, revenue was 376.6 billion Japanese yen, an increase of 72.9% from 217.9 billion Japanese yen a year prior. Today, that equates to roughly U.S. $2.8 billion vs. $1.62 billion for the same quarter last year. “There were so many uncertainties, such as natural disasters, and the longer-than-expected lockdown in Shanghai, China,” said Renesas CEO Hidetoshi Shibata in a video presentation to investors. “There were many events, but we were able to finish the quarter with the results coming in slightly higher than expected.”

After months of inter- and intra-party bickering, the U.S. Congress approved the CHIPS and Science Act, which includes $52 billion in subsidies and tax credits for chip manufacturers, and more than four times as much for research and innovation in multiple fields, including microelectronics research for energy innovation, energy modernization, aeronautics, nuclear power, critical minerals mining, IoT for agriculture, and quantum networking and communication. The 39-page bill has something for many forward-looking disciplines and research areas, and a large part of the pot is aimed at semiconductors.

Tools and Design

Google and SkyWater Technology are expanding their open source chip design platform to include chips made in SkyWater’s Minnesota facility.  The U.S. Department of Defense is providing $15 million in related funding.

Is the company that owns TikTok building an in-house chip design unit? Recent postings for semiconductor jobs indicate the answer is yes. Other social media companies, such as Meta and Google, already are doing just that.

Individual sensor data can be unreliable on its own, but a system design that combines multiple sensors with deep learning techniques can make the data more trustworthy. Renesas has more on this technique here.

Ansys released its Ansys 2022 R2 update with new artificial intelligence capabilities and simulation technologies. The update also includes more open workflows and power savings through GPU solver advances, according to the company.

Memory and Power

A team of researchers at MIT say they are working on hardware for artificial intelligence that offers faster computing with less power. The analog deep learning technique involves sending protons through solids at extremely fast speeds.

Samsung said it expects its memory business to continue to see solid server demand but weaker PC and mobile demand. The company said it was closely monitoring the impact from various factors including mobile product launches.

Near-threshold computing has long been used for power-sensitive devices, but some surprising, unrelated advances are making it much easier to deploy.

Infineon says that keys will likely be a thing of the past, and that contactless energy transfer is the wave of the future. The company is launching a way to open and close locks via mobile phone without any batteries in the lock.

New housing could be banned in parts of London for more than a decade as a result of the demands data centers are placing on the power grid.

Further Reading

This week’s Systems & Design newsletter includes these top stories:

Also, AMD CTO Mark Papermaster talks about why heterogeneous architectures will be needed to achieve improvements in PPA.

Upcoming Events

Aug. 2-4, Flash Memory Summit Conference & Expo, Santa Clara, CA.

Aug. 10-12, USENIX Security Symposium in Boston, Massachusetts.

Aug. 21-23, Hot Chips (virtual).

Aug. 21-25: SPIE Optics and Photonics, San Diego, CA.

Find more chip industry events here.

In Case You Missed It

Want to know how the European heat wave impacted one of Google’s data centers? The answer can be found here.

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